American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Avoid Hearing Loss From New Technologies

Three Steps for Safe Listening

Hearing loss can result from too much exposure to sound from any source that is above 85 decibels.

Many new and popular technologies such as personal stereo systems, cell phones, and laptop computers can produce sound far above that level. Since these technologies can store more music than ever before, they are likely to be used for long and extended periods of time.

The "ear buds" (earphones) that come with some devices are not made for maximum safety. They must be inserted into the listener's ears, closer to hair cells that are vital to hearing and that can be damaged by overexposure to high decibel sound. These earphones do not block out unwanted sound. As a result, many listeners choose to increase the volume in order to better hear the desired sound.

ASHA encourages everyone to enjoy these devices safely by taking three basic steps:

  • lower the volume
  • limit the time spent listening
  • wear earphones that go around the ear or fit deeper into the ear to better isolate wanted sound and reduce the need to increase the volume

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