Turn Down the Music to Save Your Ears

How much time do you spend listening to music each day? If you’re like me, it’s a lot. I’ve got my headphones on during my entire commute to and from work and whenever I work out.

So when I read the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recent report on how listening to a personal audio player for more than ONE hour a day can lead to permanent hearing loss I was a little freaked out!

WHO says that about 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss from listening to their smartphones and MP3 players at high volumes, as well as from frequently going to noisy bars, nightclubs and sporting events.

After I read this, of course I started to panic that I was losing my hearing, like any rational human being would. Is this why I’ve been asking “WHAT?” more often to people during everyday conversations?

Hearing lossHow can you reduce your risk for hearing loss?
To calm my nerves, I had to look into what I could do to reduce my chances of losing my hearing. Thankfully, WHO has a number of recommendations for young adults:

  1. Follow the 60/60 rule
    When you have your headphones on, try to keep the volume below 60% and limit yourself to 60 minutes of listening per day. For me, this means that my headphones will only be on either when I work out or while I am on the train. No more than that! What does this mean for you?
  2. Use noise-cancelling headphones
    The type of headphones you use is really important. Noise-cancelling, ear-muff style headphones are better for your ears than earbuds Noise-cancelling headphones allow you to block out background noise and, thus, listen to music at a lower volume. I recently bought a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, and I absolutely love them!
  3. Take listening breaks at concerts and sporting events
    When you are at a concert or noisy sporting event, WHO advises you wear ear plugs and take short listening breaks. For example, when I’m at a concert, I try to leave the stage area every once in a while to get a drink and chill for few minutes in the bar area before heading back in. I never knew that those small breaks could be so important!
  4. Get your hearing checked out
    Familiarize yourself with the signs of hearing loss, and go to your doctor regularly for hearing check-ups. The Mayo Clinic says that if you experience any of the following symptoms you may want to talk to your doctor:
         •    You find it hard to hear everything in a conversation, especially when there’s background noise like in a restaurant or bar.
         •    You often have to turn up the volume when watching TV or listening to music so that you can hear it.
         •    Sounds seem muffled.

Have your ears perked up after reading this?  The good news is that small changes can make a real difference.

If you have any questions about your hearing, talk to your doctor. I know I will!

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