Monday, May 18, 2015
We often use our headphones to listen to music because it’s a fun, convenient way to jam out to our favorite songs. But are we using our headphones the right way? Listening to extreme volumes of sound can lead to noise induced hearing loss (NHL). According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 30 million people are at risk for NHL from their overexposure to high levels of sound.
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, the perfect time to understand and learn how to prevent hearing loss. When we listen to sounds, the inner ear’s sensory cells send electrical signals to the brain to convert the noises that we hear. Listening to loud noises for too long can cause permanent damage to our sensory cells, which prevents them from sending those signals.
How loud is TOO loud? Hearing anything over 85 decibels (dB) of sound pressure for more than 8 hours can cause permanent hearing loss. This volume is similar to the loudness of a large bulldozer, motorcycle engine, or garbage disposal. In fact, you are more at risk for NHL when you listen to higher decibels of sound for longer periods of time.
A normal conversation measures about 60 dB but listening to loud music, especially with headphones on, can exceed 100 dB.
To help mitigate the risk for NHL, here are some helpful ways to properly use headphones and protect your hearing:
Avoid listening to loud sounds for long periods of time.
Wear headphones that don’t go over a certain decibel level.
Test out the volume of your music while wearing your headphones, you should be able to carry on a conversation with someone without the other person raising their voice.
Wear hearing protection in loud venues or at concerts.
Harbin Clinic cares completely about patients from their ears to their toes. Our highly trained healthcare providers can perform hearing exams, treat patients with hearing loss, and other hearing disorders.