1. Don’t Blast Your Inner Ear With Music
According to a Zogby International poll reported in March by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 28% of high-schoolers say they have to turn up the volume to hear the television. A similar number (29%) report saying “huh” or “what” a lot during conversations. A smaller, but significant number (17%) say they have experienced tinnitus, or ringing in the ears.
Other symptoms of hearing damage from personal entertainment devices include thinking that other people speak in a “muffled” way.
These are symptoms older people get, not kids. Until now.
The ear buds on MP3 players funnel the sound waves directly into the ear.
Long-term exposure to high volume levels can gradually wear out the tiny hair cells of the inner ear that convert sound into nerve signals that go to the brain.
Hearing loss can also be caused by age, disease, infections, drugs, trauma, and genetics. Or it can occur with sudden exposure — or a very few exposures — to severely loud sounds (like an explosion).
Occasionally music slamming into the ear from earbuds can be 100 decibels. “The rule of thumb,” Bruce R. Maddern, MD, chair of the Otolaryngology section of the American Academy of Pediatrics, says, “is if an observer can hear the device, it’s too loud.”
“If it’s that loud,” Maddern adds, “you also can’t hear a car coming at you.”
Hearing loss from noise usually accumulates over time and does not happen all at once.
Richard M. Rosenfeld, MD, professor of Otolaryngology at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y., offers the following advice:
Take breaks if you must listen to music through earbuds. “An iPod at 60 is safe for an hour a day,” he says.
Check out noise-reducing headphones. That way, you don’t have to crank up the music volume to cancel out party noise or beach shouts.
Don’t stand or sit right next to a speaker at a party or concert.
Parents should note: Do not let your child fall asleep with earbuds in. Make sure their devices are set at 60 or lower.
Incidentally, 60 decibels is the level of normal conversation. A power lawn mower can generate 90 decibels, a chainsaw or rock concert 110-140, and a 12-gauge shotgun 165 decibels.
So take good care of your ears, reduce the intensity of earphone usage. Avoid listening to music using earphones with too loud a volume. Noise above 100dB from more than one hour per day can, within 5 years, cause a person to suffer permanent hearing loss.
2. Stay away from environments that are too noisy.
Keep away from environments that can be too noisy, such as highways, music studios or concerts.
3. Protect your ears from loud noises
Protect your ears with ear plugs in loud environments such as in the workplace, at home or public events. Also regular breaks from loud music.
4. Clean your ear with extra care
Take extra precaution when cleaning your ears. Clean only the outer ear with a washcloth or tissue. Do not put anything into your ear such a cotton tip, bobby pins or sharp pointed objects.
5. Have your ears checked by an ENT doctor at least once a year.
Your doctor can check for infections and hearing integrity, and he/she can also remove earwax buildup in a safe manner.
Prevention is better than cure, caring your ears today will be a blessing in the future.