How Many Hours A Day Do You Listen To Your iPod Or MP3 Player


Dr. Alison Vega Ascent Audiology hearingBy Dr. Alison Vega Of Ascent Audiology and Hearing

How many hours a day do you listen to your iPod or MP3 player?  Exposure to loud noise or music for more than one hour at a time has the potential to cause permanent hearing loss.  Limiting the time you are using headphones can help to prevent the long-term effects of noise induced hearing loss.

When we are exposed to sound that is too loud or listen for too long, the hair cells in our inner ear can be damaged, causing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). The hair cells are small sensory cells that send auditory information to the brain. Once damaged, our hair cells cannot grow back.  People who have been exposed to loud music may temporarily complain of ringing in the ears (also known as tinnitus) or of a sensation of fullness, as if their ears are plugged.  People who have permanent hair cell damage may complain that they “can hear but they cannot understand speech.”

Completely avoiding noise is probably unrealistic.  One way to help prevent damage to your hearing system is to use custom made shells to fit over the top of the ear buds. By routing the sound through your ear canal properly, there is less leakage, and less of a need to “crank” the volume.  There are also settings on most iPods and MP3 players to help set a maximum volume governor.

Music is too loud if:

If you can hear someone else’s music while standing next to them

If someone begins to talk to you but you cannot hear them over the music

Being aware of loudness levels, distance from the source of the sound and duration of exposure to the sound are all equally important factors in protecting one’s hearing.  A good rule of thumb is to avoid noises that are “too loud” and “too close” or that last “too long.”

About The Author

Dr. Alison Vega is the audiologist at Ascent Audiology & Hearing in West Olympia.  She recently opened her private practice audiology clinic and provides hearing loss diagnosis, treatment and counseling for patients of all ages.  Dr. Vega is married and has two young sons.  They live in Lacey and love being part of the Olympia community.  She states “It’s the diversity of the greater Olympia community that I enjoy the most; the people and the landscape.”

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