September 01, 2013

Teens (People) Who Listen to Music Loudly... A Possible Solution

Now parents may not like this, but I do have a possible solution to getting teenagers to turn the music volume down so not to damage their hearing... Get them noise-cancelling headphones.

As an occasional audiophile myself, I understand that when listening to music with headphones, you invariably HAVE to turn the music volume up in order to hear everything clearly, especially when listening to music in noisy environments. Such environments include city sounds while walking, airplane buzz when flying, and car engine/road drone while driving.

Test this out yourself next time you drive a car. First, listen to the car radio with the engine turned off. Note the volume.

Now, see how well you hear the music from the car radio when driving on the highway.

It's the main reason why one may constantly fiddle with the volume knob while driving. It's also why people have to raise their voice in order to be heard in a loud restaurant.

For teens and other people who are audiophiles, the only solution is to turn the music volume up in order to hear the music clearly... which can damage their hearing over time.

So what to do? One can listen to music only when the environment is silent, but that's not going to happen for music-loving individuals who want to hear it all the time.

The other solution is to get a nice pair of noise-cancelling headphones.

A good pair of NC headphones significantly reduces if not eliminates the buzz, drone, white noise of the environment which is a very common cause of requiring a volume increase.

Now, not all NC headphones are created equal. Bose NC headphones are perhaps the best but are pricey at around $300.

However, cheaper brands do not noise-cancel at all or do so poorly even if they are labelled as noise-cancelling.

Generally speaking, Bose is by far the best followed by Panasonic, Sony, and AKG. You can read a Pogue's New York Times review of different noise-cancelling headphones here.

So... perhaps you can make a deal with your teen or adult loved one to turn the music volume down to protect their ears by getting them a Bose NC headphones which come in headphones and earbud models. Available for purchase on Amazon.

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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