did you know that using earphones for extended periods of time can cause harm to the ears?
Many people use headphones as constant companions whether studying, travelling, sweating in the gym, or simply avoiding discussions simply because music makes everything bearable. However, while headphones are now a part of most people’s lives, blasting music in one’s ears has implications.
If earphones are worn for an extended period of time at a high volume, they can cause partial to total hearing loss, also known as noise-induced hearing loss. The harm from earbuds can be permanent because the sound causes the hair cells in the cochlea to bend significantly.
According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, earphone use has resulted in a significant increase in the prevalence of hearing loss in teenagers and young adults.
You can take a few simple precautions to lessen your risk of hearing loss caused by earphones.
- Turn down the volume
Turning down the volume while listening to music is the most efficient technique to safeguard your hearing. Experts advise setting the volume to no more than 60% of its maximum. If the music coming from your headphones is loud enough for others to hear, it could be hurting your hearing.
- Use noise-cancelling headphones
Many people use headphones to drown out other sounds and increase the volume as other sounds become stronger. The problem is that the louder the environmental noise, the higher we turn up the volume. Noise-cancelling headphones use a technology known as active noise reduction, which reduces outside noise by producing a sound signal that cancels out background noise. This allows you to listen to music at a lower volume level and reduces the likelihood that you’ll need to increase the volume higher as you listen longer.
- Use headphones, not earbuds
Even though we sometimes use the two terms interchangeably, there is a distinction between a headphone and an earbud. Earbuds are known to enhance volume and cause greater harm because they sit directly inside the ear and are quite close to the ear canal. Headphones, on the other hand, are placed over your ears and are known to inflict significantly less harm. Also, because earbuds do not muffle distracting sounds, you are significantly more likely to go for the volume button and turn it up, exacerbating the problem.
- Take listening breaks
Taking breaks from music to give your ears a rest will help prevent long-term hearing impairment. The “60/60 rule” suggests listening to music at 60% of your device’s maximum volume for 60 minutes and then taking a break.
- Set a volume limit
It’s a good idea to limit the volume on your device’s settings. This eliminates the possibility of mistakenly boosting the volume while dancing to your favorite song.
Consult a doctor if you get the sensation that your ear is plugged or if you hear any buzzing in your ear. Keep an eye on whether you are hearing the television or radio at a higher volume than usual, as this could be an indication of hearing problems.