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Simple Tips to Prevent Earphone Abuse

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Gideon Ayogu

While a lot of people are aware of the impact of noise on their hearing, many remain unfortunately oblivious to the harm they are causing until the effects of years of accumulated damage begin to manifest.

Apart from other forms of exposure to noise which may cause damage to the ear, constant use of earphones can also result in severe damage to sensitive organs including the brain, if not checked.

Yudala - Nigeria’s leading composite e-commerce company – runs the rule over the widespread abuse of these products which come in different shapes, sizes and decibel levels.

Certain products appeal to almost all classes of shoppers. An earphone or earpiece, as the case may be, is one of such ubiquitous devices.

While the majority of customers who troop into Yudala stores nationwide or visit the website fall into the youthful category, it is worth stating that the love for earphones does not appeal only to the youth.

Unarguably, the ever-increasing use of mobile phones and the love for music are major reasons for the booming market in earphones.

Music, for many in the young and adult population, is indeed a lifestyle that cannot be compromised.

When it’s time to find relief, exhilaration or succour in the clear, resonant sounds of music without constituting a nuisance to others especially in shared spaces - offices or public transport inclusive, the earphone remains the best companion. 

The earphone is also a fitting tool for making and receiving calls. It is a common sight in most corporate establishments to see company executives rely on Bluetooth-enabled earpieces, wireless devices or the plain, old earphones for this purpose. In most cases, these devices stay connected to the device and the receiver’s ear all day long…

It is important to know that improper and occasional use of earphones may pose no danger to the ear drums. Improper use or abuse, however, may pre-dispose you to severe problems. One major form of abuse is increasing the volume when you can still keep it low and achieve raft listening.

Using earphones at a sufficiently high volume level may cause trauma to cochlear structure in the inner ear which gives rise to temporary or permanent hearing impairment or deafness.

The risk is higher especially in loud places as the volume often needs to compete with the noise of the environment. Noise pollution does not only emanate from loudspeakers or vehicular horns, it largely comes from our earphones.

Effects: If not careful, that tiny earphone can also have a negative remote effect on your sense organs. Your exposure to high sound pressure levels at high volume can be damaging to sensitive structures in the inner ear which affects other sense organs such as the eye, nose and tongue. Addiction to improper usage of earphones may result to a serious damaging exposure of the cells and tissues of the inner ear which could be in a dynamic state of injury, degeneration and/or repair. This has been termed as the acute phase of noise damage.

Bacteria from the ears of different people can easily travel through your earphones if you keep sharing them without proper sanitization. In most of cases, people who use earphones regularly experience more ear wax which results in tinnitus, ear infection and even problems in hearing. Apart from experiencing numbness and pains in the ear, other effects of wrong usage of earphones are brain deficiencies.

The electromagnetic waves produced by Bluetooth-earphones can cause serious dangers for your brain. However, no strong medical evidence has yet been found to prove it. But people who are daily users of Bluetooth, headphones and earphones have been found more prone to brain-related problems. The inner ear is directly linked to the brain, even a little infection in the inner ear can directly affect the brain and can lead to serious health issues.

Symptoms: Hearing damage from earphones is more common than from loudspeakers, even at comparable volumes. This is because the earphones are very close and almost in the ear. Some of the symptoms of ear damage are hearing loss (especially in noisy places), buzzing or ringing in the ears, slight muffling of sounds, difficulty in understanding speech, hearing strange noise, etc.
 
Precaution: Wear earmuff—style headphones even though they are more expensive than the other types. The best of them all is “noise-cancelling” headphones, which reduce environmental noise. This lessens the need to crank the volume above 50 percent. It is advisable to avoid using tiny earphones that directly go into the ear canals. Those big headphones which stay outside your ears are better. However, it is risky to wear them while on the road, especially in busy commercial cities such as Lagos, Port Harcourt, Onitsha or Aba. This, in itself, may expose you to other dangers on the road such as fast moving vehicles.

You can listen to music at a reduced/ softer volume for a longer time. Always keep your volume below 60% and limit your listening to under one hour per day. You can buy the newer ear phones that offer a tighter fit to block out more environmental noise, which sometimes is the reason for the volume increase. This would allow you to listen at a lower volume and save you the risk of hearing loss. Before shopping for one, please check out the quality and decibel information.

Avoid sharing your earphones with others to avoid bacterial infection. Make sure you change the sponge cover/ rubber cover of your earphones at least once a month. If your earphones doesn’t have sponge covers, make sure you clean them always.

Conclusively, ear phones are good but understanding their proper usage is vital to keeping our other sense organs safe from damage. It is wrong to use your ear phones when you are alone in the room. This is the time you should spare your ear drums and listen directly from the phone speakers.

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