Tips to Protecting Hearing from Holiday Electronics

Parents and children giving or receiving an electronic device with music this holiday season should give their ears a gift as well by pre-setting the maximum decibel level to somewhere between one-half and two-thirds maximum volume.

Any sound more than 85 decibels (dBs) exceeds what hearing experts consider to be a safe level and some MP3 players are programmed to reach levels as high as 120 dBs at their maximum.

Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center Director Ron Eavey, M.D., who also chairs the department of otolaryngology, said the new generation is especially susceptible to hearing loss when they listen to music with headphones or earbuds either too long or too loud.

One preventive measure is to pre-set the device so that it cannot be turned up to damaging levels.

"As parents, we can't hear how loud their music is when they have the earbuds in so this is an important step," Eavey said. "I can tell you that if you hear the music coming from their headphones it is too loud, but an easier way to know for sure is to preset the device. This will still allow them to listen to and enjoy their music but will safeguard against ear-damaging volume levels."

Eavey said the problem stems from the fact that our brains love music and inherently want the volume turned up but our ears can't always handle that volume adjustment. "If you are walking down the street listening to your MP3 player and there is a jackhammer across the street, most people will turn up their MP3 player to drown out the jackhammer," he said.

Anne Marie Tharpe, professor and chair of Hearing and Speech Sciences, said that noise-induced hearing loss is often not obvious right away, especially with young children. "The symptoms can initially be subtle and include difficulty hearing when there is background noise," she said. "Such losses can result in significant challenges for children in classroom settings."

It is also important to remember that higher resolution music downloads will allow for better sound at low volume levels. Music with little detail, or lower resolution, will play at a lower quality.

Product Showcase

  • Glove Guard® Clip

    Safety should never be compromised, especially when it comes to proper glove usage. The Glove Guard® clip enhances safety by encouraging employees to keep their gloves with them at all times. This reduces the risk of accidents and injuries on the job. By ensuring everyone has their gloves readily available, we help promote a culture of safety and efficiency. The Glove Guard® clip is designed to withstand the toughest work environments. Constructed from robust materials made in the USA, it can endure extreme conditions, including harsh weather, and rigorous activities. 3

  • Safety Shower Test Cart

    The Safety Shower Test Cart speeds up and simplifies emergency shower tests, ensures you stay in compliance with OSHA regulations, and significantly reduces testing costs. With 7 unique features, the cart makes testing easy, effective, and efficient. You can test water clarity, flow, temperature, and spread—all at the same time! Most safety shower testing kits create a mess, take too much time to use, and don't fully help you stay in compliance with OSHA & ANSI standards. Transform the way you test emergency showers with Green Gobbler Safety. 3

  • NoiseCHEK Personal Noise Dosimeter

    SKC NoiseCHEK is the easiest-to-use dosimeter available! Designed specifically for OEHS professionals, SKC NoiseCHEK offers the easiest operation and accurate noise measurements. Everything you need is right in your palm. Pair Bluetooth models to your mobile devices and monitor workers remotely with the SmartWave dB app without interrupting workflow. Careful design features like a locking windscreen, sturdy clip, large front-lit display, bright status LEDs, and more make NoiseCHEK the top choice in noise dosimeters. Demo NoiseCHEK at AIHA Connect Booth 1003. 3

Featured