Choosing the right type of headphones


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CR Consumer Reports, an independent, nonprofit member organization that works with consumers for truth, transparency, and fairness in the marketplace, recently put the spotlight on selecting headphones that help prevent hearing loss.

The article highlights that personal preference and price may be the main drivers behind headphone selection. However, it is important not to overlook whether one style or another may offer better hearing protection. Taking this into account is critical, especially if you plan to use the headphones for extended periods of time.

Brian Fligor, PhD., an audiologist and chief development officer at Lantos Technologies, a Massachusetts company that custom fits earbuds and earplugs told Consumer reports that the smartphones, MP3 players, and other portable listening devices we use today cannot produce volumes that were common in the 1970s, 80s or 90s. Nonetheless, he points out that, “they’re worse because way more people use the devices, and for longer periods of time.”

The article reports that noise-canceling headphones are the best option. This is especially true if you listen to music in a loud environment. Trying to drown out the background noise can prompt people to push their own volume up, compounding the problem.

Other common issues are also cited in the report. These include remaining careful about the volume you’re using, and naturally the amount of time you listen for. Fligor recommended an 80-90 rule in the article: if you listen at 80% of the maximum volume, do so for no more than 90 minutes per day.

Source: Consumer Reports