Can Headphone Use Cause Hearing Loss?
Over the last year, headphone usage has increased with a transition from in-person to virtual meetings, classes and events. But even the highest quality earbuds can have an impact on your hearing.
How Headphones Harm Hearing
Damage to your hearing can occur from headphones because of how loud what you are listening to is, how long you are listening for and how close the sound produced by the headphones is to your ears.
Newer headphones produce a higher quality of digitized sound. When listening through an older pair of headphones the music may start to sound bad, and the bass could become distorted when the volume is too loud. But newer headphones are able to control this, allowing the user to have a good listening experience at any volume.
Earbuds, the in-ear style of headphone, have more potential to damage your hearing than the over-ear headphones do. This is because the sound energy produced through an earbud-style device is louder on the eardrum, as you are funneling all the soundwaves directly into your ear.
What You Are Listening to Matters
Many children who have been attending virtual school are exposed to loud classrooms full of other children yelling and screaming. If children don’t know to turn the volume down when it becomes uncomfortably loud, they can damage their ears.
Adults may have the same issue when using headphones for their discussion-based meetings. Unlike music, which is generally edited to present at the same volume, there is a lot of variation depending on who is speaking during virtual meetings.
There are, however, more natural pauses in a meeting, which gives your ears a break.
How Loud Is Too Loud?
Sounds are measured in decibels (dB); anything over 85 can cause damage to delicate hair cells within the inner ear. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, below is the average decibel rating for some common sounds:
- Normal conversation: 60-70 dB.
- Movie theater: 74-104 dB.
- Dirt bikes: 80-110 dB.
- Music through headphones at maximum volume: 94-110 dB.
- Sirens: 110-129 dB.
- Fireworks: 140-160dB.
As the volume increases, the less time it takes to damage your hearing. Listening to anything measuring more than 100 dB, which includes attending a concert at Walleye Weekend and listening to music through your headphones turned up as high as your device can go, can put your ears at risk after only 15 minutes.
If you turn the volume down, you can listen with headphones for a few hours without fear of damage. To learn more about protecting your ears from loud noises or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, contact DeFatta ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery today.