Hearing is certainly a very important sense to have. It helps you to know what is going on around you, which is knowledge that keeps you safe. Losing your sense of hearing, even over time, can cause serious problems. Understandably, loud, sudden noises like explosions can cause hearing issues, but did you know that something as mundane as listening to loud music can also damage your hearing?
How Do We Hear?
There are several structures inside the ear that contribute to how well you hear. The fluid-filled cochlea transmits the vibrations from your ear along the auditory nerve to the brain. Also inside the cochlea, there are thousands of tiny hairs that pick up high frequencies. At the top edge of each hair, there are structures called stereocilia, which can be bent or broken by high-volume sounds. If too many of those stereocilia die, your hearing suffers.
How Loud is too Loud?
According to Medline Plus, standard headphones emit 110 decibels at full volume- the same as a working chainsaw. Some experts suggest keeping your music at 60 decibels; others go as high as 80. Either way, they suggest limiting exposure to around 60 minutes at one time.
With differing opinions on the exact volume, it’s nice to know that determining if your music is too loud can be fairly simple.
A good rule of thumb is to take your headphones off and hold them at an arm’s length. Keep the volume at your preferred level. If you can still hear your music, clearly or otherwise, it’s too loud. If you’re sitting next to someone and they can hear your music, it’s also too loud.
How to Protect Your Hearing
There are ways to protect your hearing, especially for avid music listeners. In addition to those suggestions mentioned above, you can look for a pair of safe earphones. In-ear earphones allow you to lower the volume because they put the music closer to your cochlea. If you’re looking for a set of earphones that isn’t obvious, earHero may have a pair that’s just right.