Don’t Let Your Headphones Cause Hearing Loss
These days you can’t turn around without seeing someone wearing headphones. Everyone uses them, from kids, to adults to grandparents. And with the advancements in MP3 players, iPods, smartphones and the like, we’re listening to them longer and louder than ever before.
Unfortunately, according to hearing experts, this is leading to hearing loss at a record level. Nearly 50 million Americans currently suffer some form of hearing loss, including 1 in 5 teens. The World Health Organization warns that over a billion teens and young adults worldwide are at risk of hearing loss.
According to pediatric Doctor James Foy of Vallejo California, the volume levels of today’s music players play a prominent role in the problem.
“Most MP3 players today can produce sounds up to 120 decibels, equivalent to a sound level at a rock concert. At that level, hearing loss can occur after only about an hour and 15 minutes.”
Noises over 85 decibels can cause hearing loss with extended exposure. Considering that normal conversational speech takes place at 60 decibels, that doesn’t leave much room for to maneuver.
Think of it this way, a lawn mower operates at around 100 decibels, as does a table saw. If you’ve ever operated either of these without ear protection you know that even just few minutes can leave your hearing affected for quite some time afterwards. Yet we often listen to music at even higher levels for much, much longer. Sometimes hours at a time. Day after day.
So how do I prevent hearing loss but still get to enjoy my music?
Most experts suggest using the “60/60” rule. Listen to your music at no more than 60% volume for no more than 60 minutes at a time.
This technique prevents decibel levels from reaching harmful levels. And since even lower decibel levels (85-90) can cause damage with extended exposure, the “60/60” rule allows you to give your ears a much needed break.
It’s also important to use premium earphones when listening to music. Cheaper earphones don’t sound all that great at lower levels, leading you to crank the volume just to hear your favorite songs.
Affect on Cyclists
So at earHero Sports we’re always talking about how we can help cyclists. We’re focused on providing high quality sound while improving rider safety on the roads. It’s just natural that we don’t want our customers to have to worry about hearing loss. After all, we’ve made no secret about how much rider safety relies on our ability to hear.
Luckily, earHero Sports earphones make it rather easy to implement the “60/60” rule.
In fact, the “bass bleed” effect we’ve talked about previously directly leads to a lower listening volume while using our earphones. You still get great sound quality from our balanced armature speakers, but since our earphones don’t seal off the ear canal, a portion of the sound “bleeds out” of the ear. This has the dual effect of allowing ambient noise in (increasing safety) and reducing the decibel level that reaches your inner ear.
As for the 60 minute part of the “60/60” rule, well that’s pretty easy. If you’re out riding for more than an hour, then give your ears a break mid-ride. Maybe you’re stopping for lunch. Maybe you can take out your earphones during rest stops. If not then just turn off the music for 10-15 minutes every hour or so. You can still enjoy the music you love while training and as an added bonus you get to keep your hearing!
As we’ve said many times before, the ability to hear what is going on around us is paramount to rider safety. While our favorite tunes can be important, and even beneficial during training, no one wants to trade in their ability to hear. So keep an ear out on your volume. Don’t listen for too long at once. And get your earHero earphones today![Photo Courtesy of CW39]