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Hearing Loss From Headphones – It’s an Epidemic!

How many of you listen to music on headphones?  If so, what kind?  The little bitty cheapo earbuds that come with your mp3 players?  Do you crank up the volume so you can REALLY hear that Zac Brown song? Well, you’ve been warned before.  Time to warn you again!

We at the Sean and Richie Show wear headphones a good 4 to 5 hours a day.  I personally have been on WGNA for 23 years.  Boy, I’d hate to do THAT math right now. That’s a boatload of hours under the “cans” as they say in the radio biz.   But we do have extra “doodads” that help to control the volume a little bit.  An example is something like this:

headphone mixer
photo by Richie Phillips

It’s a headphone mixer.  so 4 or 5 people can be in our production room with headphones on, but they can all adjust their own levels independently to their liking. For example I try to keep it at 50% volume or less when I’m on the air.  But then again, after 2 decades of exposure to loud music, you do start to wonder.

For you teenagers who were brought up during the “ipod” generation however they are getting more and more worried about you.  You also tend to go for the “in the ear”  earbuds, where you’re getting a direct hit ,shall we say.  According to an article in, it’s not the KIND of music that’s causing your problem, it’s the volume:

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder found that while most people can use their MP3 player for 4.6 hours a day at 70 percent volume without experiencing damage, just five minutes of listening a day with the volume at full blast will put them at risk for serious damage.

Headphone ear damage
photo by Richie Phillips

Katie Couric recently covered this subject on CBS news one nite on her “Notebook” segment

I guess the consensus of opinion is that  the noise cancelling type of headphone is better for you . You don’t have to have it that loud (the headphones decrease the outside noise so you can keep them at a more comfortable volume), but you should still heed the warnings.   We want you to have your hearing for many years to come.   (Where would WGNA be if you couldn’t hear it?)

Do you know anyone who has suffered hearing loss like this?  We’d like to know.  Comment below!

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