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The Unseen Risks of Earphones: Tinnitus, Hearing Loss, and Wireless Devices

The Unseen Risks of Earphones: Tinnitus, Hearing Loss, and Wireless Devices

How Earphones Can Harm Our Hearing: The Unseen Consequences of Long-Wear, Noise-Canceling, and Wireless Devices

Apple AirPods and Tinnitus: A Disturbing Connection

In late November 2019, an Apple user raised a concern on the company's community forum page. He reported experiencing a persistent high-pitched ringing in his ears after using AirPods for some time. Despite being careful about his hearing health, such as avoiding loud noises and carrying earplugs, his condition seemed to worsen. He even noticed that the AirPods emitted a high-pitched tone similar to his tinnitus when nothing was playing, leading him to believe that the device was the cause of his condition. Since the post, over 3,200 Apple users have echoed similar experiences.

The Impact of Wireless Earphones on Hearing Health

Julie Prutsman, an audiologist and founder of the Sound Relief Hearing Center, has noticed a rising trend of younger individuals suffering from hearing loss and tinnitus. She attributes this to the surge in popularity of wireless earphones, particularly among the younger generation. Apple earphones, for instance, are the most popular choice among teenagers, with a 2022 survey revealing that 72 percent of teenagers owned AirPods. Prutsman believes that the problem isn't so much the type of earphones used, but rather their irresponsible usage. The convenience of wireless, noise-canceling earphones coupled with superior sound quality has led to their overuse, contributing to hearing issues.

The Dangers of High 'Dose' and Extended Earphone Use

The American Osteopathic Association estimates that 20 percent of teenagers will experience hearing loss due to headphone and earphone use. A review in the International Journal of Audiology found that between 6 percent to 60 percent of earphone users exhibit symptoms of hearing loss, such as hearing difficulties and tinnitus. Dr. Clarice Saba, a Brazilian otorhinolaryngologist, warns that even listening at low volumes for extended periods can cause damage. Prolonged earphone use can stress and damage the cochlea cells, leading to hearing loss. Prutsman adds that noise-induced damage is cumulative and dose-dependent. A 2021 study found that teenagers who use earphones for more than 80 minutes a day in a noisy environment are 4.7 times more likely to suffer hearing loss.

Potential Risks of Constant Earphone Use

Constant earphone use can create a humid environment conducive to ear infections. In-ear earphones can also cause damage to the delicate skin inside the ears, leading to infections. Furthermore, debris on unclean earphones can increase the risk of infections.

The Downside of Noise Cancellation

Noise-canceling earphones, while providing privacy, can lead to hyperacusis. This condition reduces the brain's tolerance for sound, causing even everyday noises to trigger a stressful response.

Conclusion

The convenience and superior sound quality of modern earphones have made them an integral part of our lives. However, their overuse and misuse can lead to serious hearing health issues. It's essential to use these devices responsibly and be aware of the potential risks. What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you think the convenience of modern earphones outweighs the potential health risks? Share this article with your friends and discuss it. Don't forget to sign up for the Daily Briefing, which takes place every day at 6pm.

Some articles will contain credit or partial credit to other authors even if we do not repost the article and are only inspired by the original content.

Some articles will contain credit or partial credit to other authors even if we do not repost the article and are only inspired by the original content.

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