Are you a lover of music? Do you like to shut all other sounds and enjoy the rhythm of that great song play all day? Do you know that the constant use of earphones can deteriorate one’s hearing?
If you’re the type that loves listening to music each day with your ears shut, then this article is for you.
Let’s Understand How the Ears work!
Hearing allows one to identify and recognize objects based on the sound they produce. We hear because of the vibrations that reach our ears. These vibrations are sound waves which the brain interprets as signals, making them recognizable and understandable.
People with normal hearing function can tolerate noises of up to 85-95 before they experience sensitivity. According to goggle, a decibel is a unit used to measure the intensity of a sound or the power level of an electrical signal by comparing it with a given level on a logarithmic scale. In plain language, it is how long or high a tone is.
Our hearing function can be damaged when exposed to loud noises. In fact, anything over 90 decibels could cause hearing loss. People with normal hearing function will typically find very loud noises uncomfortable.
How the Earphones Affects the Ear
How often do you use your earphones? Or how loud do you turn on the volume each time you use them?
Yes we use our earphones often, and let’s face it, everyone loves to listen to their best jam on a high volume!
The bad news is that listening to loud noise or music through earbuds can damage the tiny hair cells in your inner ear that recognize sounds and carry them to your brain. Over time, this can cause permanent loss of hearing.
Loud sounds are particularly harmful to the inner ear (cochlea). A one-time exposure to extreme loud sound or listening to loud sounds for a long time can cause temporary damages to our hearing or permanent hearing loss (noise-induced hearing loss).
Hair cells are the sensory receptors in the inner ear that detect sound and head motion to begin the processes of hearing and balance control. They collect and relay sound information. The hair cells bend in response to sounds.
When exposed to loud noises, the hair cells become flattened resulting in short-term hearing loss. Usually though, they will regain their shape within two days. Long-term exposure to loud sounds, however, will result in permanent hearing loss because they cannot be regenerated, and the hair cell has been bent severely.
Once damaged, your auditory nerve and cilia cannot be repaired.
Let’s use it the right way
According to research, it is recommended that you should use earphones for 1 hour in a day on 60% volume. But for your ear protection you should follow some precautions also. Damaged hair cells must be compensated for with the use of hearing aids or cochlear implants. There is also no current therapy for damaged vestibular (balance) hair cells.
So What Safety Measures Can Be Taken?
- Never share your earbuds/earpiece/earphone/headsets. It is good to be generous to close pals or family, but this is unhealthy. This is because the earbuds covers the outlet for the earwax, but also locks in moisture and heat, which is a breathing ground for bacteria, fungi, etc., causing ear infections.
- The louder the volume, the shorter your duration should be.
- Make sure to disinfect, clean or wipe the earphones on a regular basis. Better yet, change them regularly.
- Avoid dumping your earpiece on various surfaces. We tend to drop them on the bed, table, bags, etc. it could pick up germs from these surfaces. They can be kept safely in a case.
- Invest in quality earphones.
When you want to insert the earpiece into the ear, don’t use force instead do it gently and make sure it is properly sealed so it don’t affect the ear canal. And make sure your music is not too loud.