Ear Bud Headphones Causing Deafness

Apparently, ear bud style headphones are causing people in their early twenties to suffer the sort of hearing impairment that typically afflicts codgery octogenarians with bronze hearing conches sticking out of their ears.

Because the tiny phones inserted into the ears are not as efficient at blocking outside sounds as the cushioned headsets, users tend to crank up the volume to compensate.

“I have an audiologist friend at Wichita State University who actually pulls off earphones of students he sees and asks, in the interest of science, if he could measure the output of the signal going into their heads,” Garstecki said. Often he finds students listening at 110 to 120 decibels.

“That’s a sound level equivalent to measures that are made at rock concerts,” said Garstecki. “And it’s enough to cause hearing loss after only about an hour and 15 minutes.”

What is the fashion conscious music listener supposed to do now? Those behind-the-head headphones are ridiculous and those really nice luxury Sennheiser’s make one look like a modern-day break dancing enthusiast when you’re walking down the street with them fed out of your iPod. I wish these so-called hearing specialists would invent a thin wafer-like headphone that one can stick behind the ear and which can then beam music directly into my temporal lobe. Cochlear could get involved. Of course, that’s just going to fling open the door for court-ordered RIAA lobotomies. So this is bad news for everyone.

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  1. Papercutninja says:

    I’ve been contemplating buying noise-cancelling earbuds cuz the damn 4-5 train is so loud. But the battery pack is so dorky!!

  2. Ico jones says:

    The earphones that you actually insert into your ear (the Shure E2Cs, the SONY MDR-71, or the Etymotics) block out almost all external noise, so in addition to sounding much better, they let you LOWER the volume.

  3. Papercutninja says:

    I have the EX71 in-ears…in most situations it’s fine, but the subway noise is always going to drown out a lot of the sound.

  4. RandomHookup says:

    So that explains why every yahoo with an iPod has it cranked up loud enough that everyone around can hear it. I don’t want to be entertained by your music….

    and, kids, get off my lawn!

  5. DFrakes says:

    The Sony EX-series don’t block out much noise; however, true in-ear-canal headphones (“canalphones”) such as those from Etymotic, Shure, Ultimate Ears, and Future Sonics provide anywhere from -15dB to -30dB of isolation, allowing you to listen at *much* lower volumes than Apple’s earbuds or even than in-ear-buds like the Sony EX-series. Not to mention that the sound quality will be much, much better.

    What to get on a (relative) budget? When you consider that many of the good models are $250 or more, Ultimate Ears’ super.fi 3 Studio canalphones sound great for $100. If you’re a bass-lover and have always heard that canalphones have weak bass, the XtremeMac/Future Sonics FS1 will surprise you (and look good doing it) for $150. Both models are available in black or white.