Headphones are almost as common as smartphones in today’s world. People use headphones nearly every day to listen to music and podcasts, among other things. However, there can be risks that come with our attachment to essentially having tiny speakers blast into our ears for prolonged periods of time.
Namely, hearing loss is becoming more common among young people, and headphone use has been pointed to as the culprit. However, headphones are still an incredibly convenient tool, but it’s important to be safe about how we use them. Here is some information about how to protect your hearing when using headphones...
The Style of Headphones Matters
First of all, the style of headphones that people opt to use matters a great deal, as it pertains to hearing loss. Earbuds are an especially egregious offender of hearing damage, since users tend to turn them up louder to get the full effect of an audio mix. Instead, using headphones that are in the “earmuff” style can give listeners a more full sound, without the excess volume. In addition, getting noise-cancelling headphones has been shown to reduce hearing loss, because people aren’t turning up their volume to compete with outside noise.
Just like a speedometer in a car goes a lot higher than the speed you should ever be driving your vehicle at, so too are headphones able to output higher volumes than you should be listening to. The biggest problem with headphones and hearing loss is that people are simply turning up their music too loud. As a general rule of thumb, you should never be turning your headphones up past 60%, and you shouldn’t have it much higher than needed to cancel out noise outside of the headphones.
When you are listening to music or other audio through headphones for an extended period of time, it puts a great deal of strain on your ears. Over time, this can make you more susceptible to hearing damage, especially at higher volumes. As such, it’s important to take breaks, when listening to headphones. In general, you should take a break at least every 60 minutes that you are listening to music through headphones, and shouldn’t do so for more than a few hours, every day.