Tutorials & How-Tos

Listening to Music at Safe Levels: 3 Tips to Remember

If someone was to ask you about how most noise-related hearing loss occurs, you’d probably say that it’s related to occupations that deal with loud noises on a regular basis, right? It might surprise you to find out that there’s an even more common (and insidious, because no one suspects it) possible cause: listing to music at a volume that is too loud. While there aren’t any hard numbers on this, we audiologists have seen enough cases to know that this is a serious issue.

Here are three things you need to remember to protect your ears from music-induced hearing loss:

  • Invest in over-the-ear headphones. Earbuds are so popular these days, not least because they’re included with every single smartphone purchase. However, earbuds are inherently inefficient as headphones—they don’t keep other noise out very well, leading listeners to keep turning up the volume.

Instead, invest in a good pair of over the ear headphones. For one, they sound better. Secondly, they’re better at blocking out other noise, which means you’ll hear your music just as well at lower levels. Last but not least, they’ll give you some street cred with other music fans.

  • Bring hearing protection to concerts. It doesn’t make you look inexperienced—as a matter of fact, professionals in the music industry consider hearing protection a must. Why wouldn’t you?

Believe it or not, having a good pair of earplugs at a concert can actually improve your experience. We’ve all been to concerts where there was too much bass and the music just sounded muddy. Lowering the decibel levels can actually help to bring some clarity to the sound.

We can provide generic musician hearing protection or custom hearing protection, which will allow you to enjoy the concerts at a safe level.

  • Ask your friend to help. Sometimes, it can be hard to figure out if you’re listening to music too loud in your headphones. One good general rule is not to turn up the music on your phone or MP3 player above the halfway point.

Another rule of thumb is that if you can hear the music coming out of the headphones of the person standing next to you, that music is too loud. So, put your headphones in and ask your friend if they can hear the music. If they can, you should turn it down.

Remember, all this isn’t meant to get in the way of enjoying your music—it’s meant to allow you to enjoy music into your old age by protecting your ears.

If you think you might be experiencing hearing loss due to loud music, get in touch with us to set up an appointment for a hearing test.

About Dr. Marie Vetter-Toalson Au.D.

Dr. Marie Vetter-Toalson Au.D. is the owner of Chicago Hearing Services and a Doctor of Audiology dedicated to empowering her patients and the public with greater knowledge and education around hearing health.