Earbuds provide an easy and portable way for us to listen to our favorite tunes while we’re on the move. However, if you don’t use them correctly, the earbuds you love could prove hazardous to your health and annoying to other people. Here are the reasons why you should use your favorite earbuds safely.
Earbuds Create Music Loud Enough to Make You Deaf
Most MP3 players can play music at 120 decibels, the equivalent of your average rock concert. Any sound louder than 85 decibels can potentially make you deaf. It might sound sensational, but the statistics don’t lie. According to the American Osteopathic Association, one in five teens today has some form of hearing loss. That’s around 30 percent more than teens in the 1980s and 1990s. Many medical experts believe that increased use of earbuds contributes to the problem.
Hearing Loss Caused by Earbuds Cause Is Irreversible
If you believe that you can just get a hearing aid or an implant to fix the problem, you’re mistaken. Dr. James E. Foy, an osteopathic pediatrician speaking to the American Osteopathic Association, says, “The type of hearing loss caused by over exposure to very loud noise is irreversible, making prevention paramount.” Hearing aid devices might amplify sounds, making noises easier to hear, but they merely compensate for the damage earbuds cause rather than truly remedying the hearing loss.
Earbuds Can Put Your Safety at Risk in the Short Term
It may take years for hearing loss to manifest, but that doesn’t mean that your earbuds aren’t putting your safety at risk in the meantime. There’s a greater chance an accident will occur when you use your earbuds incorrectly. That’s because the loud music playing directly into your ear blocks out signs of danger, like the footsteps of an attacker or the motor of an approaching car, as Dr. Diana Deutsch, a psychologist at the University of California at San Diego, told Women’s Health.
Using Earbuds Safely Is More Considerate to Those Around You
Your earbuds might send music directly into your ears, but some sound invariably leaks out. The louder the volume in your earbuds, the more noise those around you will hear. That’s not just bad for your health, but also downright frustrating for everyone in your orbit.
You might have chosen to listen to your music, but the people near you didn’t. They’re probably trying to focus on the story they’re reading on their Kindle, planning out their days, or just enjoying getting lost in their own thoughts. Your music is an intrusion—and, by extension, so are you. People listening to loud music through their headphones seem to be universally loathed by online gripers, who call the audiophiles rude, selfish, inconsiderate, and a host of other unflattering adjectives. Even if you can’t put your own health first, you can think about the comfort of others.
The Right Way to Use Earbuds
To use earbuds correctly, make sure you turn your music device’s volume down. While it’s tempting to crank up your favorite songs, this habit is doing your hearing no favors. Dr. Foy says that your audio is too loud if you can’t hear what’s going on around you. He suggests never exceeding 60 percent of your device’s maximum volume. Prolonged exposure can also compromise hearing, so he recommends listening for no more than 60 minutes per day even at this level.
If you regularly listen to music in noisy environments like crowded subway carriages and city streets, it might be time to replace your regular earbuds with a pair of sound-canceling earbuds. These high-quality headphones deliver superior sound quality and block out the noise of the outside world, allowing you to reduce your audio’s volume without losing clarity.
Don’t let the media hype about earbuds scare you. While these audio gadgets have the potential to cause early hearing loss, using them the right way will let you continue listening to your favorite sounds for many years to come.