Health / Lifestyle

Why Experts Recommend A 60%/60 Minute Rule For Earphone Use

60%/60 Minute Rule For Earphone Use

For previous generations, earphone use wasn’t even a consideration. Back then, the idea of putting anything in your ear would’ve seemed like madness, let alone powering loud music through it. And, as a surprising rise in millennial hearing problems highlights, we probably all could’ve done with that same outlook.

In reality, though, earphones and ear pods are now a common part of modern life, and they’re not going anywhere soon. Yet, with current stats showing that Gen Z is facing even more early hearing loss than their millennial counterparts, something’s got to give.

For experts, the implementation of a 60%/60 minute rule seems like the only solution, encouraging users to listen at no more than 60% volume, for no longer than 60 minutes. But, why do experts think this step is necessary, and should we follow it? 

Minimizing Noise Exposure

Excessive noise exposure is one of the main reasons for early hearing loss. As can be seen from this article about tinnitus: causes and treatments simplified, loud noises can also contribute significantly to the prevalence of problems like tinnitus. To overcome this, many modern devices have earphone noise restrictions or warnings. More generally, however, experts believe that listening at no more than 60% volume for limited periods can make a huge difference to noise-related damage. Given that noise-related hearing loss is irreversible due to nerve damage, we could all benefit from heeding this advice. Even if you’ve already noticed hearing loss or tinnitus symptoms like buzzing or ringing in your ears, volume reductions can go a long way towards preventing the situation from getting worse. 

60%/60 Minute Rule For Earphone Use
Reducing the Risks of Infection

While it’s rare, experts believe there is some risk of infection during earphone use due to changes in the ear canal flora. Infections seem to be especially prevalent with certain types of earphones, with Samsung’s Galaxy Bud Pros causing so many infections that Samsung has issued refunds and paid medical bills. Generally speaking, it seems that earphones that use common allergen materials like nickel are particular infection risks, which could lead to secondary issues like tinnitus, and reversible hearing loss. By minimizing the amount of time we use these products, it’s possible to both lessen any reactions and reduce the risks of damaging ear flora. All of which can keep infections at bay. 

Encouraging Healthy Habits

60%/60 Minute Rule For Earphone Use

More generally, excessive earphone use can cause health problems like headaches, as well as keeping us disconnected from the world. In the same way that it’s recommended we limit our screen time, reducing our use of earphones can, therefore, prove useful for everything from overcoming headaches to improving socialization. Reducing the amount of time we spend listening to common options like podcasts, audiobooks, and music through our earphones can also encourage us to exercise more, and spend more time in nature. This can have huge benefits on our health in general and makes the 60%/60 minute rule more than worth following. 

Next time you reach for your earphones, ask yourself – could you benefit from following the 60%/60 minute rule this time around?

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