Experts say that if you are listening to loud music on your AirPods, or simply hanging out in a bar with loud music for extended periods of time, you are causing permanent and irreversible ear damage and it’s important to take preventive action while you’re young.
When you think of hearing loss, you are probably think of trying to speak to someone elderly in a supermarket, where every one of your sentences is followed by, “what was that?” However, age-related hearing loss doesn’t only happen because of changes in your inner, or middle ear, or your nerve pathways. According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, hearing loss is frequently caused by “long-term exposure to sounds that are either too loud or last too long“. This is called noise-induced hearing loss.
This type of ear damage may occur far more frequently than you think. Every time you blast your car radio full volume, listen to your AirPods too loud, or go out to a club or bar. While you may be psychologically used to these kind of sounds, your ears aren’t. The problem with this daily exposure to loud and prolonging sounds is that it causes ear damage that is permanent and irreversible. You’ll notice that after a concert you may “lose your hearing” however, that is temporary. But that same night caused some ear damage that is permanent and gets you that much closer to significant hear loss later on.
5 Easy Tips to Prevent Hearing Loss
Thus, it makes it that much more important to take care of your ears and hearing early on in life, especially in your teenage years and 20’s. This is where you will be exposed to loud music. So what can you do to prevent hearing loss? While we can’t do anything about age-related hearing loss, you can prevent noise-induced hearing loss.
1. Avoid sounds that are too loud or last too long: If possible avoid very loud environments and your exposure to the sounds in those environments. If that means picking a smaller bar over one where you can’t hear yourself think, do it. You’ll also be able to enjoy an actual conversation instead of shouting in people’s ear and saying “what”.
2. 60/60 Rule: Start playing your music in your AirPods at a slightly lower volume than usual, believe it or not, your ears will adjust. It’s the same as reducing sugar in your coffee. Gradually lower it, to where there’s a balance between enjoyment and comfort. You can use the 60/60 rule which suggests that you listen to your headphones 60 minutes at 60% of the maximum volume and then take a break.
3. Forget AirPods, use Speakers: As a matter of fact, try to avoid AirPods and headphones all together. It is blasting sound directly in your ear, where as an open room set up absorbs some of the high frequencies in the air before it enters your ears. At the same effective volume, headphones can do more damage.
4. Get Used to Lower Volumes in Your Car: The reason why you are probably blasting your music so loud is not only to show off your great taste, but due to the fact that your hearing has gradually adjusted to these loud volumes, and they are becoming more and more bleak. However, if you start with lower volumes, your ears will readjust and you will prevent further damage. Also, try lowering your bass and treble in your car, or at the very least avoid increasing it from the default setting.
5. Use Earplugs or Paper Napkins : Finally, consider ear plugs. I never wore ear plugs until I realized the irreversible damage I am causing to my ears. Then, I finally tried ear plugs. Boy, does it change an experience of a concert or even a club! You still get to listen to awesome music, without the feeling of bleeding ears. You can even go in the front row right by the speakers and still enjoy a show. Before I pitch some ear plugs we tested, I can suggest a super simple hack that will work anywhere you go and reduce ear damage. Take some napkins from the bar, or food stand at a concert, rip them up, crumple it up into a smaller piece and put it in your ear. It works nearly as well as an earplug and you don’t need to worry about losing it. It’s a good way to test what ear plugs will do for you. It’s what I did, and since, I have invested in some good quality ear plugs.
For the most important factors to consider when buying earplugs and to view our recommendations check out our article here.