Listening to music is a favorite way of passing the time for today's generation. It allows people to escape their problems and relax for a bit. That is why headphones have gained immense popularity.
They allow you to enjoy without disturbing anyone and reducing noise pollution. But like all things, the pleasure comes at a cost. Headphones may allow escapism, but they also affect your hearing.
Let’s talk about the impact of earphones on your hearing.
How Do Headphones Threaten Hearing?
Before reaching the nervous center in the brain, sound has to pass through the cochlea to the inner part of your ears. Normally you can hear sounds of 85 decibels, but with earphones, this value rises to 120 decibels. That is because wearing headphones put your ears in a confined state.
If you listen to music for hours via earphones, you might want to reconsider. Keeping on headphones for longer period of time damages the hair cells of your cochlea. Hence, the transmission of signals to the brain reduces, which is the first step to hearing loss.
To overcome that problem, a new type of headphones has been launched in the market. These are called noise-canceling headphones. To gain a better understanding, here is everything you need to know about these headsets.
What Is A Noise-Canceling Headphone?
Noise-canceling earphones block out surrounding noises to give you an enriching listening experience. Many people who like to hear music while they travel are now opting for these headsets. One of their benefits is they help to reduce hearing loss.
The earphones can cancel noise either actively or passively. Their primary aim is to enhance the quality of music without decreasing the hearing. Keep in mind, though, that both of these headphones work differently.
Let’s enlighten you with how these headphones aid your hearing.
How Does Active Noise-Canceling Headphones Protect Hearing?
The main aim of these earphones is to actively cancel out noises reducing your need to hear music at high volume. You must be wondering what this means. Here is an example for you.
Imagine you are traveling in an airplane, and a baby keeps on crying. Your first reflex would be to listen to music to avoid the noise. But while listening, you can still hear the crying faintly, so you increase the volume.
Hearing music at loud volumes causes significant damage to the sensory cells in your ear. And that is precisely what harms your hearing. That is where the noise-canceling headphones come into play.
Now imagine ending up in the same situation, but this time you wear noise-canceling earphones. You will realize that at the medium volume, you cannot hear the cry at all. Thus, there is no need to increase volume to find peace.
The headphones are built in such a way that they identify the pitch of external noises. This allows them to produce sound waves that will oppose the effect of external ones. That was everything you needed to know about active canceling.
Now let's understand the principle of a passive one.
How Does Passive Noise-Canceling Help You?
Passive canceling depends on the design of the headphones rather than tech. They work similarly to earmuffs. By wearing bulky headphones, external noises cannot reach you.
These earphones work effectively to reduce the effect of sounds of high frequency. For example, are you someone who does not like the sound of fireworks during New Year's Eve? If yes, then these headphones are made for you.
Besides that, passive noise-canceling headphones are also used for specific occupations. You must have seen in movies or shows that pilots wear large headsets for communication. Those pieces passively cancel out noise too.
Even some construction workers wear these headphones to protect them from the drilling noises. So, if you want to protect your ears from heavy noises, these headphones are your best option.
Can Noise-Canceling Headphones Prevent Hearing Loss?
Many people believe that by getting noise-canceling headphones, they can prevent facing hearing issues. If you are one of these, then you should know this is far from the truth. As we said, noise-canceling headphones reduce hearing loss, not prevent it.
After all, they are still headphones. They can slow down the process, but it all comes down to you. If you are a regular headphone user, then surely these will help you maintain your hearing.
But they will only be effective if used carefully. That is why you should take some measures when using headphones regardless of the type.
Methods To Protect Hearing
Following are some safety measures you can take to preserve your hearing.
- Minimum Usage
The longer you use headphones more major the damage will be. Hence, you should not use them for more than two hours at once. Besides that, maintain a daily limit to prevent excessive use.
- Use Low Volume
According to experts, you should always keep volume less than 60%. If external sounds force you to exceed the limit, then it is better not to wear headphones.
- Never Sleep With Earphones
Many people love listening to music right before sleeping and end up falling asleep with headphones. If you do this, then please stop. Sleeping with headphones constantly stimulate ears and can cause permanent damage.
- Use Alternatives
If you are in noisy places often, such as a subway, use other methods to drown out the sound. Earplugs and earmuffs are reasonable options than noise-canceling headphones.
- Get A Hearing Test
If you use headphones regularly and have trouble hearing visit a doctor right away. The best way to prevent loss of hearing is to get it checked out as early as possible.
Completely cutting out headphones from your life is a next to impossible task. But health should always come first. Noise-canceling headphones can protect your hearing and reduce the damage that regular headphones cause.
Maintaining all the precautions will further help improve the quality of your hearing or keep it the same, if not worse.