Advances in technology have allowed us to bring our favorite music, movies, podcasts, videos, etc. with us wherever we go. Our headphones allow us to enjoy these things on the move, while multitasking, and in public spaces. That being said, we should try to be more aware of the dangers of headphone use and work to preserve our hearing.
How can headphones damage your hearing?
Loud noises are one of the main causes of hearing loss and headphones blast loud noises directly into your ear drums. Sounds, once they reach the ear, cause the eardrum to vibrate. The vibration travels along small bones in the inner ear where it eventually reaches the cochlea. The cochlea is a fluid-filled chamber that contains thousands of small “hairs.” As the vibrations hit the cochlea, the fluid vibrates and causes the hairs to move. The louder the sound, the stronger the vibrations and the more intensely the hairs move.
When you listen to loud sounds for too long, the hair cells lose their sensitivity to vibration, causing them to bend or fold over. This creates the feeling of “temporary hearing loss” after being exposed to loud noises. Sometimes the hair cells recover, but in other cases, they never regain their sensitivity. At this point, there is no cure available for this kind of hearing loss.
When we become obsessed with a new album, audiobook, or podcast, we can easily spend all day in our own world, listening away. However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) the recommended length of time for headphone use is only an hour every day.
An hour isn’t a lot of time, but you can continue listening for longer if you keep the volume down. The potential for hearing damage comes from listening to loud sounds at a much longer length.
In terms of volume, typical hearing devices max out at around 105 to 110 dB (decibels). Any sounds that reach above 85 dB can cause damage within the span of two hours. However, exposure to louder sounds from 105 to 110 dB can cause damage within just five minutes. That is why it is ultimately recommended to listen at a volume that is 70 dB or less.
Got Medicare Questions?
We hope this information on safety tips for headphone use is helpful to you.
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