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Can Headphones Cause Hearing Loss?

In today’s world, it seems like nearly everyone is using headphones to listen to their favorite music, podcasts, or audiobooks. However, whether you are using your headphones for work, school, or leisure, it is essential to be aware of the potential risks associated with headphone use. Before you plug in, the Ear & Sinus Institute (ESI) wants to make sure you are well-informed about your headphone use and how it could potentially impact your hearing.

Types of Headphones to Avoid

The style of headphones you wear and the way they fit may have a major impact on your risk of hearing loss. When it comes to headphone types, it is best to avoid anything that sits inside your ear canal, such as earbuds. These headphones often have the highest sound levels and put more pressure on the ear’s delicate structures.

Alternatively, over-ear headphones are a safer option. Although these headphones can still produce loud audio, they generally have a better sound quality and tend to distribute the sound pressure evenly across the ear. It’s also important to note that some earbuds may be more likely to cause hearing loss than others. Therefore, it’s crucial to check for the decibel levels before purchasing.

How Loud Should Your Headphones Be?

Unfortunately, nearly 40 million US adults aged 20-69 have noise-induced hearing loss. The good news is you can reduce your risk of becoming part of this statistic by using headphones at a safe volume. At around 85 decibels, there is a potential risk of hearing damage, so it is essential to keep your volume levels below this threshold. Ideally, your headphones should stay at or below 70 decibels.

To put this into perspective, a normal conversation sits at about 60 decibels, while a running motorcycle engine is around 95 decibels. Not only does the volume of your headphones impact your hearing, but also how often you use them. It is essential to be mindful of both factors in order to keep your ears safe and healthy. A good rule of thumb is to take a break after every hour of listening to ensure that you aren’t straining your ears.

Risk Factors for Hearing Loss

There are several risk factors that may increase the likelihood of hearing loss. Some of the most common include:

  • Prolonged exposure to loud noise
  • Age
  • Having a family history of hearing loss
  • Medical conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes
  • Trauma to the head or ear

It’s important to be aware of these risk factors and take steps to protect your hearing, such as wearing earplugs or limiting exposure to loud noise. If you are experiencing hearing loss or other ear or sinus conditions, it’s best to consult a medical specialist to get the proper treatment.

Warning Signs of Hearing Loss

Determining what a safe volume is for your headphones may be difficult, but it’s vital to listen to your body and be aware of the warning signs that could indicate hearing loss. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it may be time to take a break from your headphones:

  • Ringing or buzzing in the ears
  • Difficulty understanding conversations
  • Pain or discomfort in the ears after or while using headphones
  • Trouble hearing in loud environments

Protect Your Hearing With the Ear and Sinus Institute

Don’t let hearing loss stop you from enjoying life to the fullest. Take action now to protect your hearing with the Ear and Sinus Institute. Our experienced specialists can help you determine the best treatment plan for your ear and sinus conditions. Contact us today to take control of your hearing health.

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Call Us to Schedule an Appointment: (817) 332-4060
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