This morning in Aging In Style.

Are AirPods Bad For Your Hearing?

Dr. Mary Kay Uchmanowicz, AuD., CCC-A from Twin Rivers Hearing Health joined us.

Are AirPods Bad For Your Hearing?
(Beats, other personal listening devices)

Yes, listening to sounds above 85 dB are harmful and can lead to permanent hearing loss
(not just music, but video games, movies, TV programs)

I. Typical sound levels

II. How does it cause permanent loss?
A. Loud sounds destroy hair cells in inner ear (cochlear) which leads
to permanent hearing loss.
B. Need to monitor how loud your music is. If you are listening at a level
above 85 dB it leads to permanent loss. The louder you listen the worst
it gets. Safe listening times per day are:
90 db – 8 hours
95 db – 4 hours
100 db – 2 hours
105 db – 1 hour
C. Current STAT 10% of people between 13 – 23 who listen to devices
above 85 dB will develop permanent loss 30% higher than it was 20 years ago.

III. What’s the problem with AirPods?

STAT: According to Nielson music “on average people spent slightly more than
32 hours per week listening to music approximately 4.5 hours a day.

A. People’s behavior
1. Turn volume up 13 dB higher than background noise
i.e. noisy coffee shops (i.e. Starbucks) 75 dB
subway platform 80 dB

Do the math – if on subway platform you are listening at 93 dB.
At that level you shouldn’t listen more than 4 hours (less than
national average).
B. AirPods send sound directly in the ear. This increases loudness up
to 10 dB. You get use to the level (seems normal to you) and you turn
it up.

IV. Apple’s Current Solution
A. AirPods Pro – noise cancellation 20 dB
B. IOS 13 Health App monitors sound in environment, audio level,
days, events and trends.
C. Apple Watch – can measure dB and send notifications when
Ambient sound levels in environment exceed 80 dB.

V. Conclusion and Take Away
1. AirPods safe if people don’t repeatedly listen at levels above 85 dB.
2. Use smart phone dB meter to measure ambient noise.
3. Don’t turn up AirPods to level that is harmful.
4. Use manufacturer technology
5. Turn noise down or off if listening to loud music. Turn off or lower and give
your ears a rest.

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