Why AirPods, and earbuds like them, are especially bad for your hearing

“AirPods are everywhere — even though they’re pretty awful at what they do,” Angela Lashbrook writes for Medium. “This style of earbud, which rests next to your ear canal but not quite inside it, offers practically zero noise isolation. In other words, AirPods, by far the most popular wireless earbuds, do a poor job overpowering noise like chattering colleagues or teens on the subway. The natural response is to turn the volume louder to compensate — which can quickly turn dangerous for your hearing.”

“‘I’m seeing a lot of younger people in their twenties who are coming in with ringing in their ears,’ says Sarah Mowry, an assistant professor of otolaryngology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. ‘I think it’s probably related to this all-day earbud use. It’s noise trauma,'” Lashbrook writes. “Headphones, in and of themselves, are not a risk. You could listen all day at a low-to-middle volume without health worries. It’s only once you start listening to loud volumes for sustained periods of time that they can start damaging your ears.”

“Brian Fligor, an audiologist who has studied the impact of earbuds on hearing damage, says that people typically listen to their earbuds about 13 decibels higher than the background noise,” Lashbrook writes. “If you’re wearing headphones or earbuds in a school classroom, where the background noise usually runs at about 60 decibels, and you turn your music up to 73 decibels to compensate, that should be fine for most people’s ears. But if you’re in a noisy coffee shop, where background noise is usually about 70 decibels, or on an airplane, where the noise typically reaches 80 decibels, things get dicey.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s a story as old as time, or at least as old as loudspeakers and headphones: Long exposure to loud sounds can damage your ears permanently.

Using the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, you can set a volume limit: Go to Settings > Music > Volume Limit.

To prevent changes to the volume limit, go to Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions. Turn on Content & Privacy, tap Volume Limit, then tap Don’t Allow.

Read more about safe volume levels and get a script to ste volume levels on your Mac here.

1 Comment

  1. If you listen in noisy environments, get active or passive cancelling/isolating earphones or earbuds so you don’t have to dial them up to 11. It’s that simple.

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