More people than ever before are spending large amounts of time with headphones in their ears listening to music, movies, audiobooks, podcasts, videos, etc. Due to the convenience that headphones provide, they have become a staple accessory. Since that is the case, we should make sure to partake in healthy headphone use.
How can headphones damage your hearing?
One of the main contributors to hearing loss is exposure to loud noises. Loud noises, upon reaching the ear, cause the eardrum to vibrate. The vibration makes its way through the small bones of the inner ear where it eventually reaches the cochlea. The cochlea is a chamber filled with fluid that contains thousands of small “hairs.” When the vibrations hit the cochlea, the fluid vibrates the hairs. Louder sounds create stronger vibrations and cause the hairs to vibrate more.
When you listen to loud songs or sounds for too long, those hair cells lose their sensitivity to vibration by folding over or bending. It’s this bending that creates the sensation of “temporary hearing loss” after sound exposure. In some cases, the hair cells can recover and unfold, but in other cases, they become too damaged to function and cause lasting hearing loss. There is no cure available for repairing a damaged inner ear.
When you get into a groove, it’s easy to get carried away and listen to your favorite music all day. As enjoyable as it is to tune in, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that you should only use your headphones for, at most, 60 minutes a day.
For the heavy music listener, an hour is nothing! However, you can extend that hour indefinitely if you make sure to listen at a comfortable, safe volume.
Due to all the reasons above, you want to avoid blasting sounds at high volume through your headphones. Most personal hearing devices can only reach the maximum volume of around 105 to 110 dB (decibels). Any sounds that reach 85 dB can cause damage in two hours. However, just five minutes of exposure to sounds at 105 to 110 dB can cause severe damage. Therefore, your headphones have the potential to cause significant damage when played at their max volume. The ultimate recommendation is to listen at a volume of anything 70 dB or less to practice healthy headphone use.
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We hope this information on healthy headphone use is helpful.
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