Audiologists specialize in diagnosing and treating hearing-related issues
How do Headphones Affect Hearing Loss?
We all use them, whether it be for our audiobooks, video streaming, listening to our favorite rock band, or oldies music.
But do we really realize the risk we are running into? Majority of people do not know that they are damaging our ears if they don’t use them properly. If you have teenagers, this is a topic you need to be informed on.
Headphones And Hearing Loss: The Statistics
Experts have estimated that about half of children between the ages of 8 and 12 listen to music almost every day. That estimate goes up when we’re talking about teenagers – to nearly two-thirds. That’s a lot of ears in danger.
Recently, a test was done analyzing 30 different sets of children’s headphones. And the finding was frightening: half didn’t restrict sound levels to the appropriate limit. About half of the sets let out sound at more than 85 dB.
Let’s compare that to other things in our life for a little bit of reference. A whisper registers at 20 dB, while a conversation in a suburban area can reach up to 50 dB. 80 dB is the level of sound emitted by a garbage disposal or food blender left running. In only 8 short hours, damage to the hearing can start. 90 dB is the sound of a lawn mower. A chainsaw and thunderclap register at 120 dB. And, at 150 dB, the eardrum ruptures.
So, what is safe? Up to 85 dB, but not for long periods of time.
What Are The Options?
Today, headphone options are varied and many. There is something available for almost every price range.
While it may seem tempting to purchase those run-of-the-mill earbuds – for their convenience and price, it would be wise to remember that ear buds are the type of headphone that causes the most damage since it sits very closely to the ear. They probably won’t have noise level protection, either.
A smart option would be to opt for noise cancelling headphones. They eliminate background noise and do not require the user to turn the sound up because there isn’t any competition.
If you’re set on earbuds, consider buying the ones that are either custom fitted or a closer fit to your ear. This will have the same effect as the noise canceling headphones and you won’t be so tempted to crank up the volume.
In any case, you need to check the packaging for the OSHA approval seal. This will ensure that your headphones won’t even emit sound that exceeds a safe range. The best option is to invest in a good pair of OSHA approved headphones, and then educate yourself or your children on safe headphone usage.
Some Tips on Headphone Usage
You should not listen to music on your headphones for more than the recommended 90 minutes a day at 80 percent volume. Keeping the volume as low as you can while enjoying your music or audio book will have a considerably good effect. If your phone or device has the option to place a volume limit, do it. Your ears and your hearing are worth more than the trouble.
Talk more with your audiologist about the best ways to preserve your hearing and prevent loss. From custom ear protection to hearing tests, your audiologist will work with you to keep your hearing healthy!