As we know, most things in the world that we subject our bodies to for long periods of time may damage us in some way, ear damage is a typical example of this. Whether you work in the construction industry, are a gardener or just enjoy going to concerts or football matches, then it is possible that the decibels being omitted from these places of work and enjoyment could be bad for our ears.
But please, don’t let this be a note on what you can and can’t do, should or should not be afraid of. Yes the experts say that these places may cause damage to our hearing and could have an effect on the long term. But it all comes down to how you handle the situation. There are ways to subdue the decibel count, such as with construction it is mandatory that when using your heavy machinery, you must wear ear plugs. It is common sense.
Ear Damage can come just as easy from headphones!
I have saw a lot of questions around the Internet that ask about – Could noise cancelling headphones cause ear damage? Other questions I have saw over the search engines are about – in ear headphones. Do they cause damage to your ears due to the simple fact that they are designed to sit right inside your ear canal?
Now how do we look at these types of questions? To be honest I don’t think we can. I have been looking over many pages and trying different types of searches to try and find the best results. Some people say that they do, some people say that they won’t. Some people that provide the information quote from sources, others are just people replying to topics on a particular forum. That can be the problem sometimes, there are too many people trying to answer the same question!
I hear good news on Bose’s Acoustic Quiet Comfort Headphones, where a user who wears them over long periods of time each day, never experiences any problems with his hearing. But that is just one persons experience which we can’t justify anything from. Some people go on about how active noise cancellation headphones are more reliable than passive noise cancellation headphones. Again this is all just preference. An individuals set experience.
When talking about the in ear headphone buds, I see topics from people saying that the reason they can induce hearing loss is because of how the buds are placed inside your ear canals. On one forum I found a post and which I quote form -
‘Although my friend recommend to me that I not buy them. He says that in the ear headphones “hollow out your ear canal due to vibrations directly against your canal lining” Also “close exposure to high db will also ruin your ear drums.”
I really want to know if this is true or not?’
The first part of this is not true, as sound is vibration, your ears would be hollowed out by now, from what goes on around you on a daily basis. Although the second point made by this gullible forum users friend defiantly has some truth about it! As we should all know exposure to high decibel rates over long periods of time will definitely induce some damages towards your ear drums! You should be cautious with your in ear headphones as with the lack “body bass” can encourage people to turn up their volume to some dangerous levels.
So what do the experts say on ear damage?
NIOSH – The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health states that a decibel range of 85 exposed to your ears for a time period of greater than 8 hours a day could result in hearing loss. Also for each additional 3 dB the exposure time will be cut in half – for example if it became 88 dB then your time would be cut to 4 hours of listening; 91 dB would be 2 hours of listening, and so on.
But please realize that many people who listen to their mp3 players will undoubtedly have them playing much louder than 85 dB. Your noise cancelling headphones will theoretically reduce the risk of ear damage as they reduce the noise from the external sources around you. Meaning you can hear your headphones clearly without having to boost your level of music over the ambient noise. But how easy is it to give your music a boost when you are not used to the noise cancellation technology drowning out those external sounds, keeping it at that old high volume level you used to listen to with an older pair of headphones. Or maybe a favorite song of yours has just come on, so it feels like it needs to be turned up!!
So what is the best advice to give? Not knowing really which headphones will work better, as if used improperly any headphones will have the potential to create ear damage.
I’d honestly say moderation is what you should be looking at. I mean we are not just going to give up on listening through headphones to experience out music. They help repress any boredom that may come with travelling on Planes, Trains or Automobiles! Help us through work or studying for an exam. Heck I’m blasting music through my laptop speakers as I currently finish off writing this blog post!
Maybe try and take some time off every now and again. If you are not going to be out and about, use external speakers instead. If you are using earphones then don’t have your music turned up too loud! If you need to turn it up up to drown out extra external sounds interfering with where you may be, then try and remember to turn it down. Even try and take breaks with listening to music for longer periods of time. Perhaps a 5 minute rest every hour if what you need?
It’s all common sense, cherish your hearing and keep the potential ear damage at bay!!