Have you ever stopped to consider whether or not your headphones or earbuds are causing any long-term damage to your hearing? While it’s probably not something most of us think about as we turn up our favorite song or listen to a popular podcast, it is something to pay attention to, especially if the volume loud.
The Statistics of Hearing Loss
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 million adults between 20 and 69 years of age have some hearing loss. While this condition can be due to infections, injuries, and head trauma, it is correlated with chronic exposure to loud noises – headphones and earbuds included.
Sure, we might think that the ability to hear might decrease a bit with loud noises….but in actuality, it can begin to affect communication with others, make certain scenarios unsafe (such as walking or jogging around heavily congested areas), and even lead to tinnitus.
Based on information from the American Osteopathic Association, doctors recommend that no more than 60% of the maximum volume be emitted through your headphones or earbuds to reduce the risk of hearing loss and related conditions.
Research suggests that listening to loud music or noise (particularly over 85 decibels) can damage the ear canal 50% faster than you’d expect just from typical aging. You’ll have your grandparents’ hearing capabilities when you’re only in your 50s if you’re not careful.
Keeping Your Ears Safe
Here’s an essential tip: the music is too loud if you can’t hear other noises around you when you’ve got your headphones on or earbuds in. So while it’s nice to block out noises while you are exercising, studying, or even just relaxing, you need to think about how long you are exposing yourself to loud noises and what this will do to your hearing as you age.
Another helpful tip is to change the type of headphones you are using. While earbuds are convenient (especially while working out), they channel most of the sound directly into your ear, making it difficult for you to hear outside noises.
Headphones can disperse the sound a bit more, although they are larger than typical earbuds. Think about your hearing over the long term, and if using earbuds, try and limit how long they are in your ear – while also turning your volume down a bit.
Aside from just a general hearing loss, you might also experience ringing, buzzing, humming, or roaring in your ears. This is known as tinnitus and is caused by damage to the auditory nerve concerning chronic loud noises.
While some cases of tinnitus go away, there are scenarios where hearing loss – in relation to chronic loud noises – is a permanent condition. There are hearing aids available for these situations, but being proactive at the forefront is vital in reducing your chances of needing hearing devices as you age.
Still want to pop in your earbuds for your morning workout session? No problem – aim to keep the volume lower if you know you’ll be listening for longer than an hour and a half. Finding the right balance between how long you’ll wear headphones and how loud your music is, is delicate.
Think of it this way: the longer you have your headphones on, the lower your volume should be to decrease the risk of hearing loss over time.
If you have experienced some hearing loss – whether due to loud headphones, chronic exposure to loud noises, trauma, or even an infection, speak with the team of specialists at Hearing Associates of Las Vegas.
Not only do they take the time to engage with you and discuss your hearing history, but they also help create a treatment plan that is best for you and your lifestyle.
Hearing loss is not a one-size-fits-all condition, and the hearing specialists at Hearing Associates of Las Vegas are here to make it as personalized and helpful as possible. So call us today, and get ready to get your hearing back on track – and turn down the volume on your headphones while you’re at it!