Our earbud world isn't so kind to our eardrums. In fact, according to a study by Audiologists Children's Hospital Boston, 80 percent of Americans listen to music too loudly when using earphones. In the vast majority of listeners, people overcompensated for anticipated or perceived background noise.
The audiology study summary is available here, but if you suspect your ears are at risk, here are five headphone options that may help to protect your precious hearing.
1. V-Moda Over-Ear Noise Isolating Headphone: $99.95
In general, phones that rest over your ears instead of inside your ears are considered better for protecting your hearing. This noise-cancelling model has memory foam on the ear cushions so as you wear them, the headphones become more fitted to your head, which reduces ambient noise and shifting.
2. dB Logic EP-100 Earbuds: $29.99
If you want to remove the temptation of turning up the tunes too loudly, consider these dB Logic buds. The max volume is 85 decibels, which is the current limit from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. They are also a great option for kids and come in a wide variety of colors.
3. AudioTechnica Premium Solid Bass In-Ear Headphones: $119.95
options within the ear, making it possible to find the "right" spot for optimal hearing. They also promise to noise cancellation with their double air chamber design.
4. AfterShokz Bluez Open Ear Wireless Headphones: $99.95
These headphones rest on your head instead of in your ear. The open ear design means sound goes in through the part of your ear right below your temple. The technology is called "bone conduction" and reportedly also helps users be more aware of their surroundings when listening outside or in the gym, for example.
5. Maxwell Safe Soundz Headphones: $19.99
While they don't make Safe Soundz for adults, they do offer a variety of over ear headphone designs based on age ranges and sizes for children. Similar to the dB Logic line, these headphones reach maximum decibel based on the age of the wearer. In other words, younger children's headphones should only reach 65 decibels while pre-teens can safely listen to 85 decibels.
If you're not willing to drop some cash on new headphones today, just turn down those buds a couple of notches. Most ears will readjust to lower volumes after a week.
(Photo Credit: Anthony Nguyen for Apartment Therapy)