December 12, 2017

How many pairs of ear buds do you have?

Ear buds are great: inexpensive, tiny, and easy to use, these little speakers can help you enjoy music, TV shows, radio and even telephone conversations anywhere you go.

There is one drawback to ear buds, however: they are causing hearing damage in people of all ages. It seems you can’t go anywhere without bumping into a teenager sporting ear buds, and not coincidentally–teenagers are the most affected by them. Some studies show that 20% of American teenagers are already suffering from some degree of hearing damage.

Because hearing loss is not reversible, it is vital to understand the causes of hearing loss so it can be prevented or stopped before it goes too far.

A Major Cause of Hearing Loss

Noise-induced hearing loss, the most widespread type of hearing damage in young people, is caused by noise: either sudden, loud bursts of noise like fireworks or gunfire; or exposure over time like at work or when listening to loud music daily.

Younger generations in particular can listen to music for hours a day, often using ear buds as a way to take music with them while on the bus, waiting in line or walking down the street. If the volume is too high, however, this habit can be damaging to hearing over time.

What’s Wrong With Ear Buds?

Ear buds are a problem because they sit inside of the ear canal, in close proximity to the inner ear, and this can boost the volume by as much as nine decibels. Since 85 decibels and above is known to cause hearing damage, nine decibels could easily push music over the line and begin to damage hearing, even if the music is being played at a moderate volume.

What Can I Do?

l When you wear ear buds, follow the 60/60 rule: listen with ear buds for no longer than 60 minutes per day, and at no higher than 60% volume.

l Get ear buds that fit your ears snugly so no background noise can seep in. This will prevent you from turning the volume up further to block it out.

l Custom ear buds can be made that fit your ear canal perfectly. They are the best to block noise, and you can listen to your music comfortably at a lower volume. They also provide superior sound quality.

l Wear earmuff-style headphones instead. If you get noise-canceling headphones that fit over your ears you can comfortably listen to your music under 50% volume for a longer time.

l Let the teens and children in your life know the risks. Many kids have no idea that hearing loss is not reversible.

The first step to halting hearing loss and preventing further damage is to recognize your situation. Come in today for a hearing screening and formulate a strategy to train your brain to listen actively and effectively.

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