Hearing Loss and Headphones – The Dangerous Link

Posted on March 10, 2015. Filed under: hearing education, hearing health, hearing loss | Tags: , , , , |

When it comes to hearing loss, it’s no mystery that there are a number of factors that are easily associated with causing hearing loss. These factors range from naturally occurring viruses to loud headphone usage. The difference between these two specifically? It’s that viruses are more often than not hard to avoid, while headphone usage is directly in our control. With our current generation being the most connected of them all, we’re right in the line of fire for a hearing loss epidemic.

Our ears are very sensitive tools. What’s more is that they are instrumental in supporting one of our most important senses. They work by allowing sound waves to reach the eardrum causing vibrations. These vibrations are sent to the inner ear where they are then carried to hair cells. These hair cells respond differently based on the sound, which then create impulses to send to the brain. The bad news? Once hearing loss takes a toll on these hair cells, they cannot be repaired. What’s worse is that many are aware of the risk of hearing loss that comes with loud noises, specifically headphones, but choose to overlook it.

Is My Music It Too Loud?

On average, available music players and headphones can produce up to 120 decibels of noise, which is a lot like being at a very loud concert. At this dangerous level, hearing loss is imminent after about an hour and 15 minutes. If you have trouble hearing surrounding noises when you’re plugged into your headphones, then chances are you’re listening to your music too loud.

Moderation is Key

By no means are we trying to convince you to retire your life of loving music and never plug in a pair of headphones again. But as always, moderation is absolutely key, especially since listening for longer durations of time can result in more damage down the line. The impacts we have on our ears are cumulative, building up and getting worse over a period of time. But even listening at a seemingly safe level for a long period of time can have damaging effects on these sensitive hair cells.

How Do I prevent it?

Be sure to practice healthy moderation, which means lowering the volume to acceptable levels. When using headphones, the easy-to-remember 60/60 rule should be followed. This means that your headphone volume should be placed at 60% of the maximum for only 60 minutes before giving your ears a little break to recuperate. If you feel like you may be suffering from hearing loss as a result of headphones, scheduling a hearing test is vital.

 Headphones and Hearing Loss[Image courtesy of Business Insider]

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