“Do not listen to music all day with headphones. It will lower your hearing ability!” We believe you might have heard this multiple times from multiple people. And you probably have ignored that till now. But is that really the case? Are headphones harmful to ears?
Well, it is finally time for you to know the reality. In this article, we are going to offer you an answer to that through the knowledge that we have gained through intensive research. Additionally, you will get to know about the other factors that are related to it.
How Does Noise Cause Hearing Loss?
Before we get to the main topic that is in our hands, we would like you to know the relation between noise and hearing loss. Our ear works like wonders. There is no microphone or any other device to pick up sound, but it still can pick up soundwaves and make it reach our brains.
There are three main parts that come into play in the case of receiving the soundwaves and making them intelligible for us. They are the inner ear, the middle ear, and lastly, the outer ear. The inner ear contains the cochlea, which has tiny hair cells. These are responsible for sending the soundwaves to the brain.
However, loud noises can damage these hairs. These are so thin that a burst of sound can make them move too much. And when they move too much, the cells become damaged. After that, the overall structure becomes jeopardized, which eventually causes hearing loss.
Unlike the other body parts, these hairs can not recover from the damages. That means once the cells get damaged, they are going to stay like that till the end of your life. And things can take a massive turn in terms of the hearing capability if too many of the cells get damaged.
Can Headphones Cause Hearing Loss?
You might have thought that the things that your elders say about headphones were not true. In reality, they are true, but to some extent. Headphones can be one of the reasons behind hearing loss. But how?
The same case that makes people lose their hearing capability when they stay in a loud environment for a long amount of time goes for the headphones as well. Most of the headphones or earbuds hold the ability to create a proper seal in the ears. That seal generally isolates the ear from the outer environment.
And that outside noise isolation can enhance the overall frequencies of the sounds that the headphones create. So, if you listen to your favorite song in a loud volume for a long period of time, you will notice that it will become hard for you to focus on a conversation. You will find it hard to capture some words.
Well, that the first sign that you will notice when the hair cells get damaged a bit. And if you continue this for a long period of time, eventually, you will suffer from a massive hearing loss.
What are Early Signs of hearing Loss?
Now that you know a bit about the relationship between hearing loss and loud sounds, you would want to know about the signs that will indicate the phenomenon, right? Well, those are as follows:
Distortion and Muffling of Sounds
After the hair cells get damaged, the first thing that you will notice is that some of the sounds will become unintelligible for you. You might have to listen to things repeatedly to fully capture all of the words that are being said, like conversations.
Ringing, Roaring, and Buzzing
Even had the feeling that you feel like the ears are ringing a bit. Well, that is the first case that a loud soundwave has entered your ear canal and caused a bit of damage. If the same thing occurs multiple times, roaring and buzzing are going to tag along.
However, noise-induced hearing loss will take a while. The damage happens gradually. And a lot of the people will not be able to acknowledge the damage until it is too late. For that reason, if you can understand that you are going to suffer from hair loss in the future, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
The audiologists are basically going to give you a series of tests that will determine the amount of damage caused. And through that, they will come up with a solution. But do note that the damage caused in the hair cells is irreversible. Once the integrity of the cells is lost, they are gone forever.
How to Prevent Hearing Loss From Headphones?
Listening to music is something that we can not give up that easily. However, there are some things that you can follow to prevent hearing loss without having to give up listening to music through headphones and earphones. They are as follows:
Tune the Volume Down
You might have already noticed that your phone is giving you warnings when you bump the volume high. Well, the warnings are not there for nothing. The phone manufacturers know the relation between hearing loss and extremely high sounds. And that is why they have integrated a safety measure in the software.
Nevertheless, whenever you are listening to something with a headphone, make sure that you do not cross the 60 percent volume mark. That should be the maximum volume when you are listening to music, watching a movie, or in a phone call.
Lower Down the Usage Period
Another thing that you can do to prevent hearing damage is to lower the usage period of the headphone. As these can isolate the noise around you, you should not wear the headphones for more than 60 minutes.
In conclusion of whether are headphones harmful to ears, the answer would be yes. But only if you use them at a volume higher than 60 percent and longer than 60 minutes. If you keep the 60-60 checked, you would not have to worry about it one bit.