Earphone safety - how to prevent ear damage

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Loud sounds can damage your ears! Typically, any sound louder than 85 decibels (dB) is considered dangerous to your hearing. Sound levels above 120dB may cause pain. When using earphones, the audio is transmitted directly to your ear canal. This close proximity reduces the amount of sound that escapes, thus increasing the loudness.

Unfortunately, many people make the common mistake of increasing their earphone volume in an attempt to get better sound, or to block out external noise. If your ears are routinely subjected to loud noise for extended periods of time, they begin to adapt. This adaptation may lead people to further increase the audio of what they are listening to and risk damage to their hearing.

The amount of time spent listening with earphones also increases the risk of hearing damage and/or loss. Brief exposure to a 90dB sound may not damage your hearing, but if your ears are exposed for extended durations, there is a definite risk. In fact, if you were to listen to the 90dB sound for three hours, you could cause the same damage as a 150dB, 30 second sound blast. 150dB is the average sound level of a shotgun! So if a person is already using their earphones at a level greater than 85dB and they are doing so for extended periods of time, there is a very high risk of permanent noise-induced hearing loss. Remember, the louder the sound, the shorter the duration of safe listening.

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How to prevent damage to your ears

The best way to avoid Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is to keep your audio below 85dB and avoid prolonged use. A good set of high quality, well designed earphones can have a great impact on minimizing the risk of NIHL. Better quality sound provides better audio, which requires less volume to get an improved listening experience.

Some really good earphones are designed to fit into your ear instead of simply hanging on the outer ear. This puts the audio closer to your eardrum, decreasing the amount of necessary volume.

Sound-isolation features are another component to look for in a good set of earphones. Poor quality earphones often offer little or no sound isolation. This allows more external noise to interfere with the audio you’re trying to listen to, which causes many people to increase the volume beyond safe levels.

Source: www.centerpointaudio.com

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