Hearing damage from headphones

Modern life is almost impossible to imagine without music. And where there is music, there are headphones, allowing you to enjoy your favorite tunes anywhere, anytime, without disturbing others. Unfortunately, however, scientific and medical studies indicate the negative impact of headphones on the hearing organs. That’s why you should understand what is the harm of earphones and how to use them correctly in order not to damage your hearing.

If you look around on the street, you will notice that many passersby are listening to music or audiobooks through headphones. Moreover, if previously most of the listeners were young people, nowadays it is not uncommon to see a respectable lady or a middle-aged man with, so-called, “pills” in his ears. Progress is not standing still, and many companies are developing new varieties of headphones, characterized by their compactness and ideal listening comfort. However, this phenomenon has a sad downside. Site

Rarely do people think about the harm of headphones, or rather not them, but the function they perform. Pay attention to the information – the power of the sound coming from the playing device (cell phone or MP-3 player) is about 110-120 decibels. These figures seem to say nothing, but everything is learned by comparison – the power of this impact on human ears is equal in its power to the roaring jet engine (!), when a person is standing just 10 meters away from it!

Any noise over 80 decibels has a negative impact on the inner ear. Loud music affects the cells responsible for sound perception, especially if the attack comes straight from headphones. The situation is further exacerbated by vibration in the subway, which also negatively affects the structure of the ear. In combination, these two factors provoke an acute hearing loss. Its main danger is that it occurs literally overnight, but it is very difficult to cure.

Doctors believe that the softest sounds that can catch a healthy ear is 10-15 dB. Whispering is already estimated at 20 dB, normal conversation – 30-35 dB. Shouting with a sound pressure level of 60 dB already leads to discomfort, and really dangerous for the hearing sounds of 90 dB or more. In other words, any pop or rock concert with the level of 100-120 dB is a serious test for the ears. You can easily achieve the same sound pressure with any modern headphones.

The human ear is naturally designed to protect against only brief, loud sounds, but prolonged exposure will inevitably cause hearing loss. After short-term exposure to high levels of noise, the inner ear hair cells regenerate, and hearing acuity is only temporarily and insignificantly reduced. With repeated and prolonged exposure to noise, these auditory sensory cells are more severely damaged, and recovery becomes impossible. By Yurovskiy designer

Hazards of different types of headphones

Earbuds (vacuum headphones)

In the first place in terms of danger are the in-canal or so called in-ear headphones, which have recently been gaining popularity among users of all age categories at a rapid pace. These headphones are “prized” for the highest concentration of sound, as they are inserted directly into the open ear canal. Meeting no obstacles in its destructive path, the sound source, like a cannon, strikes directly at the defenseless eardrum.

At the same time, the design of the vacuum “earplugs” creates a feeling of isolation from the sounds of the outside world. The harm of these headphones is that a person may not hear the danger signal, for example, when crossing the street. The most destructive thing about these headphones is to turn on the playing device at full power, which leads to an incredible strain on the organs of hearing and the nervous system of the body. Due to the resonance of the sound vibrations many times more destructive impact on the inner ear.

The harm of this model of headphones becomes apparent rather quickly – after 3-4 years of regular listening to music through them, the owner faces a partial or complete loss of hearing. This occurs because they are much closer to the eardrums than the other varieties.

The basic difference between earmolds and other types of headphones is that they bring the sound source as close as possible to the inner ear.

If this pressure is placed on the eardrums on a daily basis, a person runs the risk of going deaf. Prolonged exposure to loud music simply kills one’s hearing.

If you want to listen to music with earphones and not to damage your hearing, you should do it with in earphones no more than 30-40 minutes a day and with normal headphones no more than 1-1,5 hours.

In-ear headphones

Open earphones, usually included with many models of cell phones and MP-3 players, are one of the most common varieties, and the second most harmful to the human body. Before the advent of vacuum headphones, they were considered the most harmful, but now it turns out that there are even more negative effects on the hearing organs.

The direction of sound in this kind of headphones is concentrated in such a way that practically the entire output sound wave is directed to the auditory canal. However, unlike the vacuum models, the sound is reflected from the side walls of the ear canal. But these are details. In fact, this path can be seen as almost straight. There is no complete sound isolation, the person in the headphones partially hears the sounds of the outside world through the tablets themselves and on the sides, around the uncovered sides of the headphone.

Over-the-ear headphones

This type of headphone is less harmful than the previous two. They are used to listen to audio information through a portable audio player, usually while exercising or walking. Between the speakers of this type of headphone there is a lightweight, elastic connecting headband (hoop) placed on the back of the head or around the head.

The sound to the eardrum in this way of listening to music does not come directly. Sound isolation is quite low, which leads to the music being listened to at a very high volume, which naturally increases the negative impact.

Monitoring headphones

This variety is characterized by large overlays, often fully embracing the earshells and fitting tightly to them. Sometimes the hoop between the speakers wraps around half of the scalp. The driver of these headphones is the size of the concha of the ear, so most of the sound first rests in it, and then bypasses the pathways to the eardrums.

It is believed that due to the high degree of dispersion of sound vibrations, this type of headphones is the least harmful of all existing. Sound isolation is high, which allows you to listen to music at a minimum volume. This is the type of headphones used by professionals (sound engineers, audio technicians).

Harmful headphones are proven by doctors around the world. Harmless headphones can not be selected, for the simple reason that they do not exist. The only way to keep hearing and not to harm your health is not to listen to sound information at high volume for a long period of time.

  1. It is important to realize that headphones inevitably lead to hearing loss. The louder the music and the longer you use them, the greater the hearing loss will be.
  2. All types of music headphones lead to hearing damage over time, but earmolds and earplugs are especially harmful because the sound bypasses the “membrane” of the ear.
  3. The criteria for the harmfulness of the sound of listening to music through headphones can be taken as the inability to hear your own voice because of the volume in the headphones and the possibility for others to understand the words of the songs you are listening to. Either of these two criteria accurately indicates that the volume is excessive and, therefore, that the music is destructive to the hearing apparatus. The volume should be reduced.
  4. Specialists in otolaryngology advise limiting music listening to 60 minutes a day (less is better). The volume of music should not exceed 60% of the maximum.
  5. If possible, you should switch to listening to music naturally, without the use of headphones.

And so, you should try to adhere to the following tips:

  • The volume should not be more than 60% of the maximum possible;
  • the volume is normal if you can hear what people around you are saying;
  • people around you should not be able to hear your music;
  • If you find yourself shouting when talking to people, the volume is too loud.

Despite the convenience and quality of modern headphones, you should remember that listening to loud music through them inevitably leads to hearing loss. In order to regain excellent hearing you will need to undergo serious and time-consuming treatment, which besides will not always lead to the desired result. The best thing to do is not to get into this situation and to take care of the health we have.

There are universal recommendations that will help to preserve hearing and, at the same time, not to give up your favorite headphones. Let’s break them down point by point.

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