Wearing headphones out and about has become just as much of a fashion statement as a practical way to listen to your music without disturbing those around you. From the gym to parks and on public transit, everyone seems to be wearing headphones or earbuds. Not only can this put you at risk of missing safety signals such as the honk from a car or yell from someone nearby, wearing headphones may be damaging your hearing.
Headphones & Hearing Loss
According to the World Health Organization, nearly 50 percent of people between ages 12 to 35 are at risk of developing hearing loss caused by exposure to loud sounds. While attending concerts or working in construction puts you in loud environments, many of those in this age group are damaging their hearing by wearing headphones.
Using headphones to listen to music for too long or at too loud of a volume can put your ears at risk. Loud sounds can damage the tiny hairs within the inner ear. Once they become damaged or die, they are gone for good—these cells cannot regenerate.
This is known as noise-induced hearing loss.
Why Are Earbuds So Dangerous?
There are a number of styles of headphones. The worst for your hearing are earbuds. This is because this style of headphones funnels music directly from the tiny speaker in the earbud into your ear canal. Since most earbud-style headphones are low quality, they transmit bass poorly and do nothing to block out background noise. Because of that, users have to turn the volume up even louder in order to hear their music.
A better option for headphones is to go with the over-ear style. Since they are larger, they provide a bit of a buffer between the speaker and the ear canal. Unfortunately, like their earbud counterparts, lower quality models of over-ear headphones provide poor music quality and require louder volume.
If you are a frequent headphone user, consider investing in a quality pair.
How to Protect Your Hearing
Purchase Safer Headphones
There are two kinds of headphones that can help block out ambient noise and protect your hearing.
Noise Induced Headphones
This type of headphone is designed to cancel out incoming sound through the use of inverse waves. This style works best to drown out low-frequency sounds like traffic.
This type of headphone is able to cancel out high-frequency sounds, like the sounds from a conversation. These headphones create a seal around the ear, creating a physical barrier and preventing outside noise from entering the ear.
Understand Listening Limits
You can still protect your hearing, even if you cannot invest in a pair of expensive headphones, by following the 60/60 rule. The 60/60 rule says you should listen to your music for no more than 60 minutes at a time at no more than 60 percent of your device’s maximum volume.
To learn more about protecting your hearing, contact the experts at Hearing Systems today.