Earbuds and Hearing Loss

As the number of mobile devices such as phones and music players increase in use, more people have been using the new in-ear earphones to deliver their music directly into the ear canal. This technology has led to an epidemic of hearing damage – especially in teens and young adults – which is spreading at an alarming rate.

Loud music is the most direct cause of hearing damage in people of these young age groups and in-ear buds only worsen the effect. This is caused by the sound being unable to escape the canal; every vibration reaches the inner ear and can cause damage.

A common misconception is that larger headphones, such as the over-the-ear design, are more dangerous when in fact the smaller headphones are more likely to damage hearing. Over-the-ear headphone cups are much safer compared to the in-ear design because the vibrations are not restricted to the canal.

In a recent survey by a third party for the audio instruments division of Siemens Hearing Implements, 500 teens were asked if they experienced ringing, roaring, buzzing or pain in their ears, and 46 percent said they had. One of the most dangerous aspects of the situation is that teens often realize the consequences of playing their music so loud directly into their ears, yet take no action. According to Dr. Lisa Xing in Queens, NY, more than half of the teens at the different schools she works for cannot hear the three highest frequencies on the hearing test, which should surely be possible at that age.

It is recommended by professionals that your music device’s volume remain at or below 70 percent for no more than an hour or so and that you use over-the-ear headphones in place of in-ear headphones. The longer your ears are exposed to high volumes, the more irreversible damage is done to your ears.

Sources: Pix11.com, johnjaysentinel.com