Insert earphones, ear phones,headphones, Bluetooth devices–they're everywhere today–plugged into mobilephones, iPods, MP3 players, computers, tablets, and more. These are used bykids, teens and adults of all ages; and provide private listening in schools,gyms, at home, on the workplace–just about everywhere people spend time. Insertearphones are by far the most popular choice for listening–they're tiny andlight, fit into a pocket, and cost next to nothing.
Believe it or not, these little portable speakersare causing hearing damage at an alarming rate. In fact, studies show that 1 in5 Indian youngsters already suffer from hearing loss. What makes this even moredisturbing is that hearing loss is irreversible. And, the longer it goesunrecognized and untreated, the faster it progresses. Damaging your hearing inthis way is referred to as Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). Since we need ourears to continue enjoying audio, it is crucial to follow safety precautionswhen using earphones.
Noise–inducedhearing loss is generally caused by two types of noise: sudden, ear-splittingbursts, such as gunfire or fireworks; or ongoing exposure, such as factorynoise or loud music listened to over time. Ear buds are primarily used tolisten to music, and little thought is given to the amount of time worn, or atwhat level of volume. Currently, it's not unusual for people to listen to musicor the radio at high volumes for several hours per day.
How Does Noise Cause Hearing Loss?
The ear is made up of three parts that work together to processsounds: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. Part of theinner ear called the cochlea contains tiny hair cells. These hair cellshelp send sound messages to the brain. But loud noise can damagethe hair cells. When this happens, the cochlea can't relay soundmessages to the brain as well.
Unlike damage to other parts ofYour body, inner ear damage neverheals. Over time, as more and more hair cells get damaged, yourhearing will get worse and worse.
Noiseinduced hearing loss from using earbuds usually takes a while.Because it happens gradually, a lot of people don't know they have aproblem until it's too late.
Signs you may have hearing loss are:
· ringing, buzzing, or roaring in your ears after hearing a loud noise
· muffling or distortion of sounds
What should you do if you think you have signs of hearing loss? ConsultYour ENT Specialist. The doctor may examine you and send you to see anAudiologist. The audiologist
will most likely give you a series of tests to determinehow much your hearing has been affected.
How to Listen to Music on Your iPod or MP3Player
The small ear budstyle headphones (inserted into the ears) do not block outside sounds. Userstend to turn up the volume to block out other noise. So it is better to preferMuff Headphones over Earbuds style headphones to listen Music.
· Ask for“noise-cancelling” headphones, which reduce or eliminate background noise. Youcan listen to music at a softer volume, for a longer time.
Decrease theamount of time you use headphones. Follow the 60/60 rule when wearing ear buds.Keep your volume below 60%, and limit your listening to under 60 minutes perday.
· Here's anothertrick you can use to find out if your earbuds are at a safe volume: Ask peoplesitting near you if they can hear your music. If they can, it's a sign thatyour hearing is being damaged. Turn the volume down until other people can nolonger hear it.
· Hearing loss isn't the only problem that earbuds cancause. Listening to music at a loud volume can make you unaware of what's goingon around you. That increases your chances of an accident. If you're running ona bike path, for example, it's hard to hear a cyclist shout, "Headsup!" when your music drowns out all other sounds.
· Educate childrenand teenagers. Most have no idea that hearing doesn't come back once it's gone.