Life-long benefits for hearing protection

We often use in-ear headphones (hereinafter referred to as “headphones”) to listen to the radio, listen to music, play video games, make phone calls, and take online lessons, etc. This is mainly to isolate external noise or reduce the impact on others.

When it comes to headphones, many people can blurt out its advantages, such as portability, and does not affect others when used. In the case of reasonable use, headphones have indeed brought a lot of convenience to our lives. But in fact, the essence of earphones is a small speaker plugged into a person’s ears, and playing sound so close to the eardrum may cause permanent hearing damage if used improperly. Especially for teenagers, because teenagers’ eardrums are relatively fragile, even if the volume of the earphones is turned down, using earphones too frequently can damage their hearing.

The essence of a headset is a small speaker plugged into a person’s ear.

What volume is too loud?
The human ear is composed of three parts: outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. The inner ear is also called the cochlea. There are tiny hair cells inside which are used to receive and send sound information to the brain. But the huge noise can damage the hair cells of the ears, causing the cochlea to be unable to transmit sound information to the brain. Such as long-term and frequent use of earphones, as time goes by, more and more hair cells will be damaged, and hearing will become worse and worse. Hearing damage caused by headphones is a type of noise-induced hearing loss (also known as “half-deafness”). Unlike damage to other parts of the body, hair cell damage cannot be healed. A recent study showed that noise-induced hearing loss is more common among teenagers aged 9 to 11, making it difficult for them to hear clearly, or even high-frequency sounds (such as cricket calls). Hearing impairment is generally manifested as tinnitus, reduced or distorted external sounds, and so on. Although short-term improper use of earphones will not cause noise-induced hearing loss, the damage to the hair cells will continue to accumulate. When you obviously feel inaudible, the hearing loss is already very serious.

Schematic diagram of the vestibular system

In daily life, the volume of ordinary conversation is about 60 decibels, which will not damage hearing; the volume of concrete mixer pouring cement outdoors is about 85 decibels (the lower limit of hearing loss), and it will damage hearing if it lasts for 8 hours; subway Noise of about 90 decibels will be generated during operation, and long-term subway rides may also cause hearing loss. On the other hand, 70% of the maximum volume of an ordinary MP3 player has reached 85 decibels. If the volume is increased again, the sound produced by it is similar to the noise of a chainsaw and a motorcycle engine (up to 100 decibels). Hearing will be affected in less than half an hour. damage.

Magnified view of hair cells.

Use headphones correctly

The working principle of noise-canceling headphones.

Correct and moderate use of earphones can avoid noise-induced hearing loss caused by earphones. So, what is the proper use of headphones? First of all, the volume of listening to music, playing movies or playing video games does not exceed 60% of the maximum volume; secondly, the single use of headphones does not exceed 60 minutes. If you are not sure whether the volume of the headphones exceeds 60% of the maximum, you can ask other people whether they can hear the sound from the headphones. If you can hear it, it means that the volume is too loud and it is likely to cause hearing loss. At this time, the volume should be lowered until other people cannot hear it. In addition, excessive headphone volume may cause other problems besides hearing loss. For example, excessively loud music can make people unable to hear the sound of car horns, which may lead to accidents.

Ordinary earphones have become one of the standard configurations of mobile phones or music players due to their low cost and easy use. However, this does not mean that we must use in-ear headphones. Headphones are a good alternative. At present, the least damage to hearing is the headphone, which can block outside noise. In this way, you can enjoy high-quality music even if you don’t turn up the volume too much. However, long-term use of headphones or excessive volume adjustment can still damage hearing, but the risk of using in-ear headphones is not as high. In addition, because noise-canceling headphones can isolate external noise and help focus the user’s attention on the sound in the headphones, do not use them in scenes such as roads to avoid accidents.

Is your hearing okay?
Do you want to know if your hearing is impaired? If you can’t judge by tinnitus (because you don’t know about tinnitus, children with tinnitus usually don’t know it), you can check yourself whether you have the following behaviors: always turn the TV volume up very high; it’s difficult to follow verbal instructions; often pay attention Until someone is talking to you; always ask others to repeat what they just said…

To improve hearing, you can start from the following aspects.

Supplement the following substances under the guidance of a doctor

Folic acid-promote ear blood circulation and inner ear cells to produce energy.

Magnesium-helps the nervous function of the auditory system to be healthy.

Zinc-protects hair cells, strengthens the body’s immune system, and helps prevent ear infections.

B vitamins-regulate inner ear fluid levels and improve the oxygen utilization rate of inner ear cells.

Correctly handle earwax

Earwax is also known as staring. Its existence has a natural protective effect on the inner ear, which can effectively avoid the damage caused by foreign particles and the infection caused by bacteria. A small amount of earwax is beneficial. Of course, too much earwax can cause discomfort and cause slight hearing loss. Don’t try to clean the earwax by yourself. Improper methods may push the earwax deeper into the ear canal and damage the ear canal or eardrum. If you have too much earwax, you can ask a doctor or professional to help clean it up.

Stop smoking

Smoking can more than double the risk of hearing damage. This is because blood and oxygen are essential for maintaining the health of inner ear cells, and the nicotine in cigarettes prevents these two from reaching the inner ear cells. In addition, smoking can also stimulate the inner membrane of the middle ear and interfere with the normal function of the Eustachian tube. Nicotine has been shown to cause tinnitus and may interfere with the transmission of sound information from the auditory nerve to the brain.