Whether you’re on the bike or bus, music helps make the trip easier. Unfortunately, having that same song on repeat can cause serious health problems. We look at the impacts of sustained damage with loud music and how you can prevent it.
Noises in your ear
Having loud music on for too long can cause some unwanted ringing in your ear. “Listening to loud music on a night out or from your personal music player can affect your hair cells, a bit like the way a fresh patch of grass is affected by someone trampling over it, after a few times the grass will stand upright and tall, however over time if people continue to trample over it, it will become flat. This is similar to what happens to your hair cells – continued exposure can permanently damage your hearing and lead to tinnitus which could mean that listening to music, which so many young people love, becomes less enjoyable,” Action on Hearing Loss senior audiologist Gemma Twitchen stated in a press release. Tinnitus is found in 20 percent of people around the world. If left untreated, this can morph into a permanent loss of hearing.
A constant headache
Excessive listening of loud music can also lead to throbbing headaches. In 2010, Ludwig-Maximilians-University asked 1,025 teenagers if they had headaches because of loud music. The end result was almost split: 489 teens admitted to headaches while 536 teens didn’t have them. “It cannot be concluded whether the habit of listening to music is the cause of frequent headaches, or the consequence in the sense a self-therapy by relaxation,” researcher Astrid Milde-Busch said in the study.
Keep it quiet
If you’re listening to music, everyone else on the train shouldn’t be hearing it. To make your commute smoother, 80 decibels (80 volume) is how loud you should listen to music. Avoid damaging your ears by limiting your listening activity to one hour with this volume. The safe volume for headphones is 70, which is perfect for up to seven hours. As expected, the main culprit behind this is smartphones. Millions of people use their phones to listen to their favorite music and podcasts. “Worldwide, roughly one billion people are at risk for noise-induced hearing loss from using portable listening devices,” pediatric audiologist Brian Fligor told CBS News.
Distance yourself from the music
Avoiding hearing damage won’t cost you much. One of the best tips to preserve hearing over time is to stop listening to music. Take a few hours for your ears recover before jumping back into your playlist. Instead of using public transportation, walk or jog your way to work. The exercise will help keep your ears intact. Keep the headphones away while taking a stroll, though.
Cancel it all
If you still want music, noise-canceling headphones are the perfect solution. Many people use these headphones to remove background noises during their commute. Wearing these in public means you don’t need to raise the volume of your music. The most popular brand of noise-canceling headphones is Bose, which has been operating since 1964. “Imagine you’re a parent and you’re at home and your kids have got friends over. You’re reading a book while monitoring what they are doing, but they get too loud. You don’t want to break from reading, so you can put on the headphones and basically turn them down,” Bose engineer Dan Gauger told Gear Patrol. If you’re not looking to drop hundreds on Bose headphones, there are cheaper ones on the market. Anker SoundCore Space NC, Bluedio T4 Turbine, and Mpow H5 are each under $100.
Your ears are just as important as the rest of your body. Keeping them protected will let you listen to your favorite music for a long time.