Quick Answer: Yes, headphones can be bad for your ears if you don't use them properly, and don't take the proper steps to protect your hearing.
Most people would agree that listening to things at a loud volume can be damaging to your hearing.
The question is... how loud you can have your volume before it's considered dangerous to your ears?
Unfortunately, listening to loud music close to your ear may increase your risk of hearing loss. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported findings from a study held in 2011 that the use of headphones and earphones had led to an increase in the prevalence of hearing loss, especially in young adults and adolescents. So what can you do to protect yourself from hearing loss?
How Loud Noises Affect Cause Hearing Loss
The fact that you wear headphones very close to your ear is one of the main factors contributing to hearing damage. However, the primary cause of hearing loss when using headphones is using them at high volumes.
Sound waves cause the eardrum in our ears to vibrate. The vibrations are then transmitted to the inner ear reaching the cochlea. Thousands of small hairs are found in the cochlea. Since it is filled with fluid, it causes the tiny hairs to move.
When using your headphones at high volumes, it increases the movement of these hairs. This may cause harm to your ear and make the hair lose their sensitivity to vibration. Sometimes the cells fail to recover hence leading to lasting hearing loss.
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What Are Some of The Signs of Hearing Loss?
Headphones may damage your hearing without showing any obvious signs. Its effects are usually cumulative and gradual and will hence require a medical examination and a hearing test to determine whether your hearing is affected and to which extent. However, most symptoms of noise induced hearing loss may include:
- Difficulty in hearing and understanding people in places with poor acoustics and in noisy places
- Buzzing, hissing, roaring or ringing in the ear.
- A feeling that your ear is plugged
- Hearing muffled sounds
- Watching TV or listening to the radio at a high volume than usual
If you experience any of the symptoms, experts recommend that you see a physician immediately.
How To Prevent Hearing Loss When Using Headphones
Avoiding noise induced hearing loss is not difficult. It requires behavioral changes concerning the use of headphones. Here are a few ways you can minimize hearing damage.
Regulate the volume
Ensure that the volume from your earphones or headphones and other gadgets such as the TV is low. You can also acquire headphones that have a separate volume control to regulate the volume easily. Additionally, it would be best if you set a volume limit.
Limit your exposure
In addition to turning down the volume, you can also try to reduce the damage caused to your ears by planning your listening time. Also, you can take breaks between listening sessions. A ten-minute break after every 60 minutes will significantly reduce the risk of induced hearing loss.
Taking preventative measures against ear problems is essential. Unfortunately, some people may never heal completely from headphone–related noise. There are ways, however, to make your hearing better. Be conscious of the amount of noise you expose yourself to, and if your hearing is impaired, seek professional assistance on the hearing aid to acquire.