Are you hooked on earbuds? It is a prominent, if not a universal trend that sees people nowadays listening to their portable music players for entertainment, for drowning out the background noise on their commutes or for diverting their attention in workouts. At first glance, these electronic gadgets may add spice to our lives. However, the excessive use of earbuds or headphones can actually be a menace to our hearing.
The selling point of earbuds is said to be its noisecancellation function but this gimmick can, in fact, put you at risk. Unlike headphones, which are put around our ears, earbuds are plugged in our ears and create a seal within the ear canals which block out external noise. That makes it your buddy as well as your enemy. It depends largely upon the volume and duration of listening, which are critical to our hearing. Quite simply, the softer, the better. The level of background noise can also serve as another point of reference: When your lovely music has completely drowned out the background noise, lower your volume to save your ears.
Teenagers especially may not even notice the volume of their music and may go all out to damage their eardrums. If you have children in their adolescence, place extra care in advising them on the usage of headphones. What if your teens are just fed up with their parents’ advice and further raise the volume of the music to drown them out? That’s when you have to be prepared to continually drum into your kids the consequences of hearing impairment.
Are you listening to yourself?
But believe it or not, teens are not the only ones being swept into the quiet turbulence of hearing loss by portable music players. Surveys have concluded that adults are more likely to listen to headphones on long commutes or flights. Thanks to the distribution of headphones for movie-watching, passengers ranging from kids to adults, from businessmen to students, are all equally vulnerable to damaging their eardrums, especially on long flights. Sometimes, passengers may even crank up the volume to block out the droning noise of the plane engines. Unwittingly, these passengers may cause damage to their hearing systems without notice.
Beg your pardon?
Hearing impairment is irrevocable. Have you ever imagined that you can no longer enjoy the hilarious storylines in your favourite television shows because you can’t make out what the characters are saying, or no longer being able to hear the sweet words of your loved ones? Below is a quick check-list of the telltale signs of hearing loss. If you have many of the following symptoms, don’t hesitate to consult a hearing-specialist.
- Find yourself saying “Huh?” or “What?” more often than you used to?
- Sometimes have to watch other people’s faces to follow what they are saying?
- Respond inappropriately to questions?
- Often need to ask people to repeat what they have said?
- Frequently misunderstood what people have said?
- Need to turn the volume up on the TV or radio to the point that others complain?
- Often think that people are mumbling or not talking clearly?
- Have problems with ringing in the ears or head noises?
- Regularly have trouble understanding what people are saying on the phone?
- Have troubles in hearing someone calling you from behind or from another room?
- Have more troubles in hearing women and children’s voices?
- Often have difficulties making out what someone who is speaking to a large group of people, for example at church, meetings or lectures is saying?
Remember, “Prevention is better than cure”. Old-fashioned though it is, it matters, especially when it comes to our hearing.
So, never listen for too long and too loud; otherwise, your trendy earbuds or headphones will soon be replaced by not so hip and trendy hearing aids in the near or distant future.
Choose the right pair
Earbuds, headphones and music players are ubiquitous. You can grab the former two in gadget stores, CD warehouses, online shops or in the least expected way – at supermarkets. Ladies often buy on impulse but this is one item that isn’t suited to the best-pickunder- one-roof style of acquisition. You should instead invest plenty of time to find a pair of earbuds that look appealing, fashionable and more importantly, fit your ears. To many ladies, including us, earbuds fall into the category of accessories so they have to look trendy. However, choosing suitable headphones is not just a matter of fashion but also a matter of comfort, especially for your daily commute.