There are many advantages to owning a pair of headphones. If you have a personal listening device equipped with a full library of music, headphones can transport you into a musical world far away from the noisy distractions of real life that grate on your nerves. But there are possible health issues to enjoying this musical escape, serious issues that are very real. The benefits of headphones my cause you to ignore hearing health.
Hearing loss and permanent aural damage have been concretely tied to unsafe headphone use. It should come as no surprise that the group most at risk includes teens and young adults. Research from Tel Aviv University asserts that one in four teenagers are at risk of early hearing loss as a result of their high-volume habits when using headphones. The issue demands immediate action to raise awareness among headphone user to steer clear of a future in which an entire generation could develop hearing problems by their 30s or 40s.
One tactic to consider in this fight against early hearing loss is adopting European standards. These progressive guidelines limit the output of personal listening devices to 100 decibels. Some devices currently reach a shocking 129 decibels--almost double the recommended maximum to avoid hearing damage.
Increase Your Hearing Awareness
Did you know...?
- The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association suggests that sounds louder than 85 dB can cause permanent hearing loss.
- Hearing loss can result from one-time exposure to a loud blast or explosion, but can also be caused by prolonged exposure to high noise levels.
- Some everyday sounds can be harmful if exposure is prolonged, such as:
Busy traffic, vacuum cleaner, alarm clock (70dB)
Blow-dryer, blender, food processor (80-90dB)
Gas lawn mower, snow blower (106 dB)
- Some Noise-induced hearing loss is gradual and painless but permanent. The hearing nerve and nerve cells cannot be repaired.
- Feeling that you have gotten used to a certain amount of loud noise may mean you already have some hearing damage.
Safe Listening Tips
- You might be exposing yourself to dangerous sound levels if…
You find yourself raising your voice in order to be heard.
You can’t hear someone three feet away from you.
After leaving a noisy area or taking off headphones, the speech around you sounds muffled.
You experience pain or ringing afterwards.
- Be aware of how long and how often you are using headphones. Take breaks to avoid overexposure.
- As a rule of thumb, keep personal listening devices set at less than half volume.
Support provided by:
International Journal of Audiology
American Speech-Language-Hearing Assocation