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How to avoid Headphone Hearing Loss

headphones on a black background

People everywhere use headphones and earbuds – unfortunately, they are not safe for your ears. It’s quite possible to damage your sense of hearing if you don’t take precautions. Here are some tips to enjoy music safely:

A 2011 study by the American Medical Association journal found that using headphones and earbuds can lead to a significant increase in the likelihood of hearing loss in youths who have not reached physical maturity. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to assume there is a similar case to be made for grown adults.

If that’s the case, then what can be done to remain safe from hearing loss induced by headphones or other related devices?

Excessive Volume and its Dangers – Headphones Hearing Loss

The main danger of headphones is the potential volume level. Headphones can easily generate incredibly high sound levels very close to the ears.

When sound waves travel to the eardrum, they cause vibrations. The sound then hits the cochlea, a fluid-filled chamber inside the ear canal that also has thousands of tiny hairs. Whenever vibrations arrive at the cochlea, the liquid inside vibrates in harmony and stimulates the hairs to move. The louder the sounds, the stronger the vibrations.

If you listen to sounds that are excessively loud for longer than is safe, these hairs can lose their sensitivity. Lots of loud noises result in the hairs bending or folding over. This is how “temporary hearing loss” originates. After exposure to loud noises, it’s important for the hairs to take time to mend and heal from loud noises.

Unfortunately, it’s not unheard of for the cells which produce these hairs to never recover. After the damage is sustained beyond a certain level, there may be a permanent level of function loss.

The Purpose of Headphones

Even if you’re listening to audio output devices at a considerate volume, you can damage your hearing over time. The ears are not merely damaged by the decibel level of a sound, but also by the period of exposure. This is also why going to a music concert or wielding loud power tools has the potential to result in headphones hearing loss.

Check out our article on noise-induced hearing loss to further learn about how noise levels can affect your hearing.