Noise-related hearing loss doesn’t just affect people who work in loud environments, such as construction workers or heavy metal roadies. It doesn’t even need to be work-related, leisure-related noise exposure can be harmful, too. What type of exposure are we dealing with? Loud noise heard through headphones, whether it’s gaming, streaming video, music, or even an audiobook with the volume turned up.
You might be surprised to find out that a mobile device can go that loud. The average pain threshold for human hearing is close to 150 db which is well within the range of these devices. This is the volume at which noise begins to literally hurt your ears. So what’s the solution for protecting your hearing against volume related damage.
It’s important here to consider the volume. Listen with the volume at or below 60% for no more than 60 minutes each session (how long you listen for also matters), this is called the 60/60 rule.
Your Hearing Aids Can be Set up For Listening to Music
Make certain, if you’re utilizing hearing aids, you don’t try to drown out other noises by cranking your streaming music up too high. And there are more appropriate ways to listen to music so ask us about that as well. If you’re a musician or someone who loves music you might have noticed that most hearing aids are programmed to improve the clarity of voices…not necessarily music. We might be able to change the configuration to reduce noise and feedback while boosting some frequency ranges to improve the quality of sound when listening to music.
How to Pick The Best Headphones
When shopping for headphones there are many choices, especially if you have hearing aids. It may be a matter of personal preference, but there are some things you will want to think about there as well.
Over the ear headphones are becoming popular again but you probably won’t see the old foam covered speakers that used to come with a walkman. They have lots of choices in color and style, are frequently endorsed by celebrities, and can be surprisingly pricey. And these headphones go over the whole ear blocking unwanted sound, unlike those old foam ones.
Conventional perception is that these are safer than in-ear headphones because the source of the sound is further away from your eardrum. But the truth is they’re frequently able to reach louder sound than their smaller kin, the speakers are much bigger. Noise cancellation can be a good thing as long as you’re not missing needed sounds such as an oncoming automobile. Having said that, because they cancel out outside noise, you can normally decrease the volume of what you’re listening to so it’s not loud enough to injure your ears.
The standard earbuds that come with devices such as iPhones are known for their poor sound quality, although many people still use them because hey, they came with the phone. Specifically, with newer Apple devices, it’s just easier to use the earbuds that came with the device because it most likely won’t have a headphone jack.
Earbuds also don’t block out sound so the drawback is, you tend to turn up the sound level. It’s commonly believed that inserting earbuds so close to your eardrum is the main concern but it’s really the volume.
Noise Blocking Earbuds
Lots of people opt for earbuds with a rounded, rubbery tip both because they’re more comfortable than normal earbuds and better at stopping outside sounds. A seal that stops outside sound from getting in is formed by the rubber tip which molds to the shape of the ear. But these earbuds can also block out sounds you might need to hear and loud volume is still the main issue. Obviously, these won’t work for you if you use hearing aids.
You may have to check out quite a few pairs before you find headphones that work for you. Depending on what you regularly use them for say talking on the phone, versus listening to music, you’ll have unique acoustic requirements. Enjoying your tunes at a safe volume and coming across headphones that assist you in doing that is essential.
Don’t Cut Corners When it Comes to Your Hearing
Is it Safe, How Can I be certain? If you own a smartphone, you can get an app for that, you can get the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s free Sound Level Meter app. There are different apps you can get, but studies has discovered that the dependability of these other apps is hit-and-miss (in addition, for unknown reasons, Android-based apps have proven less precise). That prompted NIOSH to develop their own app. The app allows you to measure outside sounds, but sounds coming out of your device’s speakers can be measured too, in other words, the true volume of what’s being sent to your ears. You have to do a little work, but taking these kinds of preventative steps can help protect your hearing.