Sunday, October 27, 2013

Can Headphones Really Damage Our Sense of Hearing?

headphone mobile accessories
Our trusty handheld devices aren’t complete without the instrumental mobile accessories that come to their aid. This is why whenever we purchase a new gadget, the package already includes those essential accessories. And among the much needed accessories in the box, the pair of headphones or earphones is perhaps the most indispensable and searched for.

Taking a look back, according to the Smithsonian magazine, Nathaniel Baldwin developed the headphones in 1910 in Utah. The contraption was meant for the U.S. Navy in improving the mechanism of the naval radio operations. And after quite some time, John Koss, a jazz musician and founder of the Koss Corp., developed the first headphones designed specifically for music. Thereafter, headphones became a standard accessory for most gadgets.

As technology evolves, so are the headphones. Today, you can now see variants of the headphones more often in the form of earphones. And in 2001, when Apple introduced the iPod with a pair of earphones, which have an earpiece that fits snugly inside the earlobes known as earbuds, the accessory gained instant popularity. And the reason behind this is that besides its perfect fit, it also delivers a blast of volume, often preferred by those who like to be brought by the rhythm of the beat.

Seldom do you hear that headphones can damage your sense of hearing. But mind you, they do, especially if you listen to music using them too loud for too long. Be that as it may, earbuds have brought chances of hearing loss to the next level. As said, they directly fit inside the ear, blasting a loud sound straight through the ear canal. Furthermore, earbuds don’t work to cancel out external ambient noise like how headphones do.

You see, the ears are very delicate. The ear drum vibrates when sound enters the ear. The vibrations then travel to the cochlea, where they are carried by a fluid to the fine hairs that stimulate the auditory nerve fibers, then, to the brain for the sound to be interpreted. Essentially, this is the physiology of hearing.

Hearing loss happens when the hair cells inside the ears are damaged. One of the most common insults is when one listens to loud noises for a considerable amount of time. The level of sound our ears can tolerate is normally less than 85 decibels. That is about the level of sound produced by a hair dryer or a food processor.

Experts have found out that earbuds deliver higher level of sound by about 7 to 9 decibels compared to traditional headphones. A discovery was made by an audiologist at Wichita State University; students who were listening with the use of earbuds were detected to turn up the volume up to 110 to 120 decibels. That intensity can cause permanent hearing loss in just a span of 1 hour and 15 minutes. This is no wonder why the number of teens who suffer hearing loss has risen by 33% since 1994, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

We come up to this question: what do we need to do about this? You really need not to throw your earbuds this instant. All you have to do is observe some precautionary measures. If ever you are going to use an earbuds or any type of headphones for this matter, observe the 60/60 rule. This requires listeners not to listen through them for more than 60 minutes. Additionally, the maximum volume should only be at 60%. Now that you’ve been informed, you better use your mobile earphones the right way to make sure you don't lose your sense of hearing earlier than expected.

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