Q: “What level of volume is safe when listening to my phone or iPod?”
A: While the answer to this question ultimately depends upon the make and model of your phone and iPod, the type of headphones you have, and your personal risk of developing hearing damage, there are ways to determine when the music is just too loud.
If it feels uncomfortable while listening, it’s too loud. If you can’t hear what’s going on in the surrounding external environment while wearing headphones, it’s too loud. However, noise damage is caused by the volume you’re listening to and the amount of time you are listening. The higher the volume, the shorter amount of time you should listen. Take five minute breaks every hour of listening so your ears can rest. Use a volume limiter if the device has one, this will prevent you from unintentionally increasing the volume. Don’t be afraid to turn it down, this can make a difference in how long you can listen to music.
Q: “What should I do during concerts and events?”
A: Of course, it all depends upon how loud the music is, how long you’re around it, and your ability to tolerate noise at high levels. It’s always best to use earplugs designed for music listening so the sounds aren’t muffled, just reduced. When in attendance, don’t stand or sit near the sound system and take breaks.
Q: “Do my ears adjust to loud music?”
A: Absolutely not. While some may be able to tolerate more than others, you only know your level once your hearing has already been damaged.
Q: “What happens if I damage my hearing?”
A: You will most likely experience ringing sounds in your ears for at least 24 hours. Frequent exposure leads to tinnitus, which can become permanent and affect your ability to sleep and concentrate. A premature hearing loss is also a possibility, which you won’t realize immediately. This develops over time during aging, except at a quicker rate than hearing loss created by “natural” causes.