How can headphones damage your hearing?

Technology has been changing our lives since ages. Headphones and earphones that go over our ears are the two most common gadgets people use in their daily lives.

Listening via headphones with loud sound for longer periods thrills but could impose many potential health risks.

How do headphones harm hearing?

The ear consists of three parts which work together to help us hear and maintain the balance of the body. These three parts are called outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. The cochlea, a part of inner ear contains hair cells (stereocilia) which send sound messages or signals to the brain. Turning the volume up in headphones and listening to it for extended periods can damage hair cells in the cochlea. Unfortunately, damage to the inner ear cannot be healed.

When your headphones are in your ears, the risk of losing hearing ability mainly depends on three factors which are volume, the length of time used and how often you use. Longtime exposure to high volumes through earphones poses a risk of hearing loss. Using headphones whole day and raising the volume more than 90 decibels is not at all advised.

Dr. Vishnu TS, Audiologist, Apollo Clinic Marathahalli, Bengaluru explains that the hearing loss caused due to excessive noise exposure is referred as “Noise-induced hearing loss.” As the progression of hearing loss is gradual, noticing the signs can be difficult but can be diagnosed through medical examination and hearing test. Buzzing in the ear, plugged ears and difficulty in understanding speech are the expected signs of hearing damage.

Tips to prevent hearing damage:

  • Avoid continuous and long-time exposure to loud noises.
  • Do not hear loud noises (exceeding 90 decibels) for more than 2-3 hours.
  • Go for high-quality earphones in which quality of the audio is convenient and precise.
  • Do not use headphones while traveling as outside disturbing noises make you turn up the volume which is harmful to your ears.

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