Hearing Loss caused by Earbuds

In Health and Safety by Elizabeth Shaw4 Comments

Earbuds

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There are not many people who would choose hearing aids as an accessory. They may not have not have a choice, if they don’t turn down their earbuds. Jyoti Bhayani, a certified audiologist at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital says,”Once hearing is damaged, it cannot be repaired…young people need to wise up and turn the volume down on their earbuds.

One in 10 Americans suffer from hearing loss that affects their ability to understand normal speech. While aging is the most common cause of hearing loss, being exposed to excessive noise can damage hearing in higher pitches. “Hearing loss due to excessive noise is totally preventable, unlike hearing loss due to old age or a medical condition,” Dr. Bhayani said.

Here are the registered levels for common sounds from an article on the News Medical website:

30 decibels – soft whisper
40 decibels – fridge humming
50 decibels – rain
60 decibels – normal conversation, computer typing
70 decibels – expressway traffic, riding in a car
85 decibels – earplugs recommended for prolonged exposure at this level
90 decibels – subway, lawnmower, shop tools
95 decibels – motorcycle
100 decibels – chainsaw, snowmobile, drill
110 decibels – power saw
110-120 decibels – listening to music with headphones if the volume is cranked up to the maximum setting (earbuds, such as those found with popular music-listening devices like MP3 and CD players, can add 6-9 dB to the volume)
115 decibels – loud rock concert, sandblasting, car horn
120 decibels – ambulance, airplane takeoff
130 decibels – race car
150 decibels – fireworks, jet engine takeoff
170 decibels – shotgun
*American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery

“I recommend using hearing protection devices for those who are exposed to excessive, loud noises and musician’s earplugs, which simply attenuate the intensity/loudness without altering frequency response,” says Dr. Bhayani.

There are three small bones in the middle ear that aid in transferring sound vibrations to the inner ear where they become nerve impulses that the brain interprets as sound.

“When noise is too loud, it begins to kill the hair cells and nerve endings in the inner ear,” Dr. Bhayani explained. “The louder a noise, the longer the exposure, and the closer you are to the noise source, the more damaging it is to your nerve endings, or your hearing.” The more nerve endings decrease due to damage, the worse your hearing gets. Damage to nerve endings in your ear cannot be healed or regenerated, and loud noise permanently kills nerve endings in the ear. “Three in five Americans, especially youth, are prone to develop hearing loss due to loud music being delivered via ear buds,” said Dr. Bhayani.

Here are a few summertime tips from Dr. Bhayani to help preserve your hearing:

  • Cover your ears: “Generic, over-the-counter earplugs are inexpensive and can be found at any drugstore,” Dr. Bhayani said. “However, they can be custom-made for comfort and durability. Buy earplugs now and keep them handy in wallets, backpacks, briefcases and purses so you can pop them in when noise is loud and continuous.” Dr. Bhayani also suggests using a scarf or even covering your ears with your hands to muffle sound.
  • Swimmer’s ear and cotton swabs: “Swimmer’s ear is caused by painful membrane swelling due to trapped moisture in the outer ear,” Dr. Bhayani said. “Multicolor customized plugs for swimming are available and a good investment to avoid painful, or costly, ear infections.” After swimming, Dr. Bhayani recommends tilting the head to drain water from each ear and gently wiping the outer ear with a towel. Do not use cotton-tipped swabs to clean ears. “Swabs can actually push wax or harmful material farther into ears, and many people use them improperly or too forcefully, which can cause pain or damage.”
  • The plane truth: Many air travelers complain about ear discomfort when the plane is taking off or landing. “Yawning, swallowing, chewing gum and sucking on hard candy also are effective in unplugging the ears,” Dr. Bhayani said. If yawning and swallowing are not effective, pinch the nostrils shut, take a mouthful of air, and direct the air into the back of the nose as if trying to blow the nose gently. This may have to be repeated several times during the plane’s descent.

In relation to ear buds, youth and adults alike need to be educated of the damage that can be caused by misuse. Youth need to be responsible when using ear buds and they need to realize that they can cause permanent damage that can lead to hearing loss.

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Source: Medical News

Elizabeth Shaw

Elizabeth Shaw

Elizabeth enjoys teaching and dancing as well as being a violinist in a local orchestra. She loves reading and writing materials that range everywhere from short stories and poetry to medical dictionaries and encyclopedias. She enjoys sharing her talent for the written word by being a regular contributor and test and training editor here at ProTrainings.

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