Ah! The unparalleled tranquility that means you don’t have to listen
to One Direction anymore. Headphones do bring some welcome peace and quiet
to your household and most teens enjoy listening to music on their smartphones,
but when music is played too loudly through headphones, it can result
in permanent hearing loss.
According to a study by the Journal of American Medical Association, hearing
loss in teens is “30% higher than it was in the ’80s and ’90s”.
The study estimates that about 1 in 5 (that’s 6.5 million) US teens
suffer some hearing loss from listening to loud music on their headphones.
While you may feel like your hearing is being damaged when your children
turn up the volume, you are far safer than when music is played loudly
through a headset. The proximity of the transducers to the eardrums is
what poses the danger here. Hearing is made possible by tiny hair cells
in the cochlea that convert vibrations into electrical signals that travel
to the brain. These tiny hairs naturally die out as we age, but can be
permanently damaged by too much vibration.
Loud music (or other noise) can result in two kinds of damage. Sensorineural
damage occurs in the inner ear when hair cells are negatively affected
by loud noises. Each group of hair cells is used to hear a particular
frequency of sound. When they die off, that frequency can no longer be
heard. High frequency hair cells are the most sensitive and they are the
first to succumb to damage. This means that most adults can’t hear
frequencies between 3 kHz and 6 kHz.
You can test which frequencies you can no longer hear by following this link.
Tinnitus is a more serious condition in which the hair cells suffer permanent
damage. Here the hair cells register vibrations even if there is no sound
which results in a persistent buzzing sound.
How loud should headphones be?
Here are the recommended daily doses of sound that the ear can safely manage.
90 dbA 8 hrs
92 dbA 6 hrs
95 dbA 4 hrs
97 dbA 3 hrs
100 dbA 2 hrs
102 dbA 1.5 hrs
105 dbA 1 hr
110 dbA 0.5 hr
115 dbA 0.25 hr or less
Encourage your children to practice caution when they are playing music
loudly. While it may be okay for very short periods of time, it could
result in damage or permanent hearing loss. Listening to loud music while
walking, biking or driving can compromise your ability to pick up dangers
in your surrounding environment. As a general rule, advise your kids to
always keep volumes below 70%.
pic by Maddercarmine