Damage to our ears from listening to music over headphones comes not only from how loud the music is but also how long we listen at that volume. Some of the newer cell phone applications on the market help headphone users prevent hearing loss as a result of listening to music that is too loud, too sustained, or both.
The apps come in many forms from many companies, and what they all have in common is that their goal is to prevent damage to the ability of our ears to maintain healthy levels of hearing for as long as possible. Many headphone users are exposed continuously to decibel levels similar to a rock concert, according to studies that also show that some individuals in their teens or twenties have hearing ability more like people in their fifties.
Some of the apps require – and provide – a hearing test first and adapt the controls to each individual, while others provide tracking so you know when you have reached your exposure limit. Still others will automatically reduce the sound level if you have reached the danger zone.
Most of the products will work on Androids as well as iPhones. They are designed to prevent permanent ear damage, which can happen before we even realize it. The apps are not limited to headphone risks to your ears – in fact, some may be used as hearing aids or personal amplification, allow you to test your hearing to determine whether you already have suffered loss, or provide information on films with captions or subtitles at theaters near you. The apps range in price from free to about $20.
These applications of course are not a panacea, because you have to learn how to use them and be diligent and consistent in your use of them. It also helps to learn how ear damage takes place: for example, if you take a break from the music your ears are less likely to suffer hearing loss; and if you lower the volume you can listen longer before you put your hearing at risk. Also, ears are more likely to suffer damage from earbuds than noise canceling headphones in part because these headphones reduce ambient noise which means you don’t have to crank the music up so loud.
Here are a few examples of the options to illustrate the types of apps available:
There are many more options out there for products that help you monitor your risk of ear damage, and help you prevent hearing loss from loud or prolonged exposure to music or noise from your environment. We suggest that you do some research to determine which is best suited to your needs.