Hearing loss is often thought of as an age-related disorder. However, recent studies have shown that hearing loss is becoming increasingly more common, even among younger people, and experts believe that excessive earphone and headphone use at harmful volume levels is the big reason for this. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), nearly 1 out of every 4 Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have high frequency hearing loss due to chronic exposure to loud noise above 90 decibels (db) – this is known as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). The good news is that hearing loss from “unsafe” earphone and headphone use is in fact preventable.
Did You Know? – Most portable music players today can produce sounds up to 120 decibels which is equivalent to a sound level at a rock concert? At that level, hearing loss can occur after only about an hour and 15 minutes.
According to www.osha.gov, here are some facts to consider:
- At 95 decibels, hearing damage will occur after four hours of exposure per day.
- At 100 decibels, hearing damage will occur after two hours of exposure per day.
- At 105 decibels, hearing damage will occur after one hour of exposure per day.
- At 110 decibels, hearing damage will occur after 30 minutes of exposure per day.
- At 115 decibels, hearing damage will occur after 15 minutes of exposure per day.
- At 120-plus decibels, hearing damage occurs almost immediately.
Warning Signs of Hearing Loss include:
- Delayed and/or unclear speech
- A frequent need to turn the volume up on audio devices
- Asks for other to repeat things often
- Complaints about ringing, roaring, or other noises in the ear
- Itchiness or pain in the ear
Unfortunately, the type of hearing loss due to earphone and headphone use is typically gradual, cumulative, and without obvious warning signs. The only way to truly diagnose hearing loss is through a comprehensive hearing evaluation performed by a certified hearing care professional.
How To Prevent Hearing Loss from Earphone & Headphone Use
- You can avoid this type of hearing loss by using what is known as the “60/60 rule” – never listen to higher than 60% of your device’s audio range for longer than 60 minutes a day.
- Be more conscious of your earphone and headphone use and use them less often if necessary.
- Make sure to turn down the volume and listen to the music at safe sound levels.
- Explore earphone or headphones designed to keep your ears safe.
If you or a loved one would like to speak with an experienced hearing care professional about safe earphone and headphone use or would like to get a comprehensive hearing evaluation, contact us at Hearing Solutions, Inc and make an appointment.