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Earbuds harmful for hearing

Scientists have discovered that earbuds are damaging to the ears

by BETHANY CHAN       

Staff Writer/ Layout

   Since the invention of the earbuds, audiologists have discovered that they have been damaging the hearing of music listeners for many years.

  Wendy Leopold, a writer for “Observer Online,” says that audiologists began cautioning lovers of loud music in the ‘80s about hearing loss due to the result of listening to their electronics.

  According to statistics, this kind of hearing loss is found more frequently in younger people or young adults who want to block out all other sounds, except for their music.

  Leopold says, “Not only are earbuds placed directly into the ear, they can boost the sound signal by as much as six to nine decibels.”

  The extended battery life and larger memory of music devices has encouraged people to listen to music for longer periods of time, increasing the possibility of hearing loss at a younger age.

  Dean Garstecki, a Northwestern audiologist and professor, advises people to use the 60 percent/60 minute rule. 

  He recommends that music listeners should not listen to their music devices for more than about an hour everyday.  When they do listen to them, they should put the volume below 60 percent of the maximum volume.

  The usage of older style larger headphones that rest over the ear openings are highly suggested because they allow listeners to listen safely while blocking out other sounds.  Although these older styles may not be able to completely cancel all the noise, they are much safer than blasting music directly into one’s ears.

  However, there are noise-cancelling headphones that omit background noises.  Therefore, music lovers do not feel the need to escalate the volume to the point of permanently harming their hearing even more.

  Depending on people’s preferences and choices, they can either damage their hearing so they are almost deaf, or they can preserve their hearing and listen safely, even if it means using the biggest, weirdest looking headphones.

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