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Headphone Hearing Health
Basic hearing safety means being aware of how long and how loud you listen. Give your headphones a sound check by holding them out in front of you. If you can hear your music clearly, your headphones are likely too loud. When using any set of headphones, whether earbuds or over-the-ear headphones, follow the 80/90 rule of thumb: If you listen at 80 percent of the maximum volume, do so for no more than 90 minutes per day.
Pass on low- or mediocre-quality headphones, which are less effective in transmitting details of sound. People tend to "crank it up" when they can't hear certain notes, making hearing damage more likely.
Consider noise-canceling headphones. Many listeners tend to pump up the volume to overcompensate for loud environments, such as a flight or commuter train. While noise-canceling headphones are pricier than regular headphones, they help to reduce ambient sound, so you can enjoy your music without turning it up to unsafe levels.
Apps can help you limit hearing damage by monitoring listening habits for you and your family. HearAngel monitors the output of your headphones, sets limits for children, and gives feedback when you're in danger of overexposure.
Be aware of the signs of hearing loss. Symptoms include: ringing or buzzing in the ears, difficulty hearing at loud events, muffled sounds, and a need to continually turn up volume levels to hear clearly. If you have experienced any or all of these signs, be sure to contact your doctor for a hearing test.
With these tips you can still enjoy your portable devices and continue hearing loud and clear for years to come.
Sources: Consumer Reports, Headphonesty
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