One of the biggest influencers of sensorineural hearing loss is loud noise exposure. But, when most people think about their ears being hurt by too loud sounds, they think of fireworks, rock concerts, and rowdy sporting events.
While these things can definitely cause hearing damage, it is more likely that your hearing will become damaged by your own earbuds or headphones. To help you prevent hearing loss due to using headphones or earbuds, our hearing health care specialists here at Hearing Associates of Las Vegas have some tips for listening to music without damaging your hearing.
1. Keep Your Volume Down
One of the simplest things you can do is just keep the volume of your music down. While it can be fun to crank up the volume and jam out, you increase the likelihood that you are damaging your hearing.
Also, your ears will become accustomed to a certain volume level. So, even if the volume is already high, you won’t perceive it as that loud when you want to turn up for the next high-energy song.
A good rule of thumb is to not turn up your volume above 60% of the max volume. That rule isn’t perfect, and many devices can still be plenty loud at 40% max volume. However, if you notice that you are over 60%, let that signal that you need to turn the music down. It is also best that you apply this rule to your other audio entertainment like TV watching.
2. Set Max Volume Limit On Your Phone
If you get tempted to turn up the volume often, there are some styles of smartphones that will allow you to set a max volume limit. These controls can vary, but for the process usually looks like this:
- iPhone – Settings > Music > Volume limit
- Android – Settings > Sound > Volume
Some other devices may allow you to set a volume limit to help protect your ears. Check your device’s user manual or contact customer support to determine if it is possible to limit the volume.
3. Opt For Headphones Rather Than Earbuds
Although many people refer to headphones and earbuds interchangeably, there are critical differences. Headphones rest on the outside of your ears, with the sound delivery devices resting on your outer ear. With earbuds, the little devices rest inside of your ear shell, with the sound amplifier angled close toward your ear canal.
As there is less distance between the sound and your ears, you can damage your hearing more easily with earbuds. Also, even inexpensive earbuds can deliver sound at hearing loss-inducing levels, while headphones will often provide more encompassing sound without causing the same kind of damage that earbuds induce.
4. Choose Noise-Canceling Headphones
Part of why individuals give in to the temptation to crank up the volume is because outside noises are drowning out the sounds they want to hear. However, the louder volume doesn’t mean that you won’t hear that really noisy conversation or drown out the sounds of traffic.
Instead of risking your hearing, try noise-canceling headphones. With noise-canceling headphones, you can keep the volume down, since you won’t be trying to listen to your music while also attempting to drown out other sounds.
There is a wide variety of noise-canceling headphones that work in different ways to cut down on the extra noises you don’t care about. So, you can be sure to find something that suits your listening needs.
5. Give Your Ears A Break
The duration of loud noise exposure is a significant factor in hearing loss. So, to reduce your exposure to too much noise, give yourself listening breaks.
Every 30 minutes, turn off your music and give your ears a 5-minute break. The rest can help preserve your hearing. If you miss the 30-minute window, after you listen for 60 minutes, take a 10-minute break.
6. Use Your Hearing Aids To Stream Your Music
If you need hearing aids but are concerned that listening to music, taking phone calls, enjoying movies, and other audio experiences will be tougher, you are in luck.
There are hearing aids with Bluetooth technology built-in, and it will allow you to stream your music directly through your hearing aids, as well as other forms of electronic audio. That way, you don’t have to strain as you enjoy.
To check to see if you have hearing loss, you can contact us to schedule a free hearing evaluation with one of our hearing instrument specialists.