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Hearing Loss

Do Earphones or Headphones cause Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?

Can use of Headphones and Earphones lead to an early onset of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. Let Aanvii Hearing provide you an answer.

16% of the Population Worldwide suffers from Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL).

The Portable Cassette Players was launched in the 1980s. Since then, there has been continuous discussion on the impact that headphones and its volume levels can have on an individual’s hearing. From the 1980s to 2020, there has been tremendous growth in technology.

Today people have completely got dependent on their mobile phone and MP3 players. Not only for their music needs but all types of listening needs. Thus making earphones and headphones a basic necessity these days. People find it hard to live without it. But, listening to loud music through earphones and headphones is one of the biggest dangers to your hearing.

Contents of this Article

This article lays down the theory if headphones and earphones can cause noise-induced hearing loss. But if you suspect you have hearing loss, we have something for you, that too completely free.

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So what exactly the problem is? 

So what exactly the problem is?

There are several situations where people have started using a pair of tiny speakers inside or over their ears such as:

  • When you’re traveling, it feels incomplete without listening to music or watching a video
  • While exercising, morning walks, jogging, cycling, hard workouts in the gym do not start without putting the music ON
  • Students find it hard to concentrate without listening to rock music while studying
  • Bikers, while commuting, want to cut out themselves from all the honking and traffic noise so put loud music or podcast.
  • While clubbing, when loudspeaker got complaints about creating noise pollution, “Silent Disco” was introduced and now has become a new trend where people want to dance to their own choice of music

All of the above and many more such situations where people intentionally or unintentionally have got so used to earphones and headphones. In fact so much that they have put their hearing power in grave danger. They have started experiencing hearing loss at a very early age.

These devices as long as they are played at low volumes and shorter spans does not impact much. But the usage of earphones and headphones right from the time we wake up in the morning and till the time we go to bed, and for some even after they go to sleep, at a very loud volume is putting hearing ability at high risk. 

How does noise-induced hearing loss occur in the above-mentioned situations? 

How to prevent noise-induced hearing loss?

The human ear contains three parts – namely inner ear, middle part, outer ear. The inner ear contains tiny hair cells that send signals to our brain through vibrations. When sound is too loud and for a long duration, these hair cells lose their sensitivity to vibration. Hair cells bend or fold over when exposed to loud noises.

Headphones and earphones are placed very closed to the outer ear and can produce very loud levels of sound very close to the ear. Long exposure to loud sound through these devices can damage these hair cells resulting in a hearing loss known as Noise-Induced Hearing Loss, or NIHL.

Unlike an injury to other body parts, hair cell damage never recovers. This type of hearing loss occurs gradually, cumulative and without obvious warning signs. Thus in the majority of people, it goes unnoticed until it’s too late. It’s not just restricted to elderly people, instead, it is becoming more of an issue for children and teenagers.

How to prevent noise-induced hearing loss?

How to prevent noise-induced hearing loss?

NIHL is irreversible but is preventable too just by making the following changes in headphone usage pattern. 

  • Reduce the volume and listening time. Follow “60-60 rule” – Listen at 60% of the total volume and not more than 60 minutes at a time. Take a break and give 5-10 minutes rest to ears.
  • Choose headphones wisely. Select noise-canceling headphones that can cut the outside noise. This enables you to listen to sound from your phone or MP3 player at a much lower volume. Also, always go for over-the-ear headphones instead of a tiny pair of in-ear earbuds. This would increase the distance between the ear and the speaker is little more thus reduces the chance of hearing loss.
  • Check with the people around you. If someone, sitting next to you or standing at an arms distance from you. If you can listen to sound coming out of your headphones. Or if you have to raise your voice while talking to them; then you immediately need to lower the volume.
  • Schedule a Hearing Test. If you have buzzing, roaring, or ringing in your ears, or natural sounds around you are muffled or distorted after you take out your headphones, you should immediately book an appointment with a hearing expert known as Audiologist. 

To learn more about NIHL and safe hearing methods or to have your hearing examined at Aanvii Hearing, schedule a consultation with one of our audiologists.

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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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