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Turn the Volume Down and Tune in to the Risk of Hearing Loss from Music

 |  General


Long-term exposure to loud recreational sounds can damage the inner ear cells, causing hearing loss. Unfortunately, many people do not embrace this reality, especially the tweens, teens, and Millennials who are addicted to their music gadgets.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that over 466 million people globally have hearing loss. What’s more alarming is that this figure is expected to rise to 900 million by 2050.

Now is time to turn the volume down and tune in to the dangers of hearing loss from music.

How Does Hearing Loss from Music Happen?

Loud music can damage the cells of the cochlea (inner ear). A short blast of music or long-term exposure to loud music can accelerate hearing loss. Subsequently, listening to loud music for a long time can overwork membranes and hair cells of the cochlea, causing permanent damage. As you continue to expose your ears to loud noises, hearing loss also progresses, eventually affecting the hearing of some sound frequencies. As a result, you will not be able to hear clearly or hold conversations in noisy environments.

Turning the Volume Down – How Loud Is Too Loud?

The planet has become a noisy place. While most sounds are safe, loud sounds that last for a long time are unsafe to listen to. This is because the louder (and longer) you play your music, the more damage it causes to your hearing system. The condition when one receives damage to the fragile hair cells is known as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

Both kids and adults are at risk of developing NIHL. The CDC (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) indicates that approximately 40 million Americans aged between 20 and 69 have NIHL. Therefore, everyone needs to practice healthy hearing habits.

Typically, sound is measured in decibels (dBA). Sounds below 70 decibels (dBA) can be safe for hearing. However, repeated exposure to noises above 85 decibels can lead to hearing loss over time. The recommended dBA ratings for common sounds are:

  • 60 – 70 decibels for normal conversations
  • 80 – 100 decibels for lawnmowers
  • 94 – 110 decibels for sports events
  • 110 – 129 decibels for sirens from emergence motor vehicles
  • 140 – 160 decibels for fireworks

Safe Listening Habits to Try

NIHL can be prevented by practicing safe listening habits recommended by the WHO. These habits may include:

  • Limit time spent listening to loud music – Cut the duration your ears are exposed to loud music. You can do this by taking short listening breaks, moving away from noisy venues, and limiting the use of your personal audio gadgets.
  • Keep the volume low – Maintain a recommended safe volume level of 85 dBA or lower.
  • Use noise-canceling headphones – These headphones can cancel background noise, allowing you to listen to your music at a lower level.
  • Monitor listening levels – With smartphone technology, you can use apps to measure your noise exposure levels and learn your risks of NIHL.
  • Get regular check-ups – Going for regular check-ups can help identify the signs of hearing loss early and prevent it.

When to Speak to a Doctor About Hearing Loss from Music or Other Loud Noises

Common signs to know your audio has been playing too loudly for a prolonged time include pain in your ears, an urge to turn up the volume, ringing, hissing, or buzzing sound in your ear, difficulty hearing in loud venues. If you experience any of these concerns, it is time to speak to a doctor about your hearing loss from loud noises.

Contact Bayless Integrated Healthcare for Hearing Help

If you suspect that you are experiencing hearing loss, don’t hesitate to contact the primary care physicians at Bayless Healthcare to discuss your hearing habits in a wellness checkup. Schedule an appointment today to get started.