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Doctors: Earbuds, loud music to blame for trend of hearing loss earlier in life

August 15, 2016

HOUSTON (NBC News) - Listen up, though it may be hard to.

Doctors are noticing a trend that people are losing hearing earlier in life.

They believe headphones - specifically earbuds - might be the source of the problem.

"Music has never been more accessible or more personal," said audiologist Caryn McLellan. "Kids are listening to it in school, at home, on the bus, so it's constant noise exposure all the time."

She said the volume of your music should not be more than 50 percent of what your device is capable of.

"The louder it gets, the less time you have," she said.

Your ears cannot handle noise above 85 decibels for an extended amount of time.

"So you can listen to your earbuds at this level for about two and a half hours before it starts causing permanent hearing loss," McLellan said after testing numerous people.

Most people can tolerate reasonable volumes for a short time.

"Very safe, less than 80 decibels, so you can listen to that all day long if you want," McLellan said.

"So at about 110 decibels, you have 90 seconds before it starts damaging your hearing," McLellan said.

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