Hearing Loss and Headphones – Are you listening?

✓ Evidence Based
Yvonne Doyle

Yvonne Doyle

Senior Hearing Aid Audiologist at Hidden Hearing
Ms Yvonne Doyle, Senior Hearing Aid Audiologist has been working with Hidden Hearing since 2011. Since joining Hidden Hearing, her Wexford Branch is recognised as a Centre of Excellence for hearing care in Ireland.

Ms Doyle won the 2017 'Irish Audiologist of the Year. The competition is organised by leading hearing aid battery manufacturer Rayovac, a division of Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc., who this year welcomed a new sponsor, The European Federation of Hard of Hearing People (EFHOH), on board, joining longstanding partners Audio Infos, and the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA).

Find Out More About Yvonne

62060927 - woman with hearing loss or hard of hearingExercise, particularly running, is a magnificent way to get fit and lose weight. In fact it is well recognised that listening to music while running can be a great motivator. But although running has countless health benefits, many of us may not be aware that listening to music on headphones could be damaging our hearing.

Millions of people all over the world have been listening to music on personal players since the 1970s, when the Sony Walkman personal cassette player was launched. Since this time concerns about personal music players and their effect on hearing have been voiced. But due to immense technological advances we now have the ability to easily and quickly store hours of music on multiple personal devices, which means we can listen to music without a break for longer periods.

The way we utilise personal players has also changed. We are using them more frequently as we carry out various tasks, such as exercising, as the players have become smaller and easier to carry.

So just how much damage are we doing to our hearing and is it possible to limit our risk of hearing loss? According to Professor Michael A. Walsh, Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon at the Blackrock Clinic, Dublin, it is difficult to isolate listening to loud music on headphones as the only factor in hearing loss. Currently, there are no statistics in Ireland on hearing loss associated with listening to music on headphones.

Prof Walsh outlined studies in France and Germany show that people who listen to music through headphones are at a low risk of hearing loss if they use the devices appropriately. The studies also reveal 15 per cent of people aged between 20 and 69 exhibit some degree of hearing damage due to listening to loud music on their headphones. Appropriate use is determined as listening for a maximum of one hour or less and at a maximum volume level of 60 per cent, Prof Walsh stated.

Concerns remain around just how many of us are using devices appropriately, however, as Prof Walsh believes there has been an increase in Ireland in the last decade in hearing loss with more young people presenting with the problem.

The European Union (EU) Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks, in its examination of the hearing loss associated with personal music players in 2008, highlighted that 50 to 100 million people listen to music on personal players every day.

The Committee concluded that more research on the health risks associated with using music players is required, but determined that prolonged exposure to loud music could have several negative health impacts.

They include temporary or permanent hearing loss, tinnitus or ringing/buzzing in the ears, difficultly hearing conversations in noisy situations, learning and memory impairment, and increased blood pressure and heart disease. Some personal music players have maximum volume settings of up to 120 decibels, which is a sound similar to that of a plane taking off nearby, the Committee revealed.

To help reduce the risk of hearing loss the Committee reported that listening to music at 80 decibels is considered safe irrespective of the length of time a player is used. In 2011 the EU set standards around volume levels on personal music players. The ruling requires players have a default maximum volume of 85 decibels. But the user can adjust volume mechanisms higher.

The good news is that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), half of all cases of hearing loss are preventable through primary prevention and better care of our hearing. Being mindful of volume settings on players and reducing the amount of time spent using a device can all help to halt hearing damage.

Greater research in this area could contribute to better awareness of our hearing and help us to watch out for the tell-tale signs we could be harming our hearing.

They include tinnitus, which is an early warning sign of impairment. A simple hearing check at this point is advisable, as well as reducing one’s exposure to loud music or noise. Thankfully smart use of music players means we can still enjoy listening to music while running and exercising. But be advised that if you do need music as a motivator, the use of personal music players are rarely permitted during large marathon and running events for health and safety reasons.

For instance, the VHI women’s mini marathon does not encourage the use of music players as they could prevent participants from hearing important safety announcements. So if you are taking part in competitions, it may be better, for your safety and perhaps your hearing, to leave your device at home.

Exercise, particularly running, is a magnificent way to get fit and lose weight. In fact it is well recognised that listening to music while running can be a great motivator. But although running has countless health benefits, many of us may not be aware that listening to music on headphones could be damaging our hearing.

Millions of people all over the world have been listening to music on personal players since the 1970s, when the Sony Walkman personal cassette player was launched.

Since this time concerns about personal music players and their effect on hearing have been voiced. But due to immense technological advances we now have the ability to easily and quickly store hours of music on multiple personal devices, which means we can listen to music without a break for longer periods.

The way we utilise personal players has also changed. We are using them more frequently as we carry out various tasks, such as exercising, as the players have become smaller and easier to carry.

So just how much damage are we doing to our hearing and is it possible to limit our risk of hearing loss? According to Professor Michael A. Walsh, Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon at the Blackrock Clinic, Dublin, it is difficult to isolate listening to loud music on headphones as the only factor in hearing loss. Currently, there are no statistics in Ireland on hearing loss associated with listening to music on headphones.

Prof Walsh outlined studies in France and Germany show that people who listen to music through headphones are at a low risk of hearing loss if they use the devices appropriately. The studies also reveal 15 per cent of people aged between 20 and 69 exhibit some degree of hearing damage due to listening to loud music on their headphones. Appropriate use is determined as listening for a maximum of one hour or less and at a maximum volume level of 60 per cent, Prof Walsh stated.

Concerns remain around just how many of us are using devices appropriately, however, as Prof Walsh believes there has been an increase in Ireland in the last decade in hearing loss with more young people presenting with the problem. The European Union (EU) Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks, in its examination of the hearing loss associated with personal music players in 2008, highlighted that 50 to 100 million people listen to music on personal players every day.

The Committee concluded that more research on the health risks associated with using music players is required, but determined that prolonged exposure to loud music could have several negative health impacts.

They include temporary or permanent hearing loss, tinnitus or ringing/buzzing in the ears, difficultly hearing conversations in noisy situations, learning and memory impairment, and increased blood pressure and heart disease. Some personal music players have maximum volume settings of up to 120 decibels, which is a sound similar to that of a plane taking off nearby, the Committee revealed.

To help reduce the risk of hearing loss the Committee reported that listening to music at 80 decibels is considered safe irrespective of the length of time a player is used.

In 2011 the EU set standards around volume levels on personal music players. The ruling requires players have a default maximum volume of 85 decibels. But the user can adjust volume mechanisms higher.

The good news is that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), half of all cases of hearing loss are preventable through primary prevention and better care of our hearing. Being mindful of volume settings on players and reducing the amount of time spent using a device can all help to halt hearing damage.

Greater research in this area could contribute to better awareness of our hearing and help us to watch out for the tell-tale signs we could be harming our hearing.

They include tinnitus, which is an early warning sign of impairment. A simple hearing check at this point is advisable, as well as reducing one’s exposure to loud music or noise. Thankfully smart use of music players means we can still enjoy listening to music while running and exercising. But be advised that if you do need music as a motivator, the use of personal music players are rarely permitted during large marathon and running events for health and safety reasons.

For instance, the VHI women’s mini marathon does not encourage the use of music players as they could prevent participants from hearing important safety announcements. So if you are taking part in competitions, it may be better, for your safety and perhaps your hearing, to leave your device at home.

It is important to get your hearing tested if you have any concerns. Hidden Hearing provide free hearing consultation and expert advice for all patients. If you have any questions about hearing loss, contact Hidden Hearing on Freephone 1800 370 000 or Contact Us via email or contact form.

 

Summary
Hearing Loss and Headphones – Are you listening?
Article Name
Hearing Loss and Headphones – Are you listening?
Description
So just how much damage are we doing to our hearing and is it possible to limit our risk of hearing loss?
Author
Publisher Name
Hidden Hearing
Publisher Logo
This entry was posted in Hearing News and tagged , , , on by .
Yvonne Doyle

About Yvonne Doyle

Ms Yvonne Doyle, Senior Hearing Aid Audiologist has been working with Hidden Hearing since 2011. Since joining Hidden Hearing, her Wexford Branch is recognised as a Centre of Excellence for hearing care in Ireland. Ms Doyle won the 2017 'Irish Audiologist of the Year. The competition is organised by leading hearing aid battery manufacturer Rayovac, a division of Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc., who this year welcomed a new sponsor, The European Federation of Hard of Hearing People (EFHOH), on board, joining longstanding partners Audio Infos, and the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA). Find Out More About Yvonne

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>