Headphones have become a necessary part of our life in today’s fast-paced, technologically advanced world, especially at work. They provide a practical way to stay connected and focused, however, worries have been raised about the possible dangers of long-term headphone use, including the likelihood of hearing loss.
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Headphone Usage and Its Impact on Hearing?
When you think about the human ear, it comes to reason that it is not designed for loud noises. Even extremely faint noises may be detected by our ears because they are an organic survival tool (simply observe animals like deer or rabbits – they are able to dodge predators thanks to their remarkable hearing).
Loud noises are uncommon in the natural world – instead, you’ll typically hear tiny, undetectable sounds.
The fragile structures that make up the ear are sensitive to sound pressure levels, and prolonged exposure to loud noises. The inner ear’s hair cells, which are in charge of relaying sound impulses to the brain, may be destroyed if the sound entering the ears is excessively loud. Once these hair cells are harmed or eliminated, they are irreparably lost, and permanent hearing loss results.
Headphones can significantly affect hearing, especially when used at high volumes for lengthy periods of time, and in order to avoid potential hearing impairment, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests setting the volume at a maximum of 60% and limiting listening sessions to 60 minutes.
Headphones and Hearing Loss: 2021. Study
Loud sounds from headphones can harm inner ear structures, which leads to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
Most of the time, the noises we hear on TV, in traffic, and during background conversations are at a safe level, however, there are instances when sounds are too loud or go on for too long.
All age groups are susceptible to hearing loss brought on by noise. People are more prone to suffer from Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHIL) if they work in loud workplaces, attend loud concerts, or listen to music loudly through headphones.
The 2021 study estimates that noise-induced hearing loss affects 1.7% of persons globally, and, according to the study, using headphones in a noisy setting increases the chance of hearing loss by 4.5 times.
Recognizing Hearing Loss Caused by Headphone Use
If you experience one or more of these symptoms – Tinnitus, a persistent ringing in one or both ears, frequently asking someone to repeat what they just said, and mishearing things – you probably suffer from hearing loss.
Headphone hearing loss is entirely avoidable, however, if you, a friend, or a loved one are worried that headphone usage has already harmed your hearing, there are available and easy solutions.
Hearing aids are the best line of treatment for severe hearing loss. Depending on the type of hearing aid you purchase, hearing aids operate quite differently, but they all do the same thing – improve what little natural hearing you still have, enabling a far wider spectrum of hearing.
If you have noticeable difficulties hearing, or in some cases, partial deafness, the easiest way to validate your concerns is with a hearing test, and know that prevention of hearing loss is the best course of action.
Headphones & Hearing Loss: Preventive Measures
- Volume control: Always keep the volume at a level that is appropriate for safe listening, ideally at around 60% of the maximum volume.
- Time Limits: Limit your listening sessions to avoid prolonged exposure. Taking breaks between sessions gives your ears a chance to recover.
- Noise Levels: To avoid using excessive volume in noisy areas, choose noise-canceling or noise-isolating headphones.
- Regular Breaks: Give your ears regular breaks from headphone use to prevent overexposure to sound.
- Annual Hearing Checkups: Consider scheduling annual hearing checkups to monitor your hearing health and catch any issues early.