Doctors Warn About the Dangers of Earbuds

Earbuds, headphones and Bluetooth devices are present everywhere today. From being plugged into your iPhone to MP3 player, they provide listening at gyms, at home and in the workplace. Ear buds are the most popular choice for listening, they weigh almost nothing and are cheap to purchase. The problem is that earbuds are causing hearing damage at an alarming rate.

Earlier this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that “1.1 billion young people are at risk of hearing loss because of personal audio devices, such as smartphones, and damaging levels of sound at entertainment venues like electronic dance music festivals, where noise levels can top 120 decibels for hours.”

Dr. Sreekant Cherukuri, an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist from Munster, Indiana stated that the largest cause of hearing damage in millennials is the use of iPods and smart phones as music devices. Since the 1980’s and 90’s hearing loss in teens is reportedly 30% greater. “You (once) had a Walkman with two AA batteries and headphone thongs that went over your ears,” said Cherukuri. “At high volume, the sound was so distorted and the battery life was poor. Nowadays, we have smart phones that are extremely complex computers with high-level fidelity.” It is a growing problem that could get worse if people do not take necessary precaution.

Some facts to consider:

  • At full volume, iPod and MP3 players, along with other digital music devices, can produce as much noise as if you were attending a live rock concert.
  • 89% of people tend to turn up their earbud volume as cars, lawn mowers, etc. are in the background. Be conscious of this behavior!
  • Follow the 60/60 rule: do not listen to these devices over a 60% volume and for no more than 60 minutes per day.

Cherukuri makes it his mission to educate and attempt to stop young people from wearing earbuds altogether. Since earbuds are so close to an individual’s ear drum, they can raise the volume as much as 9 decibels. People need to be aware that permanent hearing damage can happen in minutes and once the damage is done it is irreversible. It is important to remember to not only protect yourself, but also your children at sporting events, music concerts, riding the subway, etc.

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