Earbuds and headphones are such a necessity in our world today, but are they safe for our ears? The answer is, it depends.
One of the main causes of hearing loss today is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). Exposure to loud noises like concerts, construction sites, highway traffic, and even loud music on earbuds, can lead to Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. In most cases, when people are using earbuds or headphones, they are trying to block out background noises in order to hear their music better. But often times the music can be even louder than the noises being blocked out; This is where the problem occurs.
The amount of damage the earbuds are causing to your hearing all depends on how loud the volume is, as well as how long you’re listening for. Noises that reach above 85 decibels, a measurement for how loud a sound is, are harmful to your hearing. According to Healthy Hearing, most earbuds and headphones go up to about 115 decibels, which is louder than a Power Saw and a motorcycle. Earbuds get very close to your ear canal and if the volume is turned up too high, it can damage the stereocilia in your ear. Stereocilia are microscopic hairs in your ear that turn sound waves into electrical waves to be sent to your brain.
Here are some tips to maintain your healthy hearing while using earbuds and headphones:
- Moderation is key. If you like to listen to your music loud, only listen for a couple minutes a day if possible.
- Use over-the-ear headphones instead of earbuds. Over-the-ear headphones are much safer for your ears because they are not as close to your ear canal, therefore not as damaging to your stereocilia.
- Invest in Noise-Cancelling Headphones because they block out background noise, making it easier to hear the music on low volume.
- Stray away from listening to headphones or earbuds when you have plans to be exposed to loud noises that day.
Hearing loss in young adults is becoming more and more of a problem, and the use of earbuds may be contributing. According to Time Magazine, loud-noise exposure has caused almost 20% of hearing loss in young children. Children should be supervised when using earbuds or headphones to ensure they are listening at a safe volume.
If you have questions or concerns about hearing loss or feel that someone you know might have hearing loss, we can help! Contact New Generation Hearing today for a free consultation.