For the past few months, I have been using earbuds a lot. Like almost every hour and every day. Just like other music enthusiasts and audiophiles you see on the street. Every day, I use wireless Bluetooth earbuds to engage while I stream videos, listen to podcasts or music, and make phone calls. I use them when I exercise, on the bus, train, plane, and a sad or bad day. But I realize I have to make some changes. Why?
- Hearing issues are common, and our favorite wireless earbuds could be a part of the problem. So, should you stop using earbuds?
- You don’t need to deny yourself the pleasure, and fun earbuds bring you as there are ways to save your ears.
- Simple things such as avoiding loud noises, limiting the listening time, purchasing the right wireless earbuds and more can help prevent hearing loss.
1- Avoid Listening To Music at High Volume
When you plug your earbuds in your ears and crank up the music to the highest volume, how do you feel?
Of course, a lot of people won’t feel comfortable. You might experience some ringing in your ears. If you keep repeating the same thing for long or every time, you may be damaging the tiny hair cells in the inner ear gradually. When the tiny hair cells get damaged, you can be at the risk of losing your hearing because the damage is permanent.
This is why you see some cases of deafness among teens who often love to blast jams using their wireless earbuds. It is usually impossible to reverse noise-related hearing loss. One funny thing is that hearing loss does not always happen suddenly. If you frequently listen to music at a higher volume on your wireless Bluetooth earbuds, you could be losing your hearing without realizing.
Relax, I am not scaring you. There is a solution!
Inculcate a habit I call “noise diet.” It means avoid listening to music at high volume. It is the key to keeping your hearing healthy and protecting it from future problems. Take note that you can only enjoy high-quality music at lower volumes.
How do you know you are listening to high music volume on your best Bluetooth earbuds?
If you wear your wireless earbuds in your ears and the sound volume coming out of it makes your inner ear feel uncomfortable or different from the normal, the volume may be too high. Also, if you can’t hear what people beside you are saying, and you have to raise your voice when talking to other people, it is a sign that the volume is too high.
Hearing loss does not always happen suddenly and taking a regular « noise diet » could save your hearing!
Noise level is measured in decibels (dB). As the number increases, the noise will also increase. It means the level of noise at 90dB will be higher than the level of noise at 60dB. Take note that the noise level above 100dB can cause damage to your ears. Generally, when you listen to music on full volume via your wireless Bluetooth earbuds, they will produce between 100 decibels to 110 decibels. This is a really, really bad and dangerous level of noise that can cost you your hearing.
Which earbud volume or decibel is much safer?
As a general rule of thumb, putting the volume of your wireless earbuds at around 55dB to 60dB is safe. But you know what; I would suggest that you reduce the volume to the level where your ears will be comfortable with.
Another way to ensure you listen to wireless earbuds sound at safe volume is by downloading an application that will tell you what decibel you are listening to. Ensure you set up the smartphone apps properly so you can get a more accurate reading.
Also, if the area is silent or not noisy, you can turn the earbuds volume down to the barest minimum as long as you can hear the music clearly. But in case you are in a noisy place, you need to take caution. Don’t crank up the volume. There are two solutions; either you sacrifice that moment by stopping to listening to music or getting wireless Bluetooth earbuds that can survive noisy environments without increasing the volume level to the highest. We will talk about it later in this article.
2- Limit your Listening Time
From the first way to prevent hearing loss from wearing earbuds that we have discussed above, most of us will think “yeah, I will reduce the volume, and I can listen to my jams the whole day without worries” No, you can’t! The listening volume is not the only problem; the number of hours you have your wireless earbuds plugged in your ears can also contribute to hearing loss.
Regardless of the volume, you are listening to, whether low, medium or high level, hearing the sound for long hours can take a toll on your ears.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), when you listen to the sound as high as 105 decibels for more than 15 minutes every week, your hearing can experience damage. Also, when you put the volume of your wireless earbuds between 80dB and 90dB, and you are exposed to it for many hours every day, it may result in permanent ear damage in the future.
How do you limit the listening time of earbuds?
It is simple! Use the 60:60 rule. Reduce the volume of your wireless earbuds with mic to 60 percent of the maximum volume and listen to it no more than 60 minutes daily. For example, if the maximum volume of your Bluetooth earbuds produces 100dB, it means you will need to reduce it to 60dB and maintain the volume for one hour a day to enjoy the music safely.
If your wireless earbuds display a volume bar, you can easily reduce it to 60%. But in case your earbuds do not show the volume control bar, you can regulate the volume of the music you are listening to through your smartphone volume bar. But what if your daily tasks, activities, or job demands that you have your best Bluetooth earbuds on for many hours each day? There is a way around this too, so relax!
According to Dr. Meryl Hochdorf Miller, an audiologist from Audiological Consultants of Atlanta in Georgia, the more you decrease the volume, the more number of hours you can use wearing your earbuds. Also, when you maintain the 60 percent volume for 60 minutes, you don’t necessarily need to put away your wireless earbuds for that day.
All you need is a ten minutes break that will help your hears recover.
3- Go For the Right Earbuds
When choosing the perfect wireless Bluetooth earbuds to use, most of us are after the sound quality, built, battery life, ease of use, connectivity, and more. No doubt, these features are good and should be found in the best Bluetooth earbud. But if you really want to protect your ears from hearing loss, you need to take noise-isolation and cancellation feature serious.
|Noisy environment propels us to crank up our wireless earbuds volume, which is the reason why noise-canceling headphones like the xFyro are healthier!|
The truth is that most of us would not put our earbuds to the highest volume if we are in a silent environment. It is the noisy environment that propels us to crank up the wireless earbuds volume. We have to boost the music volume to compensate for the environmental noise.
How do you listen to music on your earbuds in noisy environments?
Using noise-canceling and isolation, wireless earbuds like xFyro is the remedy. Earbuds with this feature will mitigate the background noise, and it will ensure you limit the sound volume. When you have high-quality earbuds with noise-cancelation plugged in your ears, the quality of sound will not be diminished even if you are on the bus, plane, in the gym, and other noisy areas. Also, unlike low-quality earbuds, there won’t be any distraction.
The truth is that investing in a pair of premium wireless earbuds is truly worth the money. With the earbuds, you can adhere to the 60:60 rule easily without compromising the music quality and more significantly your hearing.
4- Ensure the Earbuds Fit Your Ears Properly
You can have noise cancelling earbuds but what if it does not fit into your ears well; do you think it will make any difference?
No, it won’t because they will still pave the way for environmental noise to enter your ear canal. It means you would need to increase the volume to compensate for the noise. Ensuring your waterproof wireless earbuds fits into your ear canal perfectly can prevent hearing loss as it will block out disturbing noises and prevent you from increasing the listening volume.
The best Bluetooth earbuds come with an extra pair of eartips. Going for such wireless earbuds will give you the chance to pick the ear tips that will give a good seal to your ears and stay fixed for long.
5- Test your hearing
Apart from when you have ear infections, or other ear problems, when last did you visit the doctor to get your hearing tested?
If you are someone who uses earbuds a lot, it is advisable to consider a regular hearing check. You can do this for at least once in a year. Of course, you can choose to test your hearing more than once, depending on how often you use the wireless Bluetooth earbuds.
Getting your hearing tested is important because untreated hearing loss can distract you from the strength of relationships and quality of life. Also, it has been linked to health issues such as dementia and depression.
Additional Resources and Information about How to Prevent Hearing Loss That Can Result From Earbuds
Can You Monitor Your Exposure To Loud Noise?
Some applications can help you monitor your exposure to loud noise. You can find some on Google Play store and Apple Store. The common ones are:
- Play It Down – the app is found on the Apple store, and it is free for iPhone users. It will allow you to access your hearing ability and noisy environments.
- SoundMeter+ - this is another application that you can use to get accurate sounds and noise exposure readings. It is for Android users and can help prevent hearing loss.
Other applications can include, Ambiciti, NoiseCapture, Noise exposure, and more.
Are There Other Ways To Protect My Hearing Health And Ears?
You can protect your ears from hearing loss by:
- Staying away from loud noise or using earplugs around loud noises when you are not using your wireless Bluetooth earbuds
- Turning down the volume of other appliances like the TV and home theater when you are not wearing your earbuds
- After using your earbuds for a long time, find a way to give your ears time to recover. It can be minutes or hours. According to researchers, your ears need around 16 hours of quiet to recover from one loud night out fully.
The 5 ways to prevent hearing loss discussed above are no doubt the best ways to ensure you maintain a healthy hearing without sacrificing the benefits your favorite wireless Bluetooth earbuds has to offer. Thankfully, the steps are simple.
Maintain a lower listening volume, don’t listen to your earbuds for hours without taking a break, buy reliable Bluetooth earbuds with noise-cancellation, ensure they fit, and make sure you visit the doctor to get your hearing tested. Follow these rules, and you will be able to protect your hearing without compromising your music.