The Guide to Headphones and Hearing Loss

Headphones on a construction worker to avoid hearing loss.

How to Choose Safe Headphones for you and your family

There were an estimated 334 million pairs of headphones or earphones sold worldwide last year. If you are thinking of buying headphones it’s important to know how to choose headphones that won’t cause or exacerbate hearing loss. Here’s what you need to know about choosing safe headphones for your kids and for individuals in your life who are suffering from hearing loss.

Choosing the Best Kids Headphones

Being exposed to loud noises for prolonged periods of time is one of the top causes of hearing loss in children and young adults. One report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimated as many as 16% of American teens have some form of hearing loss that could have been prevented. While you might not be able to eliminate all of the loud noises in their lives, preventing hearing damage is largely within your control. One of the best things you can do to protect little ears is choose the right kids headphones.

Keep these tips in mind as you choose headphones for your kids:
• Opt for over-the-ear earphones instead of earbuds.
• For teens, look for headphones with a decibel limit of 85 or less.
• For younger kids and preteens, choose headphones with a decibel limit of 65 or less.
• Look for headphones specially designed to protect the hearing of young listeners.

Remember that many phones, tablets and MP3 players also have built-in volume-limiting controls. Configuring these options on your kid’s audio devices is another great way to help protect their hearing.

Limiting daily listening time is also essential to protecting your children’s hearing. Allow kids to listen to music at 60 percent of its volume for no more than 60 minutes at a time. This is known as the 60:60 rule and can go a long way towards preventing hearing loss.

Choosing Headphones for Those with Hearing Loss

Unfortunately, about 20% of the U.S. population suffers from some kind of hearing loss. Individuals who suffer from this condition often find it difficult to find headphones that truly meet their needs. Thankfully, more manufacturers are now offering headphones designed for individuals with impaired hearing. Of course, you should keep in mind that earbud styles should be avoided if you’re shopping for someone who already uses hearing aids.

Keep these tips in mind as you choose headphones for individuals who already suffer from hearing loss:
• Look for bone-conduction headphones, which allow individuals to hear sounds via vibrations in their cheekbones and jawbones instead of through the inner ear.
• Choose noise-cancelling headphones that eliminate background sound.
• Choose corded headphones instead of wireless headphones.

Regular hearing tests can also help to protect your auditory senses. If you’re concerned that you or a loved one suffers from hearing loss, schedule an appointment with one of our doctors of audiology at Ken-Ton Hearing today. Call 874-1609.
Ken-Ton Hearing, proven and trusted providers of high quality hearing evaluations and hearing loss solutions to thousands of WNY’s for over 35 years