In recent years, it’s been shown countless times that young people are developing hearing loss in much larger numbers than ever before. This is mostly due to their exposure to loud noise, which can come from noisy venues, like concerts, or from busy cities. But there’s another factor that wasn’t around just a few decades ago that has started to really damage a person’s hearing capabilities- the use of personal audio devices.
Ipods, laptops, smartphones and etcetera can all play music directly into the ears of young people, exposing them to more noise at a close range. But researchers are finding that a certain amount of hearing damage caused by these devices can be prevented- and it all depends on way we use earbuds and headphones.
Go for the Headphones
The millions of smartphones sold to young people every year are often sold with a pair of cheap earbuds. It’s then easy to see why so many consumers report even a small amount of noise-induced hearing loss, as the combination of low quality and unsafe volumes create a very dangerous set of earbuds. And while headphones can often be significantly more expensive than earbuds, finding a comfortable and safe set of headphones can keep your hearing intact for years to come.
Keep it Snug, in Your Ear
By being closer to your ear canal and feeding sound directly into it, earbuds add about 9-10 decibels more of sound. Because of this, headphones are usually a safer choice when it concerns your hearing. If you are not able to afford a good set of headphones at the moment, then be sure you have earbuds that perfectly fit into your ears. A pair of good quality earbuds should be snug and not fall out easily- loose earbuds will cause you to turn up the volume on your device and expose yourself to more noise.
Earbuds also often fail to block out the sounds of traffic, busy cities, and etc. This also leads us to increase volume. So if you have to stay with earbuds for now, be sure to monitor your volume levels. 80 decibels and above are considered to be harmful levels of sound- equivalent to the sounds of noisy traffic. Any exposure to this much sound for more than an hour could be very harmful to your hearing.
Take a Break
Because of this risk, try to limit your use of personal audio devices. If you’ve been listening to music on your phone at fairly high levels for an hour, take out your earbuds and give yourself a rest. You’ll thank yourself for it later. A way to judge the volume levels on your phone is to be sure that the bar is never more than two-thirds of the way filled.
Headphones in general are safer for your hearing, as they can give you a full sound without putting it directly into your ear canal. But if you don’t have headphones, it’s crucial to monitor your use and only wear high-quality earbuds. Cheaper earbuds can cause the sound to distort, or the fit to be loose, leading to users increasing their volume levels. And no matter what method you’re using to listen to music, always keep it in shorter intervals and give yourself breaks in between. This should lead to healthy, happier hearing.
Daniel Shaw is a senior health advisor at a senior housing community. Daniel, regularly helps senior citizens find answers to their health and hearing questions. As well as to their friends and families. Daniel enjoys, the community atmosphere and loves taking walks in the evenings with some of its seniors.