Exercise- Induced Hearing Loss?
By Sarah Klimasewski, Au.D Hart Hearing Centers
Whether you’re hitting the pavement or hitting the gym, if you’re like most people, you’re probably “plugged in” to your music. You may be paying a price for that fit body, however: old ears!
Today’s personal listening devices, such as iPods and MP3 players, have the ability to produce sound levels as high as 120-125 dB when at full volume. Listening at this level would cause hearing loss after only 7 minutes! Levels above 85 dB are considered dangerous and have the potential to permanently damage hearing. This super output ability; coupled with tiny earphone placed directly in the ear canal, can lead to trouble.
Here are some guidelines to Listen Safely:
1) Do the Talk Test. Have someone speak to you at a normal volume. Can you hear them? Great! No? Turn it down until you can.
2) Use different earphones. The smaller style may be discreet, but placing the earphone that much closer to the middle ear increases the output by about 7 dB (this is a lot!). The type that cover the outer ear will help block out sounds around you, lessening the need to turn up the volume. Custom made earphones (about $150) do an even better job.
3) Use the Bass Boost, if available. At lower volumes, more low frequencies (bass) give the feeling of more volume, without the harmful affects.
Also, keep in mind the music level in group classes may be dangerously high. Don’t be afraid to ask to turn it down or wear your own earplugs.
So keep up the good work! Just be sure to listen wisely to ensure your heart’s ability to pump won’t outlast your ears ability to hear!
Special thanks for this article to: Sarah Klimasewski