If listening to music or podcast is someone’s favourite form of self-care, it might not be the best for their hearing, says the audiologist of Hearing Plus, a hearing aid centre in Kolkata. The World Health Organisation (WHO) lately shared some alarming news. Due to loud noise exposure, nearly 1.1 billion young people are at risk of potentially life-altering hearing loss.
Headphones and Hearing Loss
Data shows that people under 35 are more likely to listen to music using mobile devices than other age demographics. Of those, WHO suggests 50% blasting out their music at maximum volume through headphones, significantly increasing the chances of damaging the inner ear and causing hearing loss. Studies show they do this at a much higher rate than older individuals.
How Do Headphones Cause Hearing Loss?
The human ear has not evolved to handle loud noises but is built to pick up on gentle sounds. Thus, when one introduces artificially loud sounds through headphones, they can damage their ears.
The ear is a highly complex system. The sound is created as a sensory reaction in the brain following the vibration of tiny hairs within a chamber in the inner ear. Friction between different surfaces results in air movement, which causes these hairs to vibrate in different ways and create different sounds.
According to the audiologist of the ear loss machine centre, loud music elevates the strength of these vibrations. If the vibrations get too intense and remain that way for too long, the hairs become unable to cope with the load and stop functioning properly. Depending on how long a person listens to music and how loud, two things can happen:
- If a person exposes their ears to loud noise for a short period, the inner ear hairs can get damaged and lose their sensitivity, but they can recover over time. This is why one can find it hard to hear after leaving a noisy place but eventually, their hearing returns to normal.
- If a person exposes their ears to loud noise for an extended period, the hairs can get permanently damaged and lose their ability to vibrate. This is when people experience noise-induced hearing loss, says the audiologist of the ear loss machine centre.
Turn the Volume Down
It is that easy. The noise of 80 decibels can be listened to for over 25 hours straight without risk of hearing damage. On an iPhone, that’s around 60% of the maximum volume. At 60% volume, one can still very clearly hear the music and with good quality headphones, one will vibe along to every beat.
Set Controls on Phones
Most phones have a setting that allows one to set a maximum volume so one doesn’t accidentally exceed a safe limit. This is an excellent method for parents to manage how their child listens to music.
Don’t Turn the Volume Up in Loud Environments
Suppose one is commuting and it gets noisy, or one is on a loud aircraft and the engine whir is messing with their sound. The temptation is to turn the volume up. Instead of raising the decibels and risking hearing damage, it is better to wear noise-cancelling headphones.
If you suffer from hearing loss, contact Hearing Plus, a hearing aid centre in Kolkata.