Nothing helps ease your morning commute more than listening to some music on your iPod, or maybe the latest news podcast so you’ll be up-to-date with what’s going on in the world before you get to the office. Whatever the reason, the accessibility of MP3 players means more people are using headphones than ever before, and with that comes the risk of hearing loss.
Between 1988 to 1994 hearing loss in the United States increased 14.9 percent; this was also around the time Walkmans were highly popular. With the rise of the iPod and other MP3 players more and more people are watching movies, listening to music or podcasts and completely tuning out the world around them. Chances are people don’t even realize the amount of damage they are doing to their ears; if you are able to hear someone’s music even when they are wearing headphones, then chances are there is damage being done. One study shows that about one in five teens, roughly 6.5 million people, have some form of hearing loss.
There are some easy ways to avoid damaging your hearing; earplugs can be helpful if you’re going to concerts. Lots of people leave concerts with a ringing in their ears, which is a sure sign hearing damage has been done; wearing earplugs can help prevent the damage.
Making sure your music is being played at an acceptable level is important, too. Not only will it save your eardrums but keeping your music at a lower level helps you be more aware of your surroundings, especially if you are in a major city. Some commuters only use one headphone while on a train or walking down the street so they can be more aware of what’s happening around them and the music is more of a background experience.
Technology is a great thing, and can have some amazing benefits if used responsibly; but if you’re not careful, the next piece of hardware you’ll need to buy is a hearing aid.