Up to 60pc of young people in Ireland are listening to music at dangerously loud levels,according to preliminary findings from a national study.
Keep the Sound is a project, currently being rolled out in schools around the country by DeafHear, the charity providing a range of specialist support services to the deaf and those who find it difficult to hear.
Early returns from the first group of schools visited indicate that six out of every 10 students tested are using their devices at levels likely to cause long-term damage to their hearing.
Brendan Lennon, DeafHear's Head of Information, said: "It is perfectly safe to listen to music on headphones at volumes up to 85dB. With each additional decibel you should be limiting the length of time. For instance, at 91dB anything more than two hours a day will cause permanent damage."
The findings from the current survey have found that 60pc of those tested were listening at volumes in excess of 91dB, with one in four playing their devices over 100dB! At this level, exposure of more than 15 minutes per day will cause permanent damage.
Research has shown that those using in-ear ear buds are up to four times more likely to damage their hearing as those using 'over ear' headphones.