Pumping Up the Volume

New law may solve one problem but create another

The new California hands-free cell phone law that prohibits drivers from holding their phone to their ear could cause hearing damage, according to Alvarado Hospital in San Diego.

Most people turn up the volume of the earpieces too high due to car and traffic ambient noises which in turn may cause hearing problems, Dr. Michael O'Leary, an ear and hearing specialist said.

Ear specialists say while the new law is designed for driver safety, drivers need to use their hands-free ear pieces with caution.

"There is a lot of ambient noise in a car... and most of us will unconsciously strain to hear, even with earpieces. " Dr. O'Leary said.  "So naturally, we turn up the volume as high as we can to make hearing easier and therein lies the danger."

One suggestion is to use a microphone built into your vehicle's sound system or one that can be placed in the sun visor, says Dr. O'Leary.

For more details on the potential for hearing damage click on Alvarado Hospital

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