Earbuds, earphones, Bluetooth devices, and headphones are everywhere nowadays. They are plugged into iPods, MP3 players, smartphones, tablets, computers, and much more. And they are used by people of all ages (from kids to adults) to provide private listening be it at home, in schools, in gyms, in the workplace, and just about anywhere.
Benefits of earbuds
Earbuds are the most popular choice for listening because they are tiny, light, easy to carry, and very cheap. They also have powerful speakers. This makes teenagers love them because they can listen to their favorite music privately and loudly. They can actually give one the feel of being in a live concert.
Problems associated with earbuds
These little portable and very powerful speakers have become a menace because they are causing hearing damage at an alarming rate. The latest research by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that about 20 percent of Americans in their 20’s and 17% of American teenagers are suffering from hearing loss and most of them are unaware of it. A vast majority of the cases are noise-induced hearing loss and it is irreversible. What makes it even more disturbing is that the longer it goes unnoticed and untreated, the worse it becomes.
Volume is the cause
Noise-induced hearing loss is of two types: sudden earsplitting bursts and ongoing exposure. Sudden and earsplitting bursts can be caused by gunfire, fireworks, or accidents. Ongoing exposure is the most common type of noise-induced loss and is caused by factory noise or listening to loud music over time.
Earbuds are mainly used for listening to music, and, unfortunately, little thought is given to what level of volume or length of time they are worn. It is common for people to listen to the radio or stored music at very high volumes for many hours per day.
How earbuds damage your hearing
Earbuds sit within the ear canal which puts the audio signal close to your inner ear and this can boost the signal substantially. If the earbuds don’t fit tightly and block background noise, you normally respond by increasing the volume. Listening to music at a volume higher than 50 percent is risky. Even listening to music at a moderately high volume for long can cause hearing loss.
Protect your hearing
Wear earmuff headphones because they reduce or cancel background noise which lessens the need to increase the volume above 50 percent. If you want to listen to music for a long time, do so at a softer volume. Follow the 60/60 rule if you are wearing earbuds. This means keeping the volume below 60 percent and limiting your listening to less than 60 minutes per day.
Earbuds are light, highly portable, cheap, and have powerful speakers which makes them the most popular choice for listening to music. To ensure that you protect your hearing, purchase the newer earbuds that provide a tighter fit to cancel out more background noise thereby allowing you to listen at a softer volume. Also, educate your children and teenagers since they have no idea that noise-induced hearing loss is irreversible.
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