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Your Sense Of Hearing Could Use A Vacation Too

Do your ears a favor in 2012 and resolve to turn down the volume.

headphones

Photo: Adrian Whelan (Flickr)

While over-the-ear headphones like these are safer than earbuds, you still should take care not too listen too loud or too long.

As 2011 draws to a close, lots of us will be taking aim at some of those less-than-healthy habits with New Year’s resolutions.

But if you’re already a non-smoking, daily-exercising vegan who never procrastinates, you may be having some trouble pinpointing a facet of your lifestyle that needs fixing.

Try this little interrogation on for size: “How am I treating my ears?”

Teens And PLDs

A study conducted by scientists at Tel Aviv University revealed that a large number of teens are listening to personal listening devices (PLDs) like iPods way too loud and way too much.

Indeed, researchers anticipate that if trends continue many of today’s youth will start to notice hearing impairment as early as their 30s!

This is a major bummer in a time when the quality of audio technology is the best it’s ever been and only promises to keep getting better and better!

Protect Yourself

Of course, it’s not just teens who are at risk, but all of us who use headphones and music to isolate ourselves from the outside world day to day.

Thankfully there’s a couple simple things we can do to keep our ears keen. The first is obvious: keep the volume at 60 percent or less. This is especially important when using earbuds, which introduce sound directly into the ear canal.

Second, if excessive ambient noise means you have to turn up your PLD, be sure to limit the time you listen at higher decibel levels. Even five minutes a day listening to your iPod full-blast can hurt you!

See the links below for more detailed guidelines.

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Ben Alford

Ben Alford works in Indiana Public Media's online dimension and holds an M.A. from Indiana University Bloomington's History and Philosophy of Science department. When not vegetating in front of a computer screen or geeking out over a good book, he can be found outside exploring.

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