Earbuds can cause hearing loss! Did you know that nearly 50% of people ages 12 – 35 years listen to unsafe levels of sound through personal audio devices such as cell phones and MP3 players? Once the damage is done to your ears, there is nothing that can be done to reverse it.
There are a couple of important factors that determine unsafe levels of sound: the loudness of the sound and the length of time that you are exposed to the sound. The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has a recommended standard: any sound over 85 dB for more than 8 hours will cause damage to your ears. Increase the level by 3 dB and the damage will begin in 4 hours. For every 3 dB of increased intensity, the amount of time you can be exposed decreases by half. Most personal audio devices can produce sounds up to 105 dB or more. At maximum volume, we should be listening for less than 15 minutes. TURN DOWN THE VOLUME!
What can you do to protect your ears?
- Use noise cancelling earbuds - they can reduce the need to raise the volume of the listening device.
- Keep the volume below 60%.
- If you can’t hear what is going on around you, the volume is too high.
- If your friends tell you that you are talking more loudly than usual while streaming audio, your volume is too high. Turn down the volume.
- Follow steps 1-4 above – your future ears will thank you.