Everyday, more and more our ears are subjected to noise from traffic, horns, sirens and all other noises in the city; if you add to this the frequent and prolonged use of headphones and earbuds, especially to listen to music at a very high volume, the risk of losing your hearing is much higher. Actually, are earbuds and headphones harmful to your hearing? Within few words, yes they harm your hearing! but lets discover how.
Premature hearing loss: a widespread phenomenon
Dr. Luca Malvezzi, specialist in the Otolaryngology Operating Unit at the Humanitas Clinical Institute, specifies some data to explain the possible seriousness of these behaviours.
All these noises we hear can be serious for our ears. To make a comparison on what is happening today, many students suffer from myopia. This is because reading hundreds of pages a day from middle school to PhDs, you stress your eyesight. In addition, we have to add the amount of time we spend in front of computers and smart phones. Same thing happens with hearing.
In fact, this is something very common between youngsters. People who lives in industrialized and noisy cities, reduction of the hearing is very common.
The incidence of the use of headphones and earbuds on the other hand is not insignificant. In fact, listening to music with excessive volume represents a continuous auditory stress that can lead to premature hearing loss. Unfortunately there is an increase of these cases more than in the past.
Therefore, a periodic check-up by the otolaryngologist is necessary, not only when hearing loss is felt.
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Too many decibels are bad
Often when you are in public or on public transport, you use headphones to enjoy the music and to isolate yourself and exclude the other external sounds. Doing this tends to recklessly increase the volume, which easily exceeds 80-100 decibels.
To compare, 110-120 decibels are the sound produced by active chainsaw or of a taking off jet. The sound of human voice reaches an average of 30-40 decibels and we can hear it. So, at this same intensity you could also safely listen to music.
Indeed, European Union has commissioned a study to impose limits on the supply of sounds. However, before these regulations are released, it is advisable to adjust the volume of your devices according not to damage your hearing.
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Headphones are better than earbuds
In general, headphones are still preferable over earbuds. Headphones are external to the ears and therefore the sound, if not too loud. It is less traumatic for the eardrum membrane. On the contrary, the earbuds are placed directly inside the auricle and there is high risk of damaging the eardrum. The reason is the source of the sound is in direct or almost direct contact with the eardrum; and there is an additional risk, there is possibility of passing infections to your ears. As your earbuds are almost have direct contact with your eardrum, it is much riskier. So, be careful on what you are using. What we suggest is that, use headphones when you are in need of music or listen to something. But of course, don’t use them excessively because they may hurt your hearing through years.