The Dangers of Using Earbuds in Personal Audio Devices

The current generation is almost obsessed with “zoning out” by plugging their ears with their earbuds to listen to music on their personal audio devices. This can be a danger to their hearing health. Be it the gym, a walk around campus, or even in the bathtub, using earbuds has become a bad habit of many in the younger generation.

Nowadays we hardly have time to stop and take a deep breath since we are always busy with the next task at hand. Earbuds provide a welcome break from this constant hustle and bustle and provide us with a small haven where we can relax and enjoy ourselves. Although using earbuds may seem “cool” and is definitely a convenient way of listening to music in our busy lives, the extended use of them at high volumes can result in hearing damage.

To prevent the damage caused by earbuds it is important to listen to music at volumes that do not exceed 85dB. Never use your earbuds at the maximum volume even for a short while, since this causes maximum damage to hearing. Any sound levels that exceed 85dB are considered unsafe for hearing, so keep your volume lower than the recommended level.

Another option to protect your hearing is to lower the duration of your earbud use. You can follow a rule of 60-60, where you can opt for listening to your music at 60% of the volume for 60 minutes each day. This is the safest way to reduce your chances of developing hearing problems in the future.

Nowadays there is a wider variety of available options when it comes to listening gear. Instead of choosing the in-the-ear earbuds, you can opt for over-the-ear headphones with noise cancelling features. This greatly reduces the chance of suffering from hearing damage since your headphones would not be placed directly into the ear canal. Noise cancelling features also enable you to enjoy your music sensibly without needing to raise the volume unnecessarily to cut out background noise.

The extended use of earbuds puts you at risk of developing tinnitus, which is the ringing or buzzing sensation within the ears in the absence of any external stimulus. If you can hear ringing sounds, it may be an indication that you need to modify your earbud use. If tinnitus continues even after you have implemented all the suggestions stated above, make sure you visit your audiologist to explore for potential hearing loss. In the meantime, lower the volume, limit your audio time, put on the headphones, and enjoy the music!