General Question

scienceNYC's avatar

How to avoid MP3 hearing loss?

Asked by scienceNYC (78points) January 15th, 2008

How can I protect my ears when listening to my MP3 player? I try to keep the volume low when I can, but on the subway, I have to turn it up all the way to hear anything. Will I be partially deaf in 10 years if I keep doing this?

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5 Answers

TheKitchenSink's avatar

Gailcalled answered your inline question perfectly, but as for your title question, I would reply “Noise canceling headphones.” They work wonders. “Drowning out” sound is aways a bad idea. Noise cancelers do it for you in a variety of ways that don’t involve just rivaling the ambient noise volume with the output volume, so your ears no longer have to bear the decibel assault. They can be a bit costly, but it’s far worth it if you’re truly concerned.

ben's avatar

Yeah, it’s all about headphone quality. If you don’t want the size and expense of active noise-canceling, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the effectiveness of “earplug-like” earbuds. They passively block the outside sound pretty well, and allow you to listen to your music quietly.

I’m very happy with these shures, they also sound a billion times better than Apples includes headphones.

Bravo for wanting to protect your hearing. The correlation between extended loud noise and hearing loss has been very well established.

Poser's avatar

I’ve been accused (more than once) of being cheap, so my suggestion may not be as high of quality as Ben’s, but I have been very happy with them. They are made of the same stuff that the “foamie” earplugs are made of. You compress the foam and stick it in your ear. It then expands to completely fill your ear canal. They are the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever worn, don’t fall out (even when I workout and sweat) like other in-ear phones do, and, most importantly to your purposes, block ambient sound.

Plus, like I mentioned, they are cheap.

steelmarket's avatar

@poser, those earbuds are great! Wish I had invented them.

@science – when you are in a really noisy environment, consider just putting in earplugs and listening to the silence. This will really help protect your hearing. Take it from me, once you lose those decibels, they don’t come back.

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