Almost all of us love hearing music through our earbuds or headphones and enjoy the privacy it gives us. These listening devices entertains us and helps us stay connected wherever we go. And nowadays, it seems like everywhere you look, from the subway to the gym and to the street, almost everyone is using earbuds or headphones.
One great thing about these gadgets is that they give us the ability to hear every little detail in the music we are listening to. But this convenience comes at a price because while these little sonic tubes give us satisfying sounds and awesome background music, they can also damage our hearing. But as long as you’re aware of it and you put a little effort into protecting your hearing, it is possible to prevent that from happening. That’s why in this article, we are going to discuss some tips and guides to protect your hearing without giving up your earbuds or headphones.
How do Headphones and Earbuds Cause Hearing Loss?
Using these gadgets for too long, too loudly, and too often can affect the parts of our ears that are vital to healthy hearing. We have about 18,000 cilia in each ear, these are tiny hair cells that transmit sound. They play a very important role in the hearing process because they are the ones who send electrical signals to our brain, which then translates the signals into a recognizable sound.
Listening often to loud music and noise can damage these microscopic hair cells which eventually causes them to die. Unfortunately for us, these hair cells don’t have the capability to regenerate which means that once they die, they are gone for good. And hearing loss may not be experienced until it’s too late to prevent it.
Repeated damaging music and noise can help accelerate the ear’s age fifty percent faster. That’s why if you think you listen to loud music every day for a long period of time, you might have the hearing of someone who is in their 80s when you’re still in your 50s.
Your Device Matters
There are three types of listening devices that are available in the market today and all of them have their own benefits and drawbacks.
- Earbuds – This listening device allows you more outside noise to enter your ear which means that they are perfect to use when you’re outdoors because you will be able to hear the traffic and other people’s voices. However, some people tend to put up the volume to high levels when they are in a place where there is a lot of ambient noise.
- Over-the-ear Headphones – This listening device cover the ears better and they are great for canceling outside noises. They also give better sound quality which means you can listen to your music even at a lower volume. The only downside of over-the-ear headphones is that they are not as portable as the earbuds.
- Isolating earbuds – These are just like earbuds but they have rubber tips that seal your ear canal. They are perfect for canceling outside noises and they are portable too. But they can be dangerous to use outdoors especially if you’re going places where you need to be aware of outside sounds such as traffic or car horns.
Whatever listening device you choose to use, always make sure that it is better to spend a little extra money for good ear pieces.
Tips for Protecting Your Hearing
- Keep the volume down – This is the simplest step but the hardest thing to do. We tend to push the volume levels up on your music players when the background or outside noise gets too much. But the amped-up volume on your headphones plus the background noise puts extra stress on your ears. That’s why it is best to maintain the volume level of your headphones below sixty percent the maximum.
- Give your ears some quiet time – Always make sure that you take a few minutes away from your headphones every hour to re-establish a normal volume level in your ears. This will help your ears recover and somehow rest from all the direct noise.
- Switch off – Aside from using your headphones to listen to some music, why not use them to protect your hearing? It might seem a little bit boring at first but taking some quiet time for yourself may just give you an increase in your productivity and focus. That’s why instead of listening to some music, put your headphones on to block out the excessive noise in your surroundings.
- Use noise canceling headphones to protect your hearing – These are the kind of headphones that helps you tune out the background noise. Noise canceling headphones doesn’t just act like a physical barrier against unwanted noise such as the sound of public transport. These headphones also produce sound waves that cause destructive interference which eliminates noises before they can reach your ears. Believe it or not, noise-canceling headphones can block out high pitched noises such as squealing or that crying baby on the bus without compromising the sound quality of the music you’re listening to.
Lastly, keep in mind that earbuds and headphones are not basically dangerous. Just always remember to use it with moderation and choose the ones that are not to harsh on your ears.