They’re convenient, small and powerful. You can take them anywhere on trips, to work or on vacation and listen to whatever you like if it’s music, podcasts, movies or lectures. If you’re in a noisy waiting room, you can put your headphones in and turn up the volume to drown out the noise. But are earbuds and headphones becoming the new prerequisite to hearing aids?
As much as we love to listen to our favourite songs on repeat, hearing specialists warn that unmonitored and unregulated volume levels from our personal audio devices are potential culprits to future noise-induced hearing loss.
Headphones and Earbuds May Cause Permanent Hearing Damage
Everyone, from children to teens to adults seem to own their own pair of headphones.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that approximately half the world’s population between the ages 12 to 25 in middle and high-income countries are exposed to unsafe sound levels thanks to headphones. While this does not create an immediate consequence for most, it might be a growing concern in the near future.
This doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t enjoy their personal audio devices at all but here are a few things to keep in mind to take care of your hearing in this day and age of headphones and earbuds.
[/cs_text][x_custom_headline level=”h3″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”false”]Watch the Volume
Generally speaking, it is recommended that one keep volume levels on any personal listening device somewhere below 60% of maximum volume. WHO recommends that 60% of maximum volume be the highest one should listen to music on one’s headphones.
There are many apps available to control the maximum volume on devices such as tablets and smartphones. Parents with younger children have the option of setting parental volume controls, a great feature for parents who want to protect their children’s hearing.
While volume is one piece of the puzzle, one also needs to keep in mind how long one listens with one’s headphones. While instantaneous, loud sounds like an explosion can cause damage to hearing, steady and prolonged noises like working at a construction site all day can be just as detrimental. A good rule of thumb is to limit time listening on noise-cancelling headphones for no more than 1 hour at a time.
Hearing specialists recommend the use of noise-cancelling headphones, as they block out ambient noise, which means you don’t have to turn the volume up as high to hear over ambient sounds. Also, a pair of noise cancelling headphones can act as earplugs if needed![/cs_text][x_custom_headline level=”h3″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”false”]Protect the ears!
If you’re heading out to a live music concert or club, or if you work in a loud environment, keep a pair of earplugs on hand. Earplugs can help filter the noise and protect your eardrums! The best part is that you can buy foam earplugs en mass and for cheap at your local convenience store. If you want a higher level of protection, go for custom-made earplugs. [/cs_text][x_custom_headline level=”h3″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”false”]Watch for Signs of Hearing Loss
Are you noticing that smaller sounds like doorbells and whistles are getting harder to hear? Parents, do your children respond to you if you call for them? Does it appear as if they’re ignoring you? Or have teachers observed that your child doesn’t seem to be participating in class? If these questions are serious concerns for you, maybe its time to consider a hearing exam.[/cs_text][x_custom_headline level=”h3″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”false”]Take Tinnitus Seriously
While hearing loss may not be as noticeable to young people, there is a growing number of people who are experiencing tinnitus or the “ringing of the ears” after listing with the headphones too loud for too long.
According to an article from U.S. News, the “director of audiology at Boston Children’s Hospital until 2013, says tinnitus among teens is common enough that he started a clinic there for just such cases, which were almost all noise-induced.”
Ask if this is what your children are experiencing after listening to their personal audio devices. If so, then take preventative measures to ensure this doesn’t result a more permanent condition.
[/cs_text][x_custom_headline level=”h3″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”false”]Schedule a Hearing Exam!
Finally, be sure to monitor your hearing health by getting a hearing test on an annual basis. In this growing trend and popularity where headphones are becoming channels to help people stay entertained on the go, keep an eye on your hearing. While you enjoy listening to your music, books or movies, take care of your ears!
For more information on hearing health, contact us at Preferred Hearing Solutions. “Let us help you take that first step towards better hearing health. Our friendly team looks forward to hearing from you.
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