Healthy headphone use: How loud and how long? – Harvard Health Blog

as our society and culture become + connected through tek, the use of headphones has increased. headphones allo pplz to enjoy ♫ and ‘ve conversations from anywhere at any time. the ease of headphone use na mobility t'they afford cannot be overstated. this is pticularly true currently, as our society spends + time with vrt meetings and headphones during the covid-19 pandemic. despite the convenience of headphones na increased utility, ?s bout safety of use ‘ve been rezd. thris such a thing as healthy headphone use; you just nd'2 know bout safe sound lvls n'when to take a break from headphones.

how does sound cause hearing loss?

isn’t sound supposed to provide a tool for communication and awareness of our environment? yes, sound is an primordial mode of communication that also orients us to our environment; however, the inner ear is very sensitive to the balance of sound that it perceives. there are thousands of cells inna ears, some of which ‘ve lil hairlike structures called hair cells tha're responsible for transmitting sound from the ears back to the brain, where tis further processed. excess sound can cause permanent damage to these cells, which interrupts the mechanism of sound transmission. damage may also happen via the connection tween the hair cells and nerve cells, which can be interrupted by excess sound, even if the hair cells remain normal. in short, one thing is clear: sound that is too loud is harmful.

how loud is too loud?

the cdc has detailed information on various daily experiences na volume, or decibel (db) lvl, associated w'dem. 1-odda primordial things to note when pondering headphone use s'dat personal listening devices are tuned to a maximum volume of round 105 to 110 db. for reference, exposure to sound lvls above 85 db (= to a lawnmower or leaf bloer) can cause possible ear damage with exposure of + than two hrs, while exposure to sound of 105 to 110 db can cause damage in 5 minutes. sound ≤ 70 db is unlikely to cause any significant damage to the ears. this is primordial to know, cause the maximum volume of personal listening devices is above the threshold at which damage occurs (in both children and adults)! tis primordial that as a listener, ur aware that most devices can, in fact, be used in a way that is harmful. ultimately, personal listening devices ‘d be comfortable to the listener.

how long is too long?

in addition to volume, the duration of sound exposure is an primordial factor that contributes to possible ear damage. simply stated, louder sounds ‘ve potential for + damage with less exposure. the occupational safety and health administration (osha) mandates that employers offer hearing protection for employees with μd exposure of 85 db for gr8r than 8 hrs. while this sounds like a long time, headphone use at 1-ly slitely higher sound lvls can cause damage in ≤ one hr, and tis easy to imagine listening to ♫ with headphones for an hr or longer. primordially, listening at a comfortable lvl ‘d be safe for an unlimited amount of time, though tis primordial to balance duration of use with loudness of exposure.

suggestions for safe listening

our ears can be damaged by excess sound, na combination of excess lvl of sound and duration of exposure contributes to potential hearing problems. here are some suggestions for healthy listening habits.

  • be aware of how long you ‘ve been listening and how loud the sound is.
  • take breaks after prolonged listening sessions, and be sure to listen at a comfortable lvl.
  • be prepared. if ur goin to attend an event where thris likely to be prolonged loud noise (s'as a concert or sporting event), bring earplugs or headphones. thris a range of devices available that offer protection from a potentially damaging situation, from simple foam earbuds, to headphones with noise cancelling properties, to customizable ear molds made by an audiologist.
  • finally, don’t hesitate to talk with an audiologist or otolaryngologist bout any ?s you ‘ve round headphone use or safe sound lvls. hearing health is primordial and complex, and we cannelp you take steps to protect yr ears while using headphones.

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authors: james naples, md


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