Ear Buds Vs. Headphones: Which Will More Likely Make You Deaf?

Dec 22, 2015 02:10 PM EST | By Maria Leonila Masculino

As reported by the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, 16% of American teens have reported suffering from hearing loss due to loud noises. Some of these noises come from our personal devices - loud music coming from our ear buds or head phones.

But which of these two will more likely make you deaf?

Medical Daily reports ear buds may be more likely to cause ear damage than headphones, but both could be dangerous when you're listening to extremely loud music, too.

According to hearing specialist Dr. David Schessel, chief of Stony Brook Medicine's Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Division, the amount of hearing loss can be triggered by sound volume, measured in decibels (dB), and on how long you are exposed to it.

Sound below 86 dB is considered safe and listening to sounds louder than 90 dB for an average of 8 hours a day could more likely cause hearing loss, Schessel explained. As the volume increases, the amount of safe time decreases.

So how loud is a certain dB? Schessel measures a soft whisper at 30 dB, a loud busy traffic at 75 dB, subway train noise at 90 dB, a gunshot blast at 100 dB, the sound of a jet plane engine at 140 dB, and a rocket launch at 180 dB.

To take care of our ears, doctors recommend us to use headphones, which are placed on our heads like earmuffs, than earbuds, which are stuck inside our ears. Because they are closer to our ear canals, ear buds naturally add almost 9 dB of volume. Further, ear buds don't block out as much background sounds which prompts us to turn up the volume to unsafe levels.

With the use of headphones, experts also suggest that we should listen to music to a maximum volume of 60 percent for a total of 60 minutes a day.

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