Before earbuds, parents knew the volume of their children’s music and could tell them to turn it down when they thought it too loud. With the advent of earbuds, it’s not as apparent. Are earbuds safe? What other environmental noises should we avoid to protect our family’s hearing? Here are the facts, courtesy of D.J Verret, MD., double board certified otolaryngologist (ENT doctor), facial plastic surgeon and assistant clinical professor at UT Southwestern Medical School.
Is it safe to wear earbuds while listening to music? “It is safe, but two things to consider. First, loud sounds can cause hearing loss so you should not turn up the volume louder than still being able to listen to a normal conversation while wearing the earbuds. Second, wearing earbuds or earplugs for long periods of time frequently can increase your chance of ear wax impactions.”
Are there other things we can do to safeguard our hearing health? No Q-tips – these lead to ear wax impactions and do not clean. Most people’s ears are self cleaning. Also, wear earplugs when in an environment that requires a louder voice than normal to talk in.
What are some everyday things we may be doing that could jeopardize our hearing? Machine use: 1) Lawnmowers. 2) Vacuums. 3) Even inside commercial airliners. Concert attendance. Anytime you get a buzzing in your ear after exposure to loud sounds this means that you have caused hearing loss. This normally heals itself, unless you are exposed to loud sounds before it heals then the hearing loss is locked in. This can be slowly progressive over time.