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Healthy use of headphones: How loud and how long to listen to music through headphones?

Healthy use of headphones: How loud and how long to listen to music through headphones?

Headphone usage is increasing. Headphones allow people to enjoy music and conversation from anywhere and anytime. The ease of use of headphones and the mobility they provide cannot be overstated. This is especially true now, as our society spends more time with virtual meetings and headsets during the pandemic. Use your headset safely. Enjoy the benefits of headphones and do not endanger your health.

When are your headphones too loud?

One important thing to be aware of when considering using headphones is that personal hearing aids are tuned to a maximum volume of around 105 to 110 dB. In comparison, exposure to sound levels above 85 dB (equivalent to a lawnmower or leaf blower) can cause hearing damage with more than two hours of exposure, while exposure to noise of 105 to 110 dB can cause damage in five minutes.

A sound below 70 dB is unlikely to cause significant damage to the ears. This is important to know because the maximum volume of personal listening devices is above the limit at which damage occurs (for both children and adults)! So don't listen to headphones at full blast.

How long is it safe to use headphones?

Using headphones at sound levels around 80dB can cause damage in less than an hour, and it's easy to imagine listening to music with headphones for an hour or more. Importantly, listening at a comfortable level below 80 dB should be safe indefinitely. And when it is necessary to have them out loud for a while, then balance it with time in silence.

Our ears can be damaged by excessive noise, and the combination of excessive sound levels and duration of exposure contributes to potential hearing problems. Here are some suggestions for healthy headphone listening.

  • Be aware of how long you've been listening and how loud the sound is. After listening for a long time, take breaks and listen at a comfortable level.
  • If you're going to an event where you're likely to hear loud noise for a long time (such as a concert or sporting event), wear earplugs and don't listen through headphones before the concert.
  • Don't hesitate to talk to an audiologist or otolaryngologist about any questions you have about using headphones or safe sound levels.

Hearing health is important. In addition to headphones, we are surrounded by a lot of noise. Therefore, do not forget about soundproofing of the space.

Previous article Advantages of soundproofing the nursery

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