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Loud music and things we don't know

We are the gadget generation - and whether it is our MP3s (which include iPods and other mp3 players) or Smartphones, we would love to stay connected, listening to our favorite music or the latest youtube video, tik-tok and instagram.

But we could do a lot of harm to our hearing.

In our busy and often noisy lives, putting on your headphones can be a great way to escape. But usually, we listen to music at high volume, often just to drown out the noise around us. Adolescents now face the same hearing problem as their parents' generation but at a much younger age.

How does loud noise damage the ear? People with good hearing have tiny hair cells that line up the inner ear and transmit signals to the brain, which are interpreted as sounds. Listening to loud music can flatten these hairs though returning to their normal position, the noise damage for large time may cause them to break sharply.

The problem - and what many people do not realize - is that they the hairs do not regenerate and so any damage is permanent. The damage is not instantaneous. It may take many months or even years for the result to become apparent. But listening to loud music for a long time will gradually weaken the structures in the ear and this can cause problems such as ringing or involuntary hearing loss.

There are some signs to look out for when your hearing is affected.

The first is any ringing or buzzing you hear when you stop your MP3s.

The second is to find that when you turn off your device in a quiet environment, other sounds may appear confused.

The louder you hear something, the greater the damage to your ears.

It is difficult to quantify a safe level because the performance of each device is different. However, a good rule of thumb is the 60/60 rule. You should only listen to music at 60% volume and you should not listen to it for more than 60 minutes.

Ordinary MP3 headphones do not seal the ear and let it pass external noises, often urging people to increase the volume.

There are types of headphones that can help reduce damage: • Those with electronic restrictions that actively cancel out the noise. High quality headphones are a good investment because they will block more ambient noise, allowing the user to reduce the volume and listen to music even more comfortably.

Listening to music non-stop does not give the ear cells a chance to recover. So, you should always try to have at least 10 minutes of silence every time you listen to music.

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