Can the Use of Headphones Damage Your Ears?
This is a somewhat controversial issue, if you talk to older people, the first thing they say is that you don’t have to use headphones and that if you do, you should adjust the volume very low. Let’s see if using headphones can damage the ears.
Alarming Headphone Usage Data
Experts say that teenagers currently suffer a 30% decrease in hearing ability compared to the years 1980-1990. It is emphasized that using headphones for a long time can affect hearing, which leads to language and vocalization problems.
According to Dr. Foy, a pediatrician from California, hearing loss could take place only after using an MP3 player for an hour and a quarter, a device that today plays sounds of up to 120 decibels, or what is equal to the music heard in a rock concert.
Ideally, do not turn up the volume to listen through headphones beyond 60% and do not use it for more than one hour a day.
Symptoms Of Ears Damaged By Wearing Headphones
Although it is gradual, it is necessary to practice a hearing test to know what degree of hearing loss occurs.
The signs of a damaged ear are:
- Listen to ringing, whistling or roaring in the ear
- Lack of understanding when talking in noisy places
- Feeling that the listener is covered and hearing very soft sounds
- Increased volume to listen to television or radio compared to the past
Undoubtedly, our poor ears suffer the consequences. Therefore, to take care of your hearing, follow these tips.
- Do not listen to classical music with headphones for more than one hour per day. Try that the volume does not exceed 60% of the maximum. If, for example, you are dedicated to editing videos with sound and need to use headphones, be sure to listen with a volume at those levels (below 60%).
- Do not listen to music with headphones in noisy environments such as when traveling by bus or walking on the street. The noise of the climate unconsciously causes us to increase the volume of the music to listen better and unintentionally; sometimes, we end up looking at full volume.
- After long sessions listening to music, take off your headphones to rest. That way, you will avoid “listening fatigue.”
- Do not listen to music with headphones while exercising. When we exercise, blood is diverted from the ears to the extremities, which makes them more vulnerable to loud noises.
Tips For Wearing Headphones Without Damaging The Ears
We wear them to listen to music, the radio, watch TV or talk on the phone, and also while doing sports, inside or outside the home and regardless of the level of outside noise.
However, improper use of headphones (external headphones) can have an impact on our hearing health. Almost 50% of people are exposed to harmful noise levels because of these devices, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Specialists insist that prolonged use of headphones at excessive volume can damage our ears, cause hearing loss or other pathologies such as tinnitus or tinnitus, beeps that were once occasional and after being exposed to a continuous source of sound are made permanent.
To continue enjoying music or our favorite program without disturbing the people around us, WHO has developed a list with two basic recommendations so that exposure to sound through these devices is as harmful as possible:
- The first is to respect the safe level of exposure to noise. This means adjusting the volume to a comfortable level in a quiet environment so that it does not exceed 60% of the maximum volume level allowed by the device. In this sense, the headphones are more recommended than the headphones since they isolate the surrounding noise, which allows you to hear the sound clearly at a lower volume than if we do it with headphones. Also, the sound of the headphones enters directly into the ear and can injure them more.
- The second tip is to limit the exposure time to sound when we do it through headphones. The reason is that the duration contributes to the total possible acoustic energy level per day. That is why it is good to take breaks when the exposure is prolonged.
Experts advise following the 60/60 rule: no more than 60 minutes of listening to a day to a maximum of 60 decibels.
Here are some examples of sound levels produced by various sources in our daily lives:
- Road traffic in the city: 80-85 dB.
- Vacuum cleaner: 65 dB.
- Normal conversation: 50-60 dB.
- Waves the sea: 30 dB.
- Trill of the birds: 10 dB.
To measure decibels in any situation, there are sound level meters in App format for mobile, both for iPhone and Android. This way, you will know the noise level you are exposing yourself to.
It is necessary to have the genetic predisposition of people, but prolonged exposure to high-volume sound sources that is above 85 dB for 8 hours can cause hearing loss.
According to statistics, the average age of onset of hearing loss has increased from 60 to 40 years since we have become accustomed to using headphones.