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Tips for using headphones without damaging your hearing

The headphones, which were already companions in the lives of many people and the use only increased because of the home office, since many people use the device for meetings or even to listen to music, especially when living with other people. However, when using headphones it is necessary to observe the volume of the headset so that it does not damage your hearing.

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According to a study published in 2015 by the World Health Organization (WHO), about 1.1 billion adolescents and young adults can suffer considerable hearing loss. Also according to the study (in English), this calculation is also done by exposing people to places where loud sound is standard, such as ballads, bars and sporting events. But the use of headphones can easily be included in this account.

How does the headset damage your hearing?

The cochlea is the structure located in our ear responsible for the function of making us hear the sounds that are in our environment. Among the various structures that help the cochlea do its job are hair cells, which simply absorb sounds (high and low), transform them into electrical waves and take them to the brain in the format that it recognizes as sound.

It is estimated that a normal human being has between 15,000 and 18,000 hair cells, a very impressive number when you think about the size of an ear. But it turns out that they are very delicate and, when exposed to high volumes, are destroyed without the possibility of regeneration.

Hence the account is simple: the smaller the number of cells, the less the variation of sound

that they can capture.

Although these losses are more tangible in cases of people who are close to explosions or shootings, the same process happens when exposed to environments with very loud music: the difference is that this process takes longer. However, if nothing is done, the result is the same in the long run.

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What can be done to preserve hearing?

There are some simple tips that can be adopted to preserve your hearing health;

It is recommended to use headphones for a maximum of 8 hours a day and at a maximum height of 80 decibels. There are free apps in the app stores that do this calculation, but when in doubt, leaving the headphones with the volume less than 50 already significantly reduces the damage;

If you go to concerts or games, a valid tip is to use a headset with the sound turned off to reduce the noise absorbed from the environment;

Give preference to headphones that are external to the ear (other than in-ear / In-ear), to decrease the chances of hearing damage. Regardless of the model, clean the device from time to time to avoid the creation of bacteria;

Another important tip, but not directly related to the headphones, is not to use the flexible rods (better known as cotton swabs) inside the ear canal. The right thing is to use them only on the outside;

Finally, when using headphones, be aware if you experience sensations such as ringing, clogged ears or hearing loss. When in doubt, consult an otolaryngologist.


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