Research is starting to indicate that people who exercise with iPods and earbud headphones in their ears may be damaging their hearing health. Researchers in Northwestern University found the same kind of hearing loss in younger people who use iPods and earbud headphones that you would typically see in aging adults. Earbuds are placed directly in the ear and can boost the sound signal by as much as six to nine decibels. It’s enough to cause hearing loss after only about an hour and 15 minutes.
The recommendation is what the researchers call the 60 percent/60 minute rule – using the MP3 devices, including iPods, no more than about an hour a day and at levels below 60 percent of maximum volume. But if you want to lower your risk of permanent hearing loss, especially in the middle ranges — the range required to hear conversations in a noisy restaurant – audiologists recommend the older style, larger headphones that rest over the ear opening. Another option is the use of noise-canceling headphones that eliminate background noise so listeners don’t have to crank the volume so high.
Offering her advice, Dolores Madden, Marketing Manager and Audiologist with Hidden Hearing said: “Generally people who are exercising are deemed to be health-conscious but, unknown to them, they may be damaging their hearing health. People need to be more careful about the type of earphones they use, and while the older ‘over-ear’ style mightn’t be the most fashionable, they are the safest type when it comes to protecting your hearing. The 60:60 rule is something that Hidden Hearing has always promoted in our branches throughout Ireland – listen for a maximum of 60 minutes, at levels at least below 60% of the maximum volume.”
Anybody who might be concerned about damaging their hearing, can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit www.hiddenhearing.ie.