How do headphones exactly affect ears?

I normally listen to loud music on my headphones when in office, but lately I am beginning to experience a ringing sound in the ears. How exactly do headsets affect ears?

Dear Doctor,

I normally listen to loud music on my headphones when in office, but lately I am beginning to experience a ringing sound in the ears. How exactly do headsets affect ears? Sheebah

 

Dear Sheebah,

 

Sensation of “ringing sound in the ears”, or tinnitus is usually the result of chronic exposure to loud sounds or noise. It can occur after using headphones for listening to loud music, for long time, chronic exposure to sounds of heavy machinery as in factories. Along with these sounds, there may be associated nausea and or vomiting and dizziness. Due to chronic exposure to noise, one can have irritability, early fatigue, sleep disturbances, depression, e.t.c. mental symptoms as well. If the exposure to loud noise continues unabated, it can lead to reduced hearing acuity as well as deafness over time.

 

The head phones plugged inside the ears can be a source of irritation and minor injury. if unclean they can carry microbes and introduce infection inside the ears. Risk of infection is augmented with shared ear phones. The electromagnetic waves produced by ear phones and head phones can cause serious brain problems. This is a serious hypothesis, postulated by scientists but yet needs scientific studies for back up.

The intensity of developing symptoms depends on the amount of exposure to loud noise, duration of exposure, any other sources of noise, any co existing ear infections or problem and genetic factors as well. The risk augments with use. Listening to 100 decibels (unit of sound) or more for 15 minutes daily enhances the risk of hearing loss.

One should avoid listening to loud music continuously with ear phones. If at all necessary, use big ear phones that stay outside in the ears. Avoid tiny ones that go directly in the ear canals, as blockade of ear canals augments risk of tinnitus. Avoid sharing of ear phones as this carries risk of causing infection in ears. The outer cover of ear phones should be kept clean to avoid deposition of microbes over them.

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