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Utah: 435-688-8991 Nevada: 702-896-0031

How to Gauge If Your Teen’s Music Volume Is Causing Hearing Damage

If you have a teenager, you know they love their music. And no matter their musical tastes or listening device, they aren’t afraid to crank up the volume. But as a parent, you might be concerned about potential hearing loss. So, what elements of their listening habits might impact their hearing, and how might you read the warning signs? Let’s take a look.

What May Cause Damage

While anything you hear can play a role in hearing safety, including television, podcasts, or environmental sounds, music probably makes up a large percentage of what your teens blasts into their ears. To protect their hearing, keep an eye on their listening habits. Whatever they listen to, there are a few main factors that can lead to hearing damage.

  1. Volume
    Your parents probably told you the same thing you tell your kids, and it holds true. Volume plays a big role in the potential for hearing loss in anyone, no matter their age. Since the decibel output of every device will vary, it’s hard to say one volume level or another is safe. However, something you should keep in mind is commonly referred to as the 60% rule. The rule states that you should listen at no more than 60% volume on whatever device you’re using. Following this rule can help both you and your teens avoid excessive loudness.
  2. Input
    Listening to loud noise can cause hearing loss, no matter where it comes from. However, headphones or earphones can complicate things further. You might think this is because the sound is delivered right to the ear. While this can play a role, it’s not the dominating factor. In reality, damage is more likely to ensue because most ear phones or headphones don’t cancel outside noise, leading many teens to turn the volume up louder. When choosing which headphones or earphones to buy, look for models that cancel outside noise, or have some kind of sealing ability to keep environmental noise at a minimum. This will help your teen keep the volume at a reasonable level.
  3. Exposure time
    The 60% rule actually has a second part. While keeping volume at 60% or less, also encourage your teen to take a break from their music every 60 minutes. For every hour of music, shoot for at least 10 minutes of quiet to allow your ears to recover. They may have an MP3 player with 50,000 songs, but make sure they aren’t listening to all of them in a day.

If you notice your teen saying, “what?” constantly, or turning up the volume on their music, TV or computer, it might be time to see a hearing specialist. If you are concerned about their listening habits, talk to them about how much time they’re spending with their music, and where their volume level should be. Ensure they have quality equipment so they get maximum enjoyment without maximum decibels. Your teen should be able to enjoy their music, but keeping an eye (or an ear) on how they are listening is key to their long term hearing health.

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