It’s hard to walk down the street or even sit in an office without seeing someone with their earbuds listening to their iPhones, iPods, or whatever device they are attached to. For kids today, it’s almost part of their wardrobe.
Earbuds can ultimately lead to hearing loss – but they don’t have to.
We are born with five senses; these senses diminish as we age – particularly our sight and hearing.
Two of the main factors that contribute to hearing damage and loss are sound levels and duration. Loud sounds over extended periods of time damage hearing.
Any sound over 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. 85 decibels is any noise you have to shout over in order to be heard (according to NIDCD: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders).
Many earbud vendors advertise specifications of decibels of around 110. Listening to music at this volume (approximately the level of sound in a dance club or the sound of a chainsaw) this close to the ear will cause hearing damage.
Basic earbud safety
Wearing earbuds can decrease awareness of your surroundings due to noise levels above 85 decibels, and simply because of concentration on what you are listening to rather than your surroundings. The same safety rules apply to earbuds use that apply to cell phones”
- Use of earbuds while driving and walking can prevent you from hearing important safety warning sounds such as a car honking or an approaching pedestrian with malicious intent.
- Keeping the decibel level at 85 allows most people to hear a car horn or other loud noise of warning.
- Walkers and runners who use earbuds are advised to remain vigilant of their surroundings and to be proactive in observing for suspicious behavior of others.
- Focus on what you are doing as well as what you are listening to.
Avoid hearing loss
- Invest in earbuds that are designed to fit into your ear rather than hang on the outer ear. This type of earbud will require lower volume because it isn’t competing with external sounds.
- If you simply must crank up the volume to enjoy a certain song, limit the high decibel exposure to that song and then turn the volume back down.
Ears sweat and are subject to infection just like any other part of the body.
- Regularly clean your earbuds as advised by the manufacturer.
- Avoid sharing earbuds with others ” particularly the type of earbuds that go into the ear. You wouldn’t share an ear cleaner, don’t share earbuds!