Music can be uplifting and inspiring. Music acts as a great way to express and manage emotions. While the radio was once the prime method of listening to our favorite songs, headphones and earbuds have recently taken their place. There is a wide range headphone manufacturers, each offering their own style.
However, it is important to consider the danger of listening to headphones improperly. We have all heard the warnings, but most of us ignore them. Listening to headphones can cause hearing loss, and teens are especially at risk. As the use of headphones becomes increasingly popular, so do cases of teen hearing loss.
This article is going to take a look at the popularity of headphones and its impact on hearing in teens. Then, you are going to learn how to prevent hearing loss without giving up headphones.
The Popularity of HeadPhones
Headphones are a popular way for teens to listen to their favorite songs. Just ask Justina. She is a 17-year-old college student who is rarely seen without her headphones. She almost always has one earbud in at all times. For Justina, music is a way to calm down and relax.
She also uses music to block out the songs her mother listens to while they ride in the car together. But Justina has recently noticed a problem. When she takes her earbuds out, she experiences a ringing sound in her ears. She describes the sensation as being similar to concert deafness. She was not aware how problematic this was.
However, Justina later discovered that she was experiencing tinnitus, which is an early symptom of noise-induced hearing loss. Like many teens, Justina was unaware of what her music was doing to her ears. Teens all over the world are exposing themselves to the same risk. Unaware of the possible danger, they turn the volume of their headphones up to block out the world and its distractions.
Why do Headphones Cause Hearing Loss
If we want to understand how headphones cause hearing loss, it is important to comprehend how our ears work and how they enable us to hear sounds. There are tiny hairs inside the inner ear. When sound waves travel into the ear, they cause the tiny hairs to vibrate.
As they vibrate, they send signals to our brain. This process is how we interrupt sound. The hairs in the inner ear are not very big. In fact, they could fit on the head of a needle. Dr. Kasper explains that the hairs are also very fragile, and they can be damaged if they are over stimulated. When the hairs are damaged, they do not recover. We experience what is called cumulative hearing loss.
In other words, the damage does not have to occur all at once. It can happen slowly over time. According to a report released by the World Health Organization, millions of teens are at risk for hearing loss. The danger does not come from listening to music with headphones. Rather, the problem is that teens are listening to music at too high of a volume. The music they listen to is simply too loud, and it causes their hearing to suffer.
Why the Sudden Concern
Some teens who don’t take this threat seriously want to know why we are just now showing concern for hearing loss. It’s true, our world is full of loud noises. From police sirens to car horns, we are exposed to loud noises on a daily basis. Why wasn’t hearing loss and tinnitus a problem before?
Our ears have a certain noise tolerance. We can listen to some loud noises safely for short periods of time. But when we listen to loud sounds for extended periods of time, we start to run into problems. This is when hearing loss takes place.
It is important to understand how this works. If teens don’t understand how hearing loss works, they will keep putting themselves in danger.We measure sound in decibels. We can safely listen to music at 85 decibels for up to eight hours. If it is any louder than that, permanent damage occurs.
Even a small increase in the decibel level can have significant consequences. If we listen to music at 100 decibels, it is only safe for 15 minutes before hearing damage takes place. The effects of the damage might not be noticeable right away, but by the time the symptoms become noticeable, it is too late.
What Can Be Done
To solve this problem, we need to take a look at why teens turn their music up so loud. If we don’t understand and address the cause, we won’t be able to provide a reliable solution. We could explain to teens that they are putting their hearing at risk, but it won’t do much good.
Until they experience hearing loss for themselves, most teens won’t take this issue seriously. However, if we address the cause, we can prevent teens from listening to dangerously loud music on their headphones.
The main reason teens listen to loud music is to cancel out the world around them. They want their music to act as a distraction. When they listen to music, the want to only hear their favorite songs. They don’t want to hear computer fans, people talking, or phones ringing.
This is where noise canceling headphones come in. Noise canceling headphones block out other sounds. They allow teens to only hear their music without requiring them to listen to it at a dangerously high volume. As a result, teens can still use music to escape and distract themselves without putting their hearing at risk.
While headphones enable teens to listen to music anywhere they wish, they also present a very real threat. Listening to loud music on their headphones can cause permanent damage. However, teens can solve this problem with noise canceling headphones. When teens use noise canceling headphones, they don’t need to turn the music up to distract themselves.