Students risk hearing loss from earbuds

Julio Rodriguez
Staff writer

Anywhere you go on campus, you’re likely to spot a person or two with earbuds in.

Earbuds are used by a majority of students on campus to listen to their music and are also sold in the bookstore. As popular as they are, the detrimental effects that earbuds could have on hearing might lead students to reconsider their use.

“It helps me stay calm, listening to music,” said Zania Carter-Deans, a human services student. Carter-Deans stated that she uses earbuds at an average of five to six hours per day.

“I had a certain pair of ear buds that were really loud, and I didn’t realize it. I found myself not being able to hear certain things at different times,” she said.

Carter-Deans has experienced some difficulty hearing because of her headphones. If she continues to experience hearing loss, she said that she would only turn them down, but she would continue to use earbuds.

Some students like psychology major Lydia Waters choose to listen to music less to protect her hearing. “Maybe two hours a day at the most,” said Waters about how long she listens to music with her earbuds.

Mary Ann Gulyas, a professor of music history, stresses that duration of use and volume are important factors to keep in mind.

“Inside your ears are muscles, bones and different mechanisms which, when abused, will stop working,” said Gulyas.

The short-term effects may not seem to be a pressing issue, but long-term effects should be taken into consideration. Due to how far the bud goes into your ear, the damage that can be done could have permanent implications on your hearing.

Gulyas also cites the isolation that can be experienced by earbud users. Students who are more guarded or new to campus may be inclined to isolate themselves with the use of earbuds.

“They are very isolated. Maybe there are people who want to be in their own little world and don’t want to interact with their classmates, but to me, college is a great time to meet people and make friends,” said Gulyas.

Students might believe that they’re too young to feel the effects of hearing loss, but Gulyas discovered that this is not the case after viewing one of the documentaries she shares with her rock and roll class.

“There are actually 12 to 14-year-old children who are already experiencing hearing loss, and you can’t take a pill for that because it is permanent. There is no magic wand,” said Gulyas.

Hearing loss is a damaging problem that can be avoided. Gulyas recommends the 60-60 rule to her students, which involves listening to music at 60% volume for 60 minutes. Afterwards, students should give their ears a rest for an additional 60 minutes.

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