Hearing loss is common in American Fork, and while most people associate the condition with old age, the leading cause is actually noise exposure—and that affects people of all ages, even kids. One of the biggest culprits is listening to music through headphones or earbuds.
Safe Music Listening Tips
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a growing health concern, affecting about one out of every four adults in American Fork. Volume levels exceeding 85 decibels (dB) can cause permanent damage to the hair cells of the inner ear; certain high-risk occupations, such as manufacturing, construction and the military, have higher incidences of NIHL. Concerts, sporting events and activities such as riding motorcycles and mowing the lawn without hearing protection all contribute to the problem. One of the biggest threats is simply listening to music—something that many of us do every single day.
Public health officials consider headphones particularly hazardous to hearing. Young people are especially susceptible. To reduce your risk of hearing damage from headphones, your American Fork audiologist recommends the following tips.
Turn down the volume
The easiest way to ensure safe listening is by simply turning down the volume when listening to music through headphones or earbuds. Experts recommend listening to music at no more than 60 percent of maximum volume. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if others can hear the music coming through your headphones, it’s too loud! Keep the volume down when watching TV and listening to the radio, too.
Invest in noise-cancelling headphones
Often, we wear headphones to mask other sounds in the environment; the louder the background noise, the higher we turn up the volume. Noise-cancelling headphones solve this problem by limiting outside sounds. They feature active noise reduction technology, which generates a sound signal that cancels out environmental noise. This enables you to listen to music at a lower volume and not worry about having to cover up outside sounds.
Wear headphones instead of earbuds
Earbuds are small silicone or plastic devices that are placed directly in the ear, while headphones are worn over the ear. The difference may seem subtle, but the proximity of the sound to your eardrum does matter. You are less likely to experience hearing impairment using headphones.
Take listening breaks
The longer you listen to music without interruption, the more likely you are to experience long-term hearing damage. Give your ears a rest (and a chance to recover) by taking a few minutes’ break every hour. Adopt the 60/60 rule: listen to music at 60 percent of your device’s maximum volume for 60 minutes and then take a break.
Set a volume limit
To make safe listening as uncomplicated as possible, change the volume setting on your phone or other device if you are able to do so. Check the user’s manual to see if you can set a volume limit on your listening device.
If you’d like more tips on safe listening habits, contact an audiologist in American Fork.