Date of Award

Spring 2009

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Audiology (AuD)


School of Communication

First Advisor

Melinda F. Bryan


Portable listening devices, specifically iPods are becoming more and more popular among teens and young adults. According to Apple's quarterly financial results in March 2008, total iPod sales reached close to 152,000,000 since their release in January 2001 (Apple, 2008). Because nearly 15 million individuals suffer from noise induced hearing loss, listening levels of individuals using iPods are of main concern to audiologists. The purpose of this dissertation is to determine (1) average listening levels of males and females, as well as experienced and inexperienced iPod users and (2) if a certain groups of individuals are at more of a risk for hearing loss.

Forty listeners with normal hearing (20 males and 20 females aged 18-25) were asked to set an iPod to their preferred listening level for a predetermined song (called the music stimulus). Then, 8 probe microphone measurements were obtained in a sound treated booth for the music stimulus and a white noise stimulus. Specifically. 4 measurements were obtained for each stimulus (music and noise) to determine the sound pressure levels produced in individuals' ear canal. The results indicated that when listeners set their iPods to their preferred listening levels, sound pressure levels of males and females were similar. Additionally, experienced and inexperienced iPod users listened at similar levels. Furthermore, 7 of the 40 participants listened at levels that could be harmful to their hearing.