If you’re anything like me, you love music. In fact, I used to be one of those people who said, “the louder the better!” Not anymore. These days I lose my hearing in one ear or both ears, several times a day. I also experience what is known as Tinnitus (ringing in the ears of varying intensity).
Have you ever wondered how to protect your hearing when listening to music, or found yourself staring down the long electronics aisle feeling overwhelmed? Yup, me too! Seriously, you are not alone. So, what can people like me do to preserve our hearing abilities?
Basically, loud noise is loud noise. So the question then becomes: is there a difference between headphones and earbuds when it comes to preventing hearing loss? This is a long-argued issue: the earbuds vs. headphones debate presents questions pertaining to sound quality, listening experience, and of course hearing health. What style – earbud or headphone – should you be using to protect your hearing?
Noise Induced Hearing Loss
Sadly, both earbuds and headphones have the ability and certainly capacity to damage your hearing. This is the real answer. So what can music lovers like me do to get the best of both worlds? You simply MUST turn down the volume.
Of course, common sense tells us that volume level and length of exposure is more important impactful in terms of hearing loss when compared to the listening device. Although being at work around loud noises, or on the street with public noise pollution can also cause noise-induced hearing loss, another leading cause of noise-induce hearing loss is excessive use of personal listening devises with earbuds or headphones BLASTING loud sounds right into your ears. Check this out: If you listen to your device at full volume for five minutes with headphone or earbuds in, you have likely cause permanent hearing damage to your ears.
Noise-induced hearing loss has become a major public health issue over the last decade or more. These statistics are not only about earbuds and headphones, this also includes excessive and damaging sounds around us like sirens, heavy equipment, traffic, and even concerts.
In the end, saving your hearing abilities comes back to decibel (dB) level sound exposure. Softer sounds, whether from earbuds or headphones, don’t damage your hearing. These are the lower decibel sounds.
What does damage your hearing are the loud sounds registering higher than 85 decibels. The longer you listen and the louder you crank up the volume, the more you will damage your hearing! It is truly that simple. Damaging sounds include subway trains (90dB), gunshots (100dB), jackhammers (130dB) and jet plane engines (140dB), among others….
Which is better for long-term Hearing Health: Earbuds or Headphones?
Both earbuds and headphones present the risk of high decibel levels and long exposure of noise being funneled into your ears. However, earbuds are actually more likely to cause damage. Why? Well, since earbuds sit directly inside your ear and are very close to the ear canal, they actually increase the volume of sound by around 9 decibels. Headphones sit outside the ear, so there is less natural amplification of sound.
Headphones don’t save your hearing, Lower volume does.
Even though headphones are better for your hearing health compared to earbuds, getting a good pair of headphones doesn’t mean you can forget about your hearing health and volume levels. It is important to remember that no one should wear headphones longer than 60 minutes at 60% volume. It’s called the 60-60 rule (this helps to make sure that volume levels or prolonged exposure lessens damage to your hearing).
Wondering if you have already cause noise-induced hearing loss? Call us to schedule a free, no-obligation hearing screening (401) 921-0181. We’ll walk you through the screening, assess your results and explain the results to you. If you show a potential hearing loss, we can discuss hearing health options and provide hearing loss counseling at no charge as well.