As an audiologist in Southfield and Allen Park Michigan we see patients from Detroit, Dearborn, and other surrounding cities for all their hearing needs like hearing aids, hearing tests and more. Something that we would like to address to try and help prevent hearing loss is how earbuds should be used and how they can impact your hearing. Earbuds are convenient, small headphones that you wear in your ears to enjoy music, movies, and other media on your phone or other electronics. While these devices may be an easy way to listen to music or other media on the go, they can also have some unwanted side effects like hearing loss or tinnitus. While it is best to not use earbuds all together, there are some things you can do to help prevent hearing loss.
Why Earbuds Are More DangerousBecause earbuds sit in your ear canal they pose some additional problems when compared to traditional on ear or over ear headphones. They are placed much closer to your inner ear, giving them the potential to produce sound 7-9 decibels higher than normal. 9 decibels might not sound like much but that can make a sound like a bell be as loud as a lawnmower! Earbuds also let in more ambient sound, causing users to turn the volume up even higher in louder areas. These two factors paired with the long battery life of modern electronics can produce noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
How To Prevent Hearing Loss From EarbudsLuckily you won't have to ditch your headphones for good, there are some things you can do to help prevent hearing loss and still listen to your favorite album or TV show whenever you want. Here are steps you can take to help prevent hearing loss from wearing earbud style headphones:
- Listen at low levels: Hearing loss occurs when sounds are too loud, try turning your music down and limit your volume to half of what your device can output.
- Use the 60:60 rule: The 60:60 rule says to only listen to music with headphones or earbuds for 60 minutes a day at 60% of your devices maximum volume level. This rule is a way to make sure your aren’t over exposing your ears to too high of a volume for too long.
- Use over ear or on ear headphones: There are a couple benefits to using over ear or on ear headphones. In general they produce a better sound quality so you can hear more of your music and they also allow for less ambient noise to come in. You can also buy noise canceling headphones which digitally “erase” ambient noise, but even with traditional headphones you shouldn’t crank the volume.