Hearing loss from headphones

   preventing_hearing_loss_inside.jpgWalking around campus or even anywhere where lots of adolescents are, it's easy to spot tons of headphones.  There are various types of headphones that adolescents wear today, including Dr. Dre beats or just the simple kind that Apple provides with IPhones or IPods.  It's a common occurrence to hear parents demanding their children to turn down their music, regardless if they are listening through speakers or individual headphones.  However, could listening to music too loudly through headphones really cause damage to the ears?
    According to <a href="http://www.osteopathic.org/osteopathic-health/about-your-health/health-conditions-library/general-health/Pages/headphone-safety.aspx">Osteophathic</a> , 1 in 5 teens now suffer from some sort of hearing loss, a rate that has risen almost 30% from the 1980s and 1990s.  Some may question that is increasing rate is strictly from headphones; most experts and doctors believe that the dependent use of headphones is one of the predominant causes.  Dr. Foy states, "Listening through headphones at a high volume for extended periods of time can result in lifelong hearing loss for children and teens.  Even a mild hearing loss due to excessive noise could lead to developmental delays in speech and language".  
    One may ask, how loud do I have to listen to music to get to that point?  Well, most common MP3 players can produce music up to 120 decibels, which is almost equivalent to music produced at some rock concerts.  It is suggested that if one can't hear anything going on around them when listening through their headphones, the decibel is way too high and it's necessary to turn down the music.  Dr. Foy advises people not to listen to music any higher than 60% of the maximum music volume when listening through headphones.
   Also, it's not just the volume level that could potentially cause damage.  Believe it or not, but the length of time you listen to MP3 players also plays a major role.  It is suggested that one should not listen to music through headphones any longer than 60 minutes per day.  The higher the volume, the shorter the increments of time should be.  If someone is listening to their music at maximum volume, only 5-10 minutes is seriously suggested.
    Here is a video of a study done by Harvard University and Vanderbilt University researchers, proving the increasing number of young people suffering from hearing loss:  <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LV8_rOhAGxA&feature=related">Hearing Loss Rising Among Adolescents A</a> .  This video not only explains how the damage is caused but shows a hearing test of a common American teenager and how listening to his headphones so loudly has caused serious damage to his ears.  
    The symptoms of hearing loss are almost self-explanatory:
  • Ringing, roaring, hissing, or buzzing in the ear
  • Trouble understanding speech in loud environments or places with poor acoustics
  • Muffled sound or a feeling that one's ears are plugged
  • Having to increase volume on things such as the television, computer, and headphones in order to hear better
Girl-with-headphones2.jpgOverall, it is a smart idea to stop listening to music so loud when enjoying music in general, especially through headphones.  Some think it may be a myth that headphones can really cause hearing loss, but tests have proven that it really is a possibility. 


I completely agree with the idea that the overuse of headphones can cause hearing problems in teens. However, couldn't hearing loss be attributed to other things such as cell phone use, volunteering as a firefighter, and the overuse of television at loud volumes? I know this might seem a bit silly, but as a generation, we have a lot of members who volunteer as firefighters (which often are affected by the intense volume of the sirens), we watch a lot of television (much more so than our parents generation did), and we talk on our cell phones as well (regardless of the fact that texting has taken on a life of it's own). In one article, http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/12812/1/How-to-Prevent-Hearing-Loss.html that I read, it listed affects that could be leading to health problems and how to prevent them. It even listed a couple of the things I mentioned above. All in all, thank you for writing this blog, I have always wondered how my headphone use would affect my hearing in the future.

on a personal note, I have damaged my hears so much from this cause i blast my headphones all of the time and listen to music for more than an hour. but, this has encoruaged me to take care of my ears more because i don't want serious damage conflicted. also, does the type of material play a major factor? like the way that the Dr . Dre headphones are made does that cause less damage cause maybe the material suppresses the passing of the frequencies/? just something I thought about

I need to forward this blog to my 15 year old brother ASAP because he's convinced that my family is crazy when we tell him he's ruining his hearing. He listens to his music at the maximum volume constantly throughout the day. At this point sometimes we'll say things and he won't hear us as well as other people in the room and we blame his headphones. We also have to tell him to lower his voice when talking time to time because he just starts screaming at people. Headphones can seriously cause hearing damage and I'm lucky I saw it happen to him before I could let it happen to myself. I'm not big on using headphones much because I usually walk to classes with friends but I see people walking around campus with them in and they can't hear anyone yell their name. It makes the people trying to talk to them look stupid but I suppose they just need their musical fix before and after class!

This is so relatable. My sister always blasts her music so loud I can hear her music through her ear phones even though I may have my ear phones in too. Some people listen to music to block out the noise around them. Music puts some people in a different world when they are trying to avoid the one they are in already. This article is about teens going deaf since the beginning of ear phones such as when CD players were out. http://www.pamf.org/teen/health/diseases/mp3hearing.html

Some people even buy the skull candy ear phones that can reach volumes louder than one can imagine. How do we stop this? The deaf rate could possibly increase within the next century all because of kids who play their music way too loud. How loud do you play your music? I usually do what the article says and keep my volume no louder than 60% as loud as it can go. Do you feel that sometimes you think you may have gone deaf after a concert or after you listen to music?

After reading your post, I looked up more about the ringing that happens in peoples ears. After listening to particularly loud music or sounds like concerts, airplanes engines, or loud music in headphones, ears often experience tinnitus. Tinnitus is the ringing that we have all experienced before, it is just the term to describe the buzzing and ringing sounds we hear in our ears. I used to believe this was just a harmless aftermath of loud noises, however this isn't the case. Tinnitus is a sign of possible hearing loss, because the nerve cells in the inner ear have experienced repeated trauma , and should always be taken seriously.

I've really enjoyed reading your post and it caused me to reflect on how much and how loudly I listen to music on average. It's also brought up the question of whether the benefits of listening to music (relaxation, entertainment, or motivation) outweigh the possible harms. I personally think they do. I've also decided to look up how serious the tinnitus we experience after concerts or parties truly is. According to an article from Medical News Today it's not actually harmful and isn't a really a possible cause of hearing loss, however, I did find it interesting that some people believe it to be associated with depression which would be an interesting topic for a blog.

In one of my classes we are talking about how the volume of music in production is getting higher over the years. For example, a popular song today will sound a lot louder than a song from, say, the 60's or 70's. Everything in the recording studio is mixed at a louder volume, therefore to hear detail in music through headphones (who wouldn't right?) we need to turn up the volume on our personal headphones which is causing hearing damage. In my personal opinion, Apple ear buds are just terrible at isolating and to another person it may sound like it's too loud but to the person wearing the headphones it is not. I'm not sure if this is true, but I have also heard that the external headphones are better for long term hearing retention rather than ear buds like the ones Apple provides.

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