An overwhelming number of people use earbuds. Connected to phones, laptops, music players, earbuds have become a staple for many of us. A lot of the people use them to drown noise from outside, while others like listening to a podcast or two as they commute. People who exercise like listening to the music to set their mood.
There are also many different types of earbuds being offered. Whereas some people prefer the old twist on the headphones, other like the ear pods and ear buds that go write into the ear. Regardless of the preference, the bigger question is whether these earbuds are safe or not.
Earbuds and similar paraphernalia can damage your ears. According to experts, millions of people are at risk of suffering from hearing loss due to excessive use of earbud. There are tiny hairs in the cochlea, a chamber inside of the ear. When ear is exposed to loud sound, over long period of time, these hairs can get damaged permanently, thereby causing hearing impairment.
There are other potential side effects of earphone and earbuds. One issue is production of excessive earwax, that may lead to impaction. Ear then needs to be treated by the best ENT specialist in Lahore.
Tinnitus is another condition that is marked by ringing like sounds in the head or the ears. This can even aggravate to Hyperacusis, which is greater sensitivity to even the everyday ‘normal’ sounds.
At times, use of earbuds can also lead to ear infections. It is perpetuated by sharing of earbuds between different people, as bacteria from one’s ear gets transferred to the other. When low quality and poor fit earbuds are used, they can lead to soreness and pain in the ears as well.
Preventing the damage
Despite the dangers of earbuds, their necessity cannot be denied altogether. In the aftermath of the global pandemic, where the conventional office and school spaces have now been replaced by the internet, earbuds have become even more important.
Thus, one cannot completely remove them from the life. However, there are steps that can be taken that minimize the damage.
Check your volume
The biggest culprit is high volume. Noise is harmful to the ears, and when we listen to loud music or audio via earbuds, it is also considered as noise.
To avoid this issue, use the 60%-60 minutes rule. This rule entails listening to music at 60% volume, for 60 minutes a day, only. If your time is to be increased, then decrease the volume even more.
A way to cap your volume is by checking the sound settings on your devices. You can then set a limit of the volume, that way, you can prevent any accidental loud noises as well.
Know your purpose
Many people use earbuds to drown the sounds around them. The louder the noise, the louder the volume on their devices gets. However, as this practice is very dangerous for you ears, explore other ways of entering the silent zones.
If you can, then change your working quarters to some place quieter, but that admittedly, is not a feasible option for many.
Noise cancelling headphones are another solution. They work by not allowing the sounds to enter into the headphones due to their structure. The active sound cancelling headphones are a step ahead; they produce vibrations that cancel out the waves produced by the noise, giving you the perfect and noiseless environment to work with.
Opt for headphones instead
Whereas earbuds can be convenient, but they also cause more damage to the ear. They set into the ear canal and cause more damage due to the proximity to the eardrum. Headphones, on the other hand, settle over the ear, so is distant from the eardrum. This minute distance difference actually translates into significant difference when measured in decibels.
The distance also is great as it helps preventing the transfer of bacteria when shared.
However, just because you use headphones does not mean that you can listen to loud music. That is still off limits.
Do not use earbuds for long hours
Using earbuds for long consecutive hours is also dangerous for the hearing. Therefore, if wearing earbuds for longer periods is absolutely imperative, then at least take breaks between use. After 30 minutes or so, give your ears breathing room of about 5-10 minutes.
Visit the doctor
Hearing loss is a gradual and permanent process. Even though it develops overtime, some symptoms can still be discerned. These include ringing in the ears after hearing loud noise, difficulty understanding things at low volume, not being able to hear properly in noisy places and not being able to distinguish between sounds.
If you are experiencing these, then disband the use of earbuds to prevent further damage, and immediately schedule a visit to the ENT specialist in Islamabad.