There is nothing quite like a great playlist and a pair of hi-tech headphones to get you through even the dullest of days! Yet we have also heard of noise-induced hearing loss. You certainly want to use headphones for the immersive audio experience that they offer without having to compromise on your hearing abilities. Just what are the precautions that you can take to do that? If that’s been the question on your mind, here are 5 handy tips to prevent headphones-induced hearing loss:
This really is the simplest tip. Keep the volume levels low. In fact, this advice isn’t applicable only when you use headphones, but also when you turn on the television or your music player. Listening to loud sound for a long period of time can overwork the hair cells in your ears, in turn leading to progressive hearing loss if the exposure continues.
The thumb rule to follow is to not exceed 60% of the maximum volume of your player for your hearing safety.
The fear of using headphones that do not offer a noise-cancelling feature is that you tend to keep turning the volume of the music up, to block out external sound. Instead, go with active noise-cancelling headphones that cancel out external noise and offer you a flawless audio experience. You need not, therefore, rely on high decibel levels to create the auditory experience that you desire. If for some reason, you aren’t using noise-cancelling earphones, the only other option you have, even though it is not very practical, is not to use the earphones in noisy places but to look out for a quiet place.
It stands to reason, of course, that you need to skip using earphones when you are engaging in activities where you need to hear sounds around you, such as when driving a vehicle. This may not have anything to do with your hearing-health but can turn out to be life-threatening.
Even though we tend to use the two terms as if they are identical, there is a difference between a headphone and an earbud. Since earbuds sit right inside your ear and are very close to the ear canal, they are known to increase volume and cause greater harm. Headphones, on the other hand, are perched over your ears and are known to cause far less harm. Also since earbuds do not dull distracting sounds you are far more likely to reach out to the volume button and turn it up, adding to the damage.
The answer to how to use earphones without damaging ears, also lies in taking listening breaks. It is prudent to take a 5-minute break every 30 minutes to maintain your hearing health. Again, these listening breaks aren’t just applicable when you use headphones, but also when you are at noisy venues such as a club.
It may be a good idea to set a limit to the volume on your device settings. That way there is no chance that you can find yourself inadvertently increasing the volume as you groove to your favourite song.
What you are really doing by the above measures is ensuring that the sound levels aren’t:
Now that really is the answer to your question on “are earphones harmful”. The key to your hearing-health as well as the key to stemming headphones-induced hearing loss lies in moderation.
If you do experience a situation where you feel that your ear seems to be plugged or if you hear any buzzing in the ear, do consult a physician. Also keep a watch on whether you tend to hear the television or radio at a higher volume than in the past, as that could be a sign of hearing issues.
Here’s to remaining “all ears” with these easy to practice tips when you use headphones!