Earbuds and Earplugs; The New Big Issue



A hundred years ago safety standards were worlds different, from sunscreen to cribs, and seat belts to cigarettes. It seems like every year there is a new discovery made about different precautions to take and this can seem scary, but it also works to our advantage. The more we know the more we can protect our safety! One of the hottest buzz issues at the moment is earbuds and earplugs — more specifically how these affect our hearing health.


For our children’s sake it is important to note all the ways we can improve — knowledge is power! Recently there has been a lot of light shed on the issue of hearing damage due to the latest developments in technology. Use of earbuds has skyrocketed and according to The Hearing Health Foundation from 2000 to 2015 the number of Americans with hearing loss has doubled, while globally hearing loss has risen by 44%. This is an epidemic! Naturally with such a prevalent issue, hearing loss prevention has been brought to the forefront of many conversations. Hearing loss has always been a top health issue but never has it been so publicly discussed thanks to the internet, rising numbers, and social media.


So what can we do to help our hearing? How can we save our children’s ears? One of the biggest ways is to stay protected against Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) — namely keeping our earbuds low and keeping earplugs in during loud situations. The common misconception surrounding hearing loss is that it is mostly a health problem for older people and that it is simply a sign of aging. However, a huge part of the problem can be chalked up to damage by exposure — and it can happen to anyone.


Firstly, it is important to know the rule for earbuds or any listening device for that matter. One of the best general rules to follow is the 60/60 rule — this refers to the overall percentage the volume should be at and how many minutes a day we should be listening. Keep headphones and earbuds at 60% of the maximum volume and limit listening to 60 minutes per day. This is a simple enough rule to follow and it can actually save our ears for the future.


Secondly, what we can do is keep earplugs on hand. When a child goes away to camp send earplugs, if there is a family trip to a concert make sure to pack extras, and always provide them as an option when other children are around. The cafeteria, concerts, assemblies, sporting events or even talent shows can all be far too loud for a child’s ears and without earplugs on hand there is not much a child can do. Wearing earplugs may not be the child’s preference, but with time and understanding he or she may come to appreciate the earplugs.


Lastly, one of the best things to do in order to ensure hearing health is getting hearing check ups and knowing your hearing status. We offer free hearing evaluations so that anyone and everyone can know if any damage has been done. Hundreds of years ago preventative healthcare was nowhere near where it is now — we have the advantage of a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips! So take advantage, understand the danger of earbuds, use earplugs when necessary, and come in for a free hearing evaluation!