Hi Geektimes! What if you bought yourself an excellent expensive headphone, and only the sound card of your computer can handle them? A smartphone is barely audible, a laptop is a little better, but, again, unable to shake normal “ears”
That’s right, you need to use a signal amplifier. Today we will talk about a portable amplifier (which hides in itself several more interesting functions), as well as about ear health in general.
To be honest, the device is so simple and uncomplicated that it is quite difficult to write more than one A4 page about it (without resorting to complex studies of the frequency response quality at the input and output). A small box decorated in a typical Creative style: a laconic E1 on the front and an image of the device itself. Everything.
All sorts of boring
Listening to loud music for a long time and often is harmful – a fact that has set the teeth on edge. And listening to it through headphones when the speakers are in close proximity to the eardrum is even more harmful, which is also not secret knowledge. Some experts generally argue that listening to music in any headphones is harmful to health. But even so, few people will be able to find the strength to refuse listening to their favorite songs on the way, during a long wait, etc. But deafness after a dozen years is also hardly interesting to anyone. So what can you do? Is there a middle ground? Of course there is. We will talk about it further.
In fact, everyone has excellent free protection against too loud noises on their eardrums. And from the best producer – nature. We are talking about special muscles inside the auricle, which, with strong air fluctuations, contract and block the movement of the auditory ossicles. This softens the sound shock to the membranes. However, the problem is that these muscles cannot be kept in tension for a long time (like any other muscle in the body), so they soon relax (“charge” is enough for a maximum of about one hour, if the sound was really loud and intense). After that, the ears again remain without protection, and the eardrums begin to work, as they say, for wear. Long-term aggressive exposure to noise can lead not only to their “wear”, but also to perforation, that is, ruptures. And this, in simpler terms, is hearing loss or even absolute deafness. And although in our time there have long been methods of hearing restoration after perforation of the membranes – i.e. they grow together, there is nothing irreversible here – this is an extremely long process, moreover, painful. And the quality of life is significantly reduced.
The permissible level of sustained noise according to sanitary standards is 55 decibels during the day (this is roughly equivalent to loud face-to-face conversation or the “background” noise of a public place) and 40 decibels (normal adult speech) at night. And it’s not about the law on violation of the rest of citizens. Just in a dream, the brain does not receive tactile and visual information, so hearing becomes our only “duty”, and therefore the body exacerbates it. If you exceed 40 decibels, you will either wake up (and you will be very angry at the one who turned on the music / started drilling the wall / turned on the vacuum cleaner), or you will sleep extremely poorly, practically exhausted. Which, well, in no way contributes to good health in general, in addition to the fact that the membranes are experiencing unnecessary stress.
If the noise level reaches 70-90 decibels and this continues for a long time, then this is a serious load on the membranes. The mark of 100 decibels (the crackling of a working chainsaw or the thunder of nearby thunder) is already walking along the edge. That is why, according to European standards, any headphones cannot produce a sound louder than 100 dB. Long-term exposure to noise from 100 decibels is a direct threat to your hearing, up to partial and complete deafness. And if we are talking specifically about music (it differs from other noises in the density of the sound stream), then here the harmful threshold begins with the very same 90 decibels. And even such noise with prolonged exposure can lead to diseases of the central nervous system – that is, not only the ears themselves will suffer.
How to properly listen to music on headphones
Now let’s figure out how to keep your ears safe while listening to music.
First of all, calmness, only calmness! In fact, no matter what some doctors say, no headphones by themselves will spoil your hearing. Yes, the direct sound source is very close to the eardrums, yes, the sound flow is directed. But their correct exploitation will reduce all possible harmful effects to nothing.
Yes, a few words about which headphones are more harmful – open, closed or “drops”. In fact, they can be equally harmful to the ears … if, again, they are misused and not spared on their own ears. Open headphones do not “hit” the membranes so hard, but due to the peculiarities of their design, the sound is often lost … which forces the user to add it (especially in transport), and there it is already close to the limit decibels. Closed headphones and earbuds “drops” allow you to maintain the volume at a “healthy” level, but the sound from them goes almost directly to the membranes and resonates, moreover, they heat up the ears (although we do not notice this), which also does not add any benefit , especially if overheating has a long exposure period.
Therefore, it is wrong to talk about “harmful, harmless” headphones – it is only true to talk about the correct one, taking into account the characteristics of our fragile hearing organs, listening to music in them. So heed these basic tips for using headphones:
- Do not try to drown out significant external noise (especially in the subway, where it is already almost at the same 100 dB) by increasing the volume of the player.
- In general, try not to exceed the 60 dB threshold. You can even glue the volume slider tightly, although, of course, the method is radical.
- If your earbuds come with soft pads, it’s best to use them.
- Remember the “primary discomfort effect”. Do not rush to turn on the player and immediately raise the volume to high levels – let your ears adapt and “understand” whether you really need to add decibels or everything is fine, and you can “add sensitivity”.
- Never go to bed with headphones on! As mentioned at the beginning of the article, sleeping people have heightened hearing, so hard work will await your membranes if they have to listen to music (even your favorite one) all night long.
Do you know any more useful tips? Write in the comments.
For the overall health of the eardrums, in addition to the above, there are a few other things to keep in mind :
- If you often find yourself in places with a high level of noise (for example, in the workshops of enterprises), then it is recommended to have soft earplugs or tight-fitting ear muffs. A personal pair of earplugs / earplugs will be better than grabbing wherever you have to, as they are best when they fit directly to your ear shape and size.
- If you live in a house / apartment with windows to a street with heavy traffic, take care of good sound insulation of the home (installation of double-glazed windows and, if necessary, wall decoration with soundproof materials will help).
- After your membranes have been exposed to a loud sound for a long time (for example, at a concert), it is recommended not even to think about the player and generally not torment your ears once again – stay in relative silence, let the membranes rest.
- Do not dive or jump with a parachute with a stuffy nose – sounds funny, but in fact it is not a joke. Sudden pressure drops can severely damage the membranes.
- Well, one more thing – listen to loud music on headphones less. In general, give your hearing organs plenty of rest.
If your ears are blocked from noise (this happens if there is a pressure difference on both sides of the eardrum), then in order to get rid of this unpleasant (and harmful!) Effect, you can:
– swallow – the most obvious way;
– yawning is effective, but, unfortunately, it will hardly work on purpose, and it looks so-so from the outside;
– holding your nose, exhale with your mouth closed (just do not overdo it, otherwise you will extinguish the fire with kerosene).
There is also the so-called Frenzel method – the nose is clamped, after which the tongue is pulled back with effort to the palate as much as possible. Muscle contraction opens up the nasal cavities and Eustachian tubes.
Hearing, like our other precious senses, requires careful handling. Fortunately, it is not as fragile and delicate as, for example, vision, so no “supportive” therapy or exercise is essentially required – it is enough to protect the ears from harmful factors, the most obvious of which is loud sound.
Use high-quality headphones and audio systems, follow the tips given in this article, and rest your ears often – and hearing problems will not bother you until old age. Good luck and see you soon!