Our ears are designed to process a certain level of sounds such as during a school lesson or a quiet conversation.

Whereas recreational activities such as attending a rock concert and listening to music players using earpods usually expose our ears to higher sound levels for an extended period of time. According to studies, the aforementioned activities pose a threat to the health of our hearing.

Prevention is better than cure. And that’s why it is crucial to heed the warning signs of hearing loss. If you suspect you may have a persistent ringing sensation in your ears, see an ENT specialist for a hearing test immediately. Tinnitus can be a symptom of hearing loss.


What is Safe Listening?

Safe listening is simply avoiding sound levels that are too high that may lead to hearing loss. Safe listening depends on the loudness of the sound and the duration of exposure. In other words, the allowed time for safe listening decreases as the sound level increases.

The highest safe exposure level is 85 dB for a maximum of 8 hours. And the safe duration of exposure to a sound level of 100 dB, which is the intensity of sound produced by a train, is 15 minutes a day


Tips For Safe Listening

Whether you are driving or sweating it out at the gym, it’s rare for most people to go without music for a whole day. However, listening to loud music or sound for an extended period of time can damage your hearing. Follow the tips below for safe listening.


  1. Keep The Volume Down

When listening to music on your phones or other devices using headphones, earpods or earpieces, don’t go higher than 60 per cent of your device’s volume. Some devices allow you to set a volume limit. Check your music settings and set the volume at the recommended safe level.

To find out if your music is too loud, follow this simple thumb rule — if you have to raise your voice when speaking to someone, you need to turn down the volume. Also, use carefully fitted, noise-cancelling headphones whenever possible.


  1. Protect Your Ears from Loud Sounds

When you attend concerts, sports events or other events filled with loud music and noise, don’t forget to wear earplugs. Earplugs are designed to reduce the volume and not to muffle it.

Therefore, you will still be able to enjoy the music. Moreover, always avoid sitting or standing next to sources of noise, such as loudspeakers.

Photo taken in Budapest, Hungary

  1. Reduce Engaged Time

Abide by the 60/60 rule when listening to music on your devices using a headphone or earpiece. Limit your listening time to 60 minutes if you’re listening at 60 per cent volume. Also, ensure that you take regular breaks from listening.


  1. Monitor Your Listening Levels

For every two hours of exposure to sounds above 100 dB, your ear needs a 16-hour recovery time. Therefore, if you are exposed to loud noises regularly, whether at work or through your hobbies, ensure that you give your ears some rest.

You could use a smartphone app to monitor your sound exposure level.

Teenage girl with cat at home relaxing during the weekend

  1. Choose Headphones Wisely

If you’re regularly on a busy street or working out at the gym, it can be quite tempting to increase the volume of your device to compensate for background noise.

Instead of increasing the volume level to the detriment of your ears, invest in noise-cancelling headphones so that you can enjoy music at a lower volume.


  1. Choose Headphones Over Earbuds

If you have a choice, choose headphones over earbuds because headphones do an excellent job of muffling outside noise, allowing you to listen to music at a low volume.


In a Nutshell

Hearing damage can occur over time due to several factors. The good news is that we can follow the preventive steps to protect our ears. Follow the tips above for safe listening and see an audiologist regularly for a hearing test to check the health of your hearing.

For hearing loss that occurs due to ageing, your audiologist may suggest the use of hearing aids. If you suspect you may have hearing loss, please feel free to make an appointment with us.

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