How to listen to music safely

There’s nothing that captures the feeling of being a teenager quite like music. But with more than a billion teens and young adults at serious risk of hearing loss, sadly your parents are right: you need to turn down the loud music.
 

Music is a powerful thing. Play a song and suddenly you realise you’re not the only one who’s ever felt that way. Then your parents come banging on the door telling you to turn down that damn rock music (even though it’s not even rock music, it’s post-metal-core dubstep!)

You’ve heard the warnings that you’ll lose your hearing by 40, but then that song is just begging you to crank up the volume. But sadly, as your ears get accustomed to louder sounds, the same songs don’t sound as intense, so naturally you turn up the volume more. But with more than a billion teens and young adults at serious risk of hearing loss, sadly your parents are right: you need to turn down the loud music.

Facts worth hearing

According to the World Health Organisation:

  • 40 per cent of teens have trouble detecting background noise because of common leisure activities.

  • But only one fifth of them consider themselves at risk of long-term hearing loss. 

Mobile devices and online audio streaming makes it easier than ever to access music. Then there are all the concerts, music festivals and clubs. You need to protect your ears from long term damage.

But hang on, isn’t this just like junk food? One of those cheeky habits that you know isn’t great for you but makes life a little more fun? While it’s hard to argue against the positive effects music has on us, unlike junk food, the long-term effects aren’t often considered because…no one really talks about them.

Time to make some changes

But that doesn’t mean you need to live with the sound of silence. Here are tips for safer listening.

  • If your music is being played at less than 85 decibels (about as loud as a running dishwasher) then you shouldn’t have any problems. Listening to louder music for eight hours or longer is when damage starts taking place.

  • If you want to crank the volume keep it minimal. A general rule of thumb is if you can hear someone talk to you without shouting within arms-length.

  • Concert and club goers should try to make ear plugs fashionable while musicians need to be investing in protective ear-wear.

  • If noise exposure is unavoidable make sure you’re getting regular hearing tests (you can even do a test online

  • If there is any damage present there are solutions. Hearing devices, rehabilitation, education and empowerment are all effective methods to address and help with hearing loss of varying kinds and are incredibly cost effective.

Next steps

In the meantime, it’s important that you’re aware of every day habits that could be having negative impacts on your health and preventing any permanent damage from taking place. So, if music is leaking out of your headphones, make sure your hearing isn’t leaking out with it.