The only time I like to listen to music on a portable device is when I'm taking a long trip by train or bus, so I don't even own a mp3 player just a cd player, maybe one day I'll actually bother to buy one I just haven't justified the expense yet. I have small ears so most in-ear devices hurt therefore I usually use the old fashioned foam ones with a headband or at best some that are just a small disc that hangs on the ear but are not as intrusive as the earbuds. One thing that I've always done is to check the sound volume before I put them on, if I can hear the music when the headphones are on my lap then it's too loud. I was never a fan of loud music and I like to keep what I'm listening to myself. And I like to hear what's going on around me.
Oh, and don't you just love those people who describe medical procedures on the bus? Everybody else just reaaaally needed to listen to that story.
I'm another person who never got into earbuds; I just use the old fashioned "rests on the ears, not in them" kind with the fuzzy covers. And I keep the volume down.
It doesn't surprise me that people are starting to have hearing loss. With mp3 players becoming so light and inexpensive, everyone walks around in their own personal studio. What I've wondered is, what about the mobile club? A lot of people like to trick out their car so they can blast their music for everyone to hear. (ANNOYING.) Some sound systems are so loud you can actually hear the car parts rattling with the bass. That CANNOT be good for the driver's hearing. Any reports on hearing loss due to car stereo systems?
I have two ipods, a regular one and a shuffle I use at the gym or when I go running, and they both have ear buds. I find the over the ear ones uncomfortable and I like that the ear buds let a bit of sound in since I don't like to be totally unaware of what's going on around me. I always put them on and then take them out and check to see if I can hear anything, more because I hate when other people hear my music than for the actual noise factor. Even when I'm in the car listening to the regular stereo, I always turn it down when I drive in a parking lot or somewhere there's people, even if it wasn't that loud to begin with.
Another problem is pedestrians have been killed or injured by vehicles due to their music blocking out all other sounds. So they can't hear the thing that is about to hit them.
When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.