“Noise-induced hearing loss will continue to progress with continued exposure to loud sounds,” Dr. Bishop states. “Unfortunately, once the damage has occurred, it is generally irreversible,” she notes. “Age-related hearing loss, known as presbycusis, can also contribute to hearing difficulties, particularly when combined with existing noise-induced hearing loss.”
To help prevent hearing loss from headphone use, Dr. Bishop offers some specific tips. “First, opt for over-the-ear headphones instead of earbuds, as they offer better sound quality and block out surrounding noise, promoting safer listening levels,” she advises. “Second, use noise-canceling headphones or earbuds to reduce ambient noise, enabling you to listen at lower volumes,” Dr. Bishop states. “Third, adhere to the 60-60 rule: no more than 60% of the volume for no more than 60 minutes at a time.”
Offering her final tip, Dr. Bishop says it’s important to consult with a professional if you pick up on early signs of noise-induced hearing loss. “[I]f you have concerns about your hearing, consult an audiologist or licensed hearing aid dispenser for a hearing test,” she states. “Everyone should have a baseline hearing exam, followed by updated tests at least every couple of years to monitor their hearing.” In doing so, patients can help get ahead of any potential hearing issues in the future. “Early detection and treatment for hearing loss leads to better long-term outcomes,” she says.