Hearing loss can occur at anyone at any point in their lifetime. It can be gradual or sudden, and can range from mild to severe. It can be triggered by certain types of medications, viral infections, other illnesses, genetics, or in many cases, exposure to loud noises. We may not consider music as “noise” per se but listening to music at an excessively loud volume over time can cause damage to your hearing.
Hearing loss is an irreparable problem, so it is best not to treat it lightly. There is a reason why parents always shout at their children to lower the volume on their audio devices. In this case, your parents are right! It might be fun to listen to music at a blaring volume but it can cost you your hearing abilities forever.
You can take simple steps to protect your hearing so that you do not have to worry about hearing loss later on in life. Take note that the method you choose in which to listen to music plays a big role in how badly your ears are affected by it. Anything that you play at a regular volume on external devices such as the radio is not as damaging as listening to music using the earbuds on your smartphone or your mp3 player. Earbuds take the music signals directly into your inner ear, which can cause instant damage since it is in closer contact with your inner ear than external audio devices.
Instead of using earbuds that are placed inside the ear canal, you can opt for noise-cancelling headphones that are built to eliminate the noise in the background while enabling you to safely listen to music.
People who love music also love to attend music concerts. Unfortunately, music concerts can actually reach unsafe levels of sound with volumes that rise to an alarming 130dB. The highest threshold of safe sound is 85dB, so music concerts pose a serious threat to your hearing. If you wish to attend music concerts, make sure you carry personal earplugs or earmuffs to block unsafe levels of sound. Interestingly, rock concerts have been found to be less damaging to the ears than classical concerts!
One of the basic manners in which you can protect your ears is to limit the time you spend listening to music on your headphones or audio device. Use the rule of 60/60 which means listening to a maximum of 60 minutes per day at only 60% of the available maximum volume. Anything that crosses this time duration or volume level can be damaging to your hearing. Prevention is always better than the cure, so the next time you listen to music, make sure you listen to it at a comfortable volume.
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