Loud Music in Your Earbuds Damages Hearing

Everybody likes to crank their favourite song, but listening to your iPod at full-blast could be doing irreparable damage to your hearing

Loud music in your earbuds could cause hearing damage

Rocking out to music is fun, just keep the volume down

Listening to loud music in your earbuds could cause hearing loss, so turn down the tunes

If you routinely wear earbuds to listen to music, then listen up. Playing music at a loud setting so close to your eardrum can seriously damage your hearing.

The eardrum and tiny bones of the inner ear amplify the vibrations of sound waves as they enter your ear. Small hair cells in the inner ear then convert these vibrations into nerve impulses, which the brain interprets as sound.

When the ear is exposed to excessive or repeated sound pressure, it damages these hair cells, reducing their ability to transmit sound to the brain. The result: noise-induced hearing loss with symptoms that include distorted or muffled sounds, ringing in the ears, or difficulty understanding speech.

Earbud Safety

Earbuds all perform differently, so there’s no ideal volume setting that can be recommended for everyone. However, there are ways to protect your hearing if you regularly use earbuds with your iPod or other electronic device:

  • Set the volume in a quiet setting.
  • Turn down the volume if you can’t hear people near you speaking.
  • Avoid cranking up the volume to block out noisy surroundings.
  • Limit the amount of time you use earbuds – especially at a high volume setting.

Your ears can adapt to higher volume settings over time, and the louder the volume, the sooner your hearing might be affected. The best way to protect your hearing is by limiting earbud use and turning down the volume.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.