The number of young people who lose their hearing permanently has grown over the last few years. Popularization of iPods and mp3 players as well as clubs with extremely loud music, are the main reasons behind this. Headphones are the most dangerous tool in this regard, because using them is so convenient that people forget that the amount of time they listen to music through the headphones must be strictly regulated.
Preventive measures for hearing loss don't include complete ban on listening to music and attending concerts. However, there are certain limits and rules you must abide if you want to preserve one of your most important senses.
Controlling the amount of time you are exposed to loud sounds and their volume will allow you to reduce the risk of hearing loss exponentially. You should start with learning the limits of what is considered acceptable in this case. The Health Department's specialists state the following numbers:
- Exposure to noise level 105 dB and higher can cause permanent damage in 15 minutes.
- Sounds that range from 85 to 90 dB are considered safe if you aren't exposed to them for several hours a day.
Here is the level of noises you are surrounded daily:
- Drills/trucks/lorries: 90-100 dB
- Conversations: 60-65 dB
- Noise of a busy street: 75-85 dB
- Cinema 100 dB (may be even more during action scenes)
- Discos/clubs: 110 dB
- Mp3 players: 112 dB
- Rock concerts: 120 dB
- Chainsaw: 120 dB
Study these numbers and consider how much time a day you spend exposed to these noises. Then calculate how much damage your hearing suffers during this time and see whether you can change something about your daily routine to minimize the risk of permanent damage.
Bear in mind that permanent damage is exactly that. This means that it will be impossible to recover your hearing should you lose it from listening to your player every day. In fact, patients with this kind of damage don't respond well even to special hearing aids. This means that you will have no hope of recovery.
How to Avoid the Disaster
Keep the volume on your mp3 player down and stay far away from speakers in clubs. This will help protect your ears for some time.
Do not forget that even low volume will not be able to save you from the damage if you are exposed to the sound for hours on end. In fact, it's even more dangerous, because it allows you a false sense of security.
In the vast majority of cases, people don't even realize that their hearing is suffering some serious damage, until it's too late. This is why you should think about the risks you take every time you put on your headphones, even if your body is seemingly fine.
Here are some rules that will help protect your hearing:
- When at a concert, use ear plugs and try to stay some distance away from the speakers. The sound at these events is so high that you will be able to hear it even despite the protections. Thus, you will be able to both enjoy the concert and protect your ears.
- Clubbers should make it a habit to leave the dance floor and take several minute long breaks in the quieter parts of the club, or even outside.
- Never allow people to shout in your ears. If you are in a noisy place, find somewhere quiet to talk.
- Follow the 60/60 rule when listening to your player. This means 60% volume and 60 minutes a day. Using headphones for more than an hour a day will deal some amount of damage to your hearing, regardless of the volume.