We live in a loud and connected world. More than 48 million Americans are experiencing hearing loss, and experts assume that the numbers are just going to increase. Part of the reason is because of our reliance on and heavy use of technology.
Noise and Hearing Loss
Sounds are measured in decibels (dB). Anything over 85 dB can damage the delicate hairs inside our inner ear, which are responsible for passing sound information through the auditory nerve to the brain. Once damaged, the hairs cannot be regrown, resulting in noise-induced hearing loss.
While parts of our world are getting louder, such as our commutes to work, our offices and even our hobbies, a lot of exposure to loud noises comes from our use of technology.
Almost everyone you pass on the street is listening to headphones connected to their smartphones. One estimate says that more than 90 percent of young people use headphones every day. Of those individuals who use headphones, as many as 65 percent regularly listen to music louder than they should.
Earbud-style headphones continue to be popular. These put your ears at an even greater risk, as they sit inside the ear, pumping loud music straight to the eardrum.
Many people wearing headphones are trying to drown out the outside noise. Because our environments are so loud, users find themselves turning up their music to dangerously loud levels.
While workplaces were once full of offices and cubicles, the open office concept has taken over. This may be conducive to collaboration and working closely with your coworkers, but it makes rooms feel louder. This is because the sound-muffling cubicles, furniture and fabrics have been replaced with sleek desks and modern furniture.
In addition, offices now use more technology than ever before. Video conferences, digital presentations and online webinars can all be played at unsafe volumes.
Protecting Your Hearing
You do not need to get rid of your smartphone and go back to the age of analogue technology just to protect your hearing health. There are plenty of ways to save your hearing while still living in the 21st century.
The best way to protect your hearing is to turn down the volume and pay attention to your environment. If you are frequently trying to listen to listen to music in a location with a lot of background noise, consider investing in noise-cancelling headphones so you don’t have to turn up the volume as loud to hear your music.
To learn more about protecting your hearing in a world focused on technology, contact the experts at Hearing Systems today.