With the various types of technology that are being released on an almost annual basis, it should come as no surprise that at least some of these developments are going to pose a threat to your health. For example, consider earbuds.
Although doctors have never been a fan of headphones in general, they are especially wary of the risk that come with earbuds. Headphones blast music at a loud volume at your ears. Earbuds, on the other hand, place the source of noise directly next to your eardrum. This can cause a difference in volume of up to nine decibels.
If you’re using earbuds for your music needs, keep reading to find out why you may want to reconsider and how you can use earbuds more safely.
Differences Between Earbuds and Headphones
Many people are wary of these warnings, as they feel that there are very few actual differences between earbuds and headphones. The main difference is how close the music source is to your cochlea.
In your ear, there are tens of thousands of hair cells that catch incoming sound and transmit those sounds to the brain. However, they cannot work under constant pressure. If your music is too loud and you listen to it constantly, the hair cells begin to die off. As this happens, you have fewer and fewer hair cells to transmit music to the brain.
It is much easier to overload the cochlea and hair cells using earbuds rather than headphones. This is because of how close the earbuds are to the eardrum. Since headphones are a bit further away, it is harder to overload the cochlea as quickly or as much.
Doctors have many concerns when it comes to personal music players and the headphones that people use to listen to them. They are particularly concerned when it comes to children, since hearing loss is occurring earlier and earlier as a result of headphone usage.
The threat of noise induced hearing loss can leave you to become hard of hearing or even deaf by your 20s or 30s. This is particularly troubling given how little attention is paid to hearing health in the United States. Very few doctors use hearing checks beyond the required hearing test, which often fails to catch early signs of hearing loss.
Protecting Yourself from Hearing Damage
Even if you have spent years listening to loud music through headphones, it isn’t too late to protect yourself from hearing loss and start turning around some of your bad habits.
First, make sure you are only listening to music via headphones for 60 minutes at a time. This gives your ears time to rest and recover after extensive audio processing.
Second, keep the volume down. You do not want the volume on your headphones to be any higher than 60% of maximum. If you are used to listening to music louder, you can train yourself. Starting your usual volume and, over the course of multiple days, turn it down one or two clicks at a time. Before you know it, you should be down to the recommended limit.
This Site Was Inspired By An Interest in Protecting the Environment:
We had the privilege and joy of learning from Dr. Charlie Stine who instilled a love for the natural world through incredible field trips with the Johns Hopkins Odyssey Certificate program in Environmental Studies. At the time, the program was endorsed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Sadly, after Dr. Stine retired, the program was phased out. We hope that we honor his legacy by shining a bright light on environmental issues and sharing good news about the success of various conservation programs when possible.
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