When it comes to picking headphones, the choices can be overwhelming. From headphones that cover your ears to small earbuds that can be slipped into your bag, you can make decisions based on size, style, sound quality, price, and much more. With all these options, how will you know you’re making the right choice?
How Headphones can Damage Hearing
If you’re shopping for new headphones, it is important to think about your hearing. Nearly 48 million Americans have hearing loss, and 1 in 5 children and teens have difficulty hearing. Do you have unsafe listening practices, or don’t know how to monitor your children’s listening behaviors? It all comes down to decibel (dB) levels. Our phones and MP3 players can get very loud, and at maximum volume often produce sounds of around 120 dB. This is the same volume as a rock concert, delivered right to your ears! These are dangerous sound levels, and you’ll be damaging your hearing.
Turning Up the Volume Too High
When listening with headphones, the louder the sound the sooner you’ll be damaging your hearing, and with the volume turned all the way up, hearing loss can happen in just a few minutes. Exposing your ears to these sounds damages the delicate cells in your inner ear, and once these cells are destroyed, your ears can’t send signals to your brain about the sounds around you. Think about your normal listening habits. Do you listen on the commute to work, or during your workout at the gym? How many minutes or hours per day do you listen with headphones or earbuds?
One of the biggest risks when listening to music with headphones is the tendency to crank up the volume. Do you often find yourself turning up the volume to drown out other sounds in your environment, or block out the sounds you don’t want to hear? While this might help you focus on your podcast while you’re stuck in traffic, it could be damaging your hearing. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that by 2050, as many as 900 million people in the world will suffer from hearing loss, and many are risking their hearing now from dangerous use of personal listening devices.
Choosing Headphones that will Prevent Hearing Loss
The best headphones to prevent hearing loss are noise-canceling headphones. If you’re listening to music in a quiet environment, almost any pair of cheap earbuds will do the trick. But most of us put in our earbuds when things around us start to get loud, and that’s when you might damage your hearing. Investing in noise-canceling headphones will block or reduce the amount of outside noise that reaches your ears, meaning you can listen to your favorite tunes without cranking up the volume. You can enjoy your music while keeping the volume at a moderate level and preventing hearing loss.
More Ways to Protect Your Hearing
After you’ve invested in better headphones, here’s a tip to developing better listening habits. It’s called the 60/60 rule. Avoid turning up the volume higher than 60% of the maximum volume and take a break every 60 minutes to give your ears a rest. Some headphones even have built in features that keep track of how long you’ve been listening and will turn down the volume if you’ve been listening for too long.
Not sure how loud is too loud? If the person sitting next to you can hear the music coming out of your earbuds, your volume is too high, and you will be damaging your hearing. Another way to prevent turning up the volume too loud is to always listen with both ears. The ears work together to help us determine how loud a sound is, but with only one earbud in we don’t realize how loud the music is, and often turn up the volume to unsafe levels.
Treating Hearing Loss
If you have hearing loss from exposure to loud noise or unsafe listening practices, visit us today at My Hearing Centers for a hearing test. We’ll assess your hearing, and help you find the perfect hearing device that will have you hearing all the sounds around you, effortlessly following conversations, and enjoy the little things in life.