We know how damaging loud music and noises can be to our ears. Nowadays, earphones are almost as ubiquitous as phones; they’re an essential item for people who like to listen to music on the move. With the use of headphones being so pervasive and noise-induced hearing loss on the rise, is there such a thing as safely listening to music? It turns out that the type of headphones you use can significantly contribute to your likelihood of developing noise-induced hearing loss. Here are the best headphones to use for hearing loss prevention.
What is noise-induced hearing loss?
As the name suggests, noise-induced hearing loss is the type of hearing loss that develops due to frequent or extreme exposure to loud noises. It often develops gradually among people who are regularly exposed to loud sounds because of their lifestyle or profession. However, noise-induced hearing loss can even develop after a single encounter with an extremely loud sound, such as an explosion. Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by damage to the miniscule hairs and structures in the cochlea; it is irreversible but preventable.
What type of headphones is best for preventing hearing loss?
Open over ear headphones
Open over ear headphones usually consist of foam pads that are removable and replaceable. As there is no seal between the headphone and the ear, open over ear headphones do not trap sound between the headphone speaker and the eardrum. This means sound can easily escape, preventing music from becoming too loud and subsequently damaging the ear. However, this also allows more sounds to enter the ear, decreasing the effectiveness of the headphones. This can lead the listener to compensate by turning up their music volume, which can damage the eardrum and lead to hearing loss.
Closed over ear headphones
Closed over ear headphones can also be referred to as noise-cancelling headphones. They create a seal around the ears that traps sound and does not allow external sounds to penetrate the headphone. If used properly, noise cancelling headphones prevent hearing loss as the music doesn’t need to compete with outside sounds and the listener has complete control over what sound is reaching their ears. Due to this, noise cancelling headphones are the best headphones for hearing loss prevention.
In ear headphones
In ear headphones, also called earphones or earbuds, are the most popular choice of headphones due to their convenient size and powerful sound. In ear headphones fit neatly inside the ear, placing the speaker dangerously close to the auditory canal. This means that, like noise cancelling headphones, in ear headphones block out external noises, yet they can also prompt the listener to increase the volume, leading to ear damage. This means that in ear headphones are dangerous in terms of leading to noise-induced hearing loss.
The Art of Hearing – supporting you in your journey to better hearing
While the type of headphones you use can significantly contribute to your likelihood of developing hearing loss, it’s important to remember that even the highest quality headphones can cause hearing loss if used at loud volumes and for an extended period.
If you suspect you are experiencing noise-induced hearing loss, or if you are regularly exposed to loud sounds and music, it is essential that you protect your hearing. At The Art of Hearing, our Perth audiologists offer a range of hearing services and solutions that can be tailored to your lifestyle. For more information about our hearing solutions, contact us via The Art of Hearing website or call us on (08) 9390 8811.