Proper Headphone and Earbud Use for Auditory Health

Headphones and earbuds are great tools that allow students to listen to educational content in a private, individualized way; however, improper use can lead to discomfort and even hearing damage. Here, the educational product providers at SchoolMart detail best practices when using headphones and earbuds to ensure students maintain good auditory health.

Do Not Use Headphones or Earbuds for More Than One Hour

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1.1 billion people ages 12-35 are at an increased risk for hearing loss, and this risk is directly linked to the increased use of headphones and earbuds. In order to combat this risk, WHO suggests limiting headphone or earbud use to no more than one hour per day. For students, this should include no more than one hour per day for both educational and recreational purposes combined, and it is best for students to take occasional breaks when using headphones or earbuds for a consecutive hour.

Keep the Volume at 60% or Lower

The average personal audio device reaches 105 decibels at maximum volume, which is equivalent to the noise a chainsaw makes. After just four minutes, this level of noise can have a permanent negative impact on hearing. Because of this, experts recommend keeping the volume on audio devices somewhere between 60 and 85 decibels, which is typically equivalent to 60% of the maximum volume of most devices. Sounds that register at 85 decibels or less are not considered damaging to hearing; however, those who have already sustained hearing damage may need to stay at the lower end of the spectrum in order to prevent further damage.

Know the Signs of Hearing Damage and Loss

In order to prevent hearing damage and loss, it is important to know the signs that it is occurring. Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is most commonly associated with hearing loss, and approximately 95% of people who suffer from tinnitus have suffered some level of hearing loss. Other symptoms may include sensitivity to sound and difficulty hearing in loud or public spaces.

If a student is uncertain whether their audio device is too loud, have them perform the distance test—if they can remove their headphones or earbuds and still hear noise an arms-length away, the volume should be turned down until the noise is barely noticeable or impossible to detect at that distance. Another way to know is if they hear a ringing noise in their ears after using headphones or earbuds for a prolonged length of time. This means that the sound was likely too loud, and that they should lower it in the future to prevent further damage.

Put Earbuds in the Proper Way

For maximum comfort and ease of use, it is important to ensure that students place earbuds into their ears in the correct way. While many choose to simply place them in their ear, with the cord hanging from the bottom of the ear, this is actually not the correct way to wear earbuds. Instead, students should loop the cord around their ear, and place earbuds into the ear from the top of the ear, and not the bottom. In this way, earbuds will fit more comfortably, and will be less likely to fall out of the ear over time.

Purchase Earbuds and Headphones for Your Classroom at SchoolMart

With proper use and understanding of hearing damage and loss, students and educators can use earbuds and headphones in a safe and responsible manner. If you are in need of earbuds or headphones for your classroom, as well as a variety of other educational tools and products, visit SchoolMart today!