Are Headphones Bad for your Hearing?

headphones 180202758Headphones are popular for a multitude of reasons, such as convenience and sound quality, but there is a downside to these devices. According to The Journal of the American Medical Association, the number of teens who have experienced hearing loss has increased by 33% since 1994.  Do you catch yourself blasting music while listening to your headphones for long periods of time? If so, your hearing may be at risk.

Headphones come in a variety of styles, but the two most commonly used are earbuds and around-ear headphones. While around-ear headphones can have negative side effects, earbuds are the more dangerous because they are inserted directly into your ears, providing an uninterrupted route for the music to travel through your ear and straight to your eardrum. When sound enters the ear, the eardrum vibrates. These vibrations travel to the cochlea, where fluid carries them to fine hairs that trigger the auditory nerve fibers, which travel to the brain. When a sound is too loud, the hairs can become damaged, causing permanent hearing loss.

Noise is damaging at about 85 decibels, or the volume of a hair dryer. People who tend to play music up to 110-120 decibels over a long period of time while using earbuds, which increases the sound by 7-9 decibels, can experience a significant amount of hearing loss.

Want to avoid further hearing loss? Try some of these helpful tips:
• Listen to your music for no longer than an hour and no louder than 60% of volume.
• Purchase around-ear headphones with noise-cancelling technology so you can avoid blasting music and prevent music from having direct contact with your eardrum.
• Remove earwax. Earwax builds up every time you push earbuds into your ear canal, so make sure you gently clean it out to prevent hearing loss, discomfort and infection.

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All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.