Avoiding Potential Hearing Loss

Misusing any portable audio device, including mobile phones, can impact your hearing and potentially lead to hearing loss. 

Prolonged exposure to loud sounds is the most common cause of preventable hearing loss. Some scientific research suggests using portable audio devices, like portable music players and wireless phones, at high volume settings for long durations may lead to permanent hearing impairments. These impairments may include noise-induced hearing loss, tinnitus (a ringing in the ear), hypersensitivity to sound and distorted hearing. Individual susceptibility can happen regardless of headphone use.

We encourage you to follow these common-sense recommendations when using any portable audio device:

  • Set your device’s volume in a quiet environment and select the lowest volume at which you can adequately hear.
  • Don’t turn the volume up to block out noisy surroundings. If you choose to listen to your portable device in a noisy environment, use noise-canceling headphones to block out background environmental noise.
  • When using headphones, if you can’t hear people speaking near you or if someone sitting next to you can hear what you’re listening to, it’s too loud. Turn the volume down.
  • Limit your listening time. As the volume increases, less time is required before your hearing could be affected.
  • Avoid using headphones after exposure to extremely loud noises such as concerts that might cause temporary hearing loss. Temporary hearing loss might cause unsafe volumes to sound normal.
  • Do not listen at any volume that causes you discomfort. If you experience ringing in your ears, hear muffled speech or experience any temporary hearing difficulty after listening to your portable audio device, discontinue use and consult your doctor. 

Learn more from the American Academy of Audiology

Learn more from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

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