Aiden loves music. While he’s out jogging, he’s listening to Pandora, while working it’s Spotify, and he has a playlist for everything he does: gaming, gym time, cooking, and everything else. Everything in his life has a soundtrack and it’s playing on his headphones. But the exact thing that Aiden enjoys, the loud, immersive music, may be causing permanent harm to his hearing.
For your ears, there are healthy ways to listen to music and unsafe ways to listen to music. But the more dangerous listening option is frequently the one most of us use.
How does listening to music lead to hearing loss?
As time passes, loud noises can cause degeneration of your hearing abilities. We’re used to thinking of hearing loss as a problem associated with aging, but current research is discovering that hearing loss isn’t an inherent part of aging but is instead, the outcome of accumulated noise damage.
Younger ears that are still growing are, as it turns out, more vulnerable to noise-related damage. And yet, young adults are more likely to be dismissive of the long-term risks of high volume. So because of widespread high volume headphone usage, there has become an epidemic of hearing loss in young individuals.
Is there a safe way to listen to music?
Unregulated max volume is obviously the “hazardous” way to listen to music. But merely turning down the volume is a safer way to listen. The general recommendations for safe volumes are:
- For adults: No more than 40 hours of weekly listening on a device and keep the volume lower than 80dB.
- For teens and young children: You can still listen for 40 hours, but the volume should still be below 75dB.
About five hours and forty minutes a day will be about forty hours a week. That may seem like a lot, but it can go by rather rapidly. But we’re trained to keep track of time our entire lives so most of us are pretty good at it.
The harder part is keeping track of your volume. Volume isn’t measured in decibels on the majority of smart devices such as TVs, computers, and smartphones. Each device has its own arbitrary scale. Perhaps it’s 1-100. But maybe it’s 1-16. You may not have any idea how close to max volume you are or even what max volume on your device is.
How can you keep tabs on the volume of your tunes?
It’s not really easy to tell how loud 80 decibels is, but thankfully there are some non-intrusive ways to know how loud the volume is. Differentiating 75 from, let’s say, 80 decibels is even more perplexing.
So utilizing one of the many noise free monitoring apps is highly suggested. Real-time readouts of the noise around you will be obtainable from both iPhone and Android apps. In this way, you can make real-time adjustments while monitoring your actual dB level. Your smartphone will, with the correct settings, inform you when the volume goes too high.
As loud as a garbage disposal
Generally speaking, 80 dB is about as noisy as your garbage disposal or your dishwasher. That’s not too loud. It’s a significant observation because 80dB is about as much noise as your ears can handle without damage.
So pay close attention and try to stay away from noise above this volume. And limit your exposure if you do listen to music over 80dB. Maybe minimize loud listening to a song rather than an album.
Over time, loud listening will cause hearing issues. You can develop hearing loss and tinnitus. The more you can be aware of when your ears are going into the danger zone, the more informed your decision-making will be. And ideally, those decisions lean towards safer listening.
Still have questions about safe listening? Contact us to explore more options.