Protecting Your Ears While Using Earphones

Posted in: Hearing News  |  July 13, 2012 
Protecting Your Ears While Using Earphones

When you’re listening to music on your MP3 player, choosing your playlist probably comes to mind more often than your hearing safety. But – as media reports often call out – music players can carry real health concerns for your ears. Consider these hearing-health checkpoints the next time you turn on your favorite songs.

 1.    Do your earphones really fit?

Ill-fitting earphones let in more background noise than models that fit properly, and accordingly, they can encourage users to crank the volume to accommodate. Because many MP3 players have a long battery life, listeners can keep their music on for a considerable amount of time, and when the volume is turned up, the risk for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) increases.

Listening to prolonged noises of 85 decibels or more is linked to increased risk of hearing loss. That volume is the same as listening to a standard stereo loudly, but not blaring, and still quiet enough not to drown out conversations. Securing headphones that fit properly can allow you to listen to music at a comfortable, safe and enjoyable volume.

 

2.    Will a softer volume work?

Most iPods with standard earbuds can play at volumes just above 100 decibels, or as loud as a motorcycle. This level of noise can damage hearing in just minutes. Fortunately, Apple has software to limit the volume on numerous models of iPods, and – if you’re really curious about the exact volume your earbuds put out, then several companies offer audio-level monitors to check your equipment.

A good guideline: follow the 60/60 rule. Limit your earbud use to no more than 60 minutes daily (a half-hour is better), and keep the volume below 60 percent of its full capacity.

 

3.    Are your earphones the best model for your ears?

Although earbuds are sleek and travel-friendly, they produce sound much closer to the ear than standard headphones that rest outside the ears. Because of the proximity, sounds can appear up to nine decibels louder with earbuds than with other models.

They’re bulkier, but earmuff styles remove sound directly from your ears, and noise-cancelling models have the extra draw of minimizing background noise, enabling you to enjoy music at quieter volumes.

 

If you’d like further information on listening to music players safely, or if you think it’s time for a hearing checkup, then call our office anytime to learn more.  We’ll be happy to help whenever you need.