It has become a common habit to wear a pair or earbuds everyday. These personal audio devices can be used to extend your body, whether you are listening to music, watching a podcast, or even participating in virtual meetings.
They are very convenient. They allow you to multitask and are hands-free.
They may increase your risk of hearing loss.
The Acoustical Society of America has released new analysis that shows high levels of loud noise (70 decibels and more) can increase the risk of hearing loss. This is similar to a vacuum cleaner, music, television, or passing cars going 65 mph.
The study also showed that those who use headphones or earbuds are most likely to lose their hearing later in life.
While some hearing loss can be expected with age, it is not uncommon for people to experience severe or significant hearing loss. Experts believe it is noise-induced when it is severe.
Not all hearing loss is caused by noise exposure. Research suggests that hearing loss may be linked to cognitive decline, dementia and other risk factors.
JAMA Neurology published a study in 2011 that found people with mildly impaired hearing were twice as likely as those without. People with moderate hearing loss may increase their risk of developing dementia by three-fold, while those with severe hearing impairment are five times more likely.
Prevention is the best way to prevent hearing loss. These are some tips to help protect your hearing and mental health.
Maintain a moderate volume:When listening to music, keep volume levels below 70 dB. Modern smartphones can track volume via “health” apps. You can see how loud your listening volume is.
You can also test the volume by taking your headphones or buds off and listening to music. Then, hold the headphones in front of you. If it is too loud, you will know it.
Use a sound meterSometimes it might be harder to find the volume on your TV or radio. A sound meter smartphone application can be downloaded for free. To learn the volume, simply download an app.
Keep your windows shut.To block noises from construction and traffic on busy streets, keep your windows shut or install double-paned windows.
Be aware of any hearing loss and take immediate action. Cognitive decline is less likely if it is treated and recognized early.