Earbud-related Hearing Loss
Earbuds are the headphones used with many digital music players. They fit inside the ear but don't cancel out background noise, requiring users to turn up the volume, often to 110 to 120 decibels -- loud enough to cause hearing loss after only an hour and 15 minutes. And today, people spend much more time listening to their portable players, exposing themselves to damaging noise for longer periods of time. As a result, young people are developing the type of hearing loss normally seen in much older adults. Experts recommend turning down the volume and limiting the amount of time spent listening to music players to about an hour a day. Headphones that fit outside the ear canal also help, as can noise-canceling headphones that reduce background noise so listeners don't have to crank up the volume. On the next page, learn why sitting at your desk may be hazardous to your health.