Turn it down

My morning routine is to wake up and get ready for my earliest classes. As I take my 15 minute walk to each class I normally listen to music to bypass the time. My mood for music changes everyday and I change my playlist depending how I am feeling. Do I hear my friends calling my name? No, my music is blasting. That is the only way I roll. My room mate tells me to turn it down because she gets annoyed but my mom tells me to because it is dangerous.

Image result for listening to loud music gif

Teenagers have the same amount of hearing damage as their parents but at a much younger age, this is due to Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). A habit of listening to music at a certain level of volume can ruin your future. The noise damages your inner ear and turns into permanent hearing loss. So what is being blamed for this?  The invention of earbuds and the rising popularity of them over the past two decades.

Accused ... Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin and his band.

Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin

I am sure you have all heard a million times that listening to your music at a high volume is dangerous but I am going to stress this again. Once you loose your hearing it will not come back. The lead singer of Coldplay, Chris Martin, has been diagnosed with tinnitus. This is not a disease but it is the symptom of permanent ringing in your ears.

According to the American Osteopathic Association 1 in 5 teens have some form of hearing loss, this rate is 30% higher than it was in the 80s.

How can you prevent this?

  • switch to ear phones instead of earbuds
  • be aware of how loud your volume is; anything above 100dB (which is typical in most venues) is dangerous

Now if I researched this before taking this class I would definitely change my style of listening to music. I have come to realize that the benefit out weighs the risk. Coldplay’s singer Chris Martin only has tinnitus because he is constantly exposed to extreme conditions with his successful career in his profession. I would much rather enjoy my music loudly and have minimal chance of hearing loss than being a cautious freak. What happens in our society is that a rare occurrence happens, the media over-exaggerates this, and hysteria is caused. Mothers everywhere are telling their children to turn down their volume or to not make that face or it will be stuck like that forever. Based on evidence shown it might not be earbuds causing the hearing loss, it could be a 3rd confounding variable. For example, it could be kids who live in the city,which is a huge portion of the demographic, who happen to listen to music through earbuds, are losing hearing due to normal city background noise. Earbud volume is just a soft endpoint and cannot be the only thing blamed for the hard endpoint of hearing loss. The problem may not be from ear buds but from hanging out in loud bars, clubs, concerts, and sporting events; all habits of our american youth. Therefore, at this very moment that i am writing this post, I am blasting music through my earbuds.





9 thoughts on “Turn it down

  1. Maximilian Arthur Kesner

    Great post, it is extremely well written. I have two pieces of advice. The first is that your blog is based on two articles and no studies. Here is a study that you could incorporate into your blog. The other piece of advice is that you should incorporate class material into your blog as well. Did you have a hypothesis? I too listen to music (through headphones) while walking to and from classes. I appreciate how enthusiastic you are about your headphones, but I’d much rather give them up then experience hearing loss for the rest of my life. Also, the last sentence of your blog made me laugh. Nice post!

  2. Lauren Eve Ribeiro

    I think it would have been really beneficial and interesting to have a study showing evidence of damage as a result of playing music to loud. For example, there could be a control and an experimental group. The experimental group would be exposed to loud music over a long period of time. The control group would be exposed to regular noise level music over a long period of time. A test could then be performed to see if one group reacted better than the other group. It is also important to note that although some people may listen to loud music, that may not be the only reason for damage. For example they could have health problems that correlate with damage to the ears.

  3. Matthew Porr

    I listen to my music at a loud volume pretty frequently. The argument of this blog is that high volume music is dangerous to your hearing. However, I think that if your are getting enjoyment out of listening to your music loud then you should continue to do so. Deaf people get along just fine without hearing so if it make you happy to listen to your music loud than do it unless your career depends on having hearing. Do what makes you happy.

  4. Charles Hart

    I blast music when I go to class so this article caught my attention. As you mentioned, 1 out of every 5 teens have a form of hearing loss. So what’s the risk? Well the exposure is 1 out of every 5, and the hazard, hearing loss, is quite high. So I’d agree with you that it is quite risky to play music loudly. This seems to be an observational experiment. Because of this, confounding variables are a huge worry. You mentioned background noise in the city, but I would also argue that the genre of music is a great confounding variable to be worried about. If I did this study I would take 500 random people (easier said than done), randomize them again to lessen the possibility of chance, and separate them into two groups. One group would listen to loud music like rock, one would listen to soothing music. Then I would blast the music in the earphones for both groups and see if that worsens their hearing ability. The only problem with this is it is not ethical. Why would one want to make someones hearing worse? This is why observational is likely the only way to conduct this study.

  5. Thomas Tatem Moore

    I found myself drawn to this article because I too listen to music on my way to class all the time. So much so that in the rare occasion that I forget my headphones en route to my next class I feel almost naked walking to class without music playing. On multiple occasions I would have a friend text me saying they saw me walking to class and said hi and I didn’t respond or even acknowledge them. I often wondered if loud noise would at all affect my hearing in the present or down the line. Here is an article I found that explains the possible hearing detriments of loud noise.

  6. Kaitlyn A Kaminski

    Hi Kayla,

    Wow, interesting choice especially since we are all in our late teens or early twenties, most of us have no idea how we are ruining out bodies until it is too late. I found an interesting journal article (https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Hein_Raat/publication/5571045_MP3_players_and_hearing_loss_adolescents'_perceptions_of_loud_music_and_hearing_conservation/links/00b7d53ab11f799cd2000000.pdf) explaining how the results of this experiment suggests that an earbud with preset levels that could not go above a certain level of loudness could change the game. I thought this was interesting and could potentially be a solution to how to control saving peoples’ hearing and prevent future hearing loss. I think your topic is something that many people do not pay attention to and should. Awesome job!

  7. Michael Robert Szawaluk


    This post was written for my roommate, so, I will definitely show it to him. He is the type of person who likes to block out everything with loud music. He says it is a distraction from the distractions. It makes complete sense that playing loud music close to one’s ears can be dangerous, and, I appreciated that you pointed out potential long-term consequences of it. The data point of 30% increase in some form of teen hearing loss since the 80s is staggering. Also, you included a 3rd confounding variable; living in a noisy place could prove detrimental to hearing, or at least weaken eardrums over time.

    I believe it would have been beneficial and impactful to reference that approximately 26 million Americans have suffered hearing loss as a result of noise. You state that this issue is exaggerated by the media, however, you presented fact-based evidence that ear buds have been proven to be a factor in damage to ear drums. I wouldn’t consider a person a “cautious freak” if there is proven evidence that hearing loss had increased and one of the scientific factors is ear bud usage. I think if you focused more on the direct effects that loud music has on the ear, which can be found here: http://www.vicdeaf.com.au/files/editor_upload/File/Information%20Sheets/Effects%20of%20Loud%20Music%20on%20Hearing.pdf, and show studies done on the topic your blog would be a lot more complete. Overall, I am better informed after reading this, thank you!

  8. Jeremy Perdomo

    Dear Kayla,

    I cannot tell you how drawn in I was to this article being that I suffer from severe hearing loss; when I was nearly 10 years old, my doctors realized that I could not hear as well as my peers, and after numerous cat scans and MRI’s of my brain and head, they concluded that I had the hearing of an old man! With that being stated, I thought that your article seemed very succinct and effective in conveying that the higher teenagers play their music, the worse their hearing gets.

    But, this got me to thinking that, since you recommended head phones instead of ear buds, if this advice you gave out was as accurate as you thought it would be. It turns out that, according to an article I found (link is down below), both seem to cause hearing loss; however, you were correct in that the ear buds are definitely more dangerous since, as the article explains, they naturally add about 9 dB of volume since they are much smaller and can fit closer to the ear canal than its opposition.


    Also, I could not help but wonder if the hearing loss that would result from listening to loud music would be as “permanent” as you claimed it would be; it turns out that scientists have actually created something called a cochlear implant that is installed during surgery; it sends messages to the hearing nerve! This means that if people have gotten too deaf, they can always just pay for this procedure (although I don’t really recommend having to resort to that)! The link to explain it is down below if you are interested:


    1. Jason Williams


      Your post covered an issue that we hear about (no pun intended) very frequently. The comparison of a nagging mother was very on point and I could picture this in my head. As you mentioned, the amount of a lot of sources state that hearing damage can occur is around 100db. During my freshman year here, I remembered how loud it was during some of the football games, especially against the top teams. Take Ohio State for instance, the Lions took the Buckeyes into double overtime with the full support of the 107k strong in the stadium. That support was loud enough to make Beaver Stadium the loudest area in PA, and quite possibly beyond.

      But, local news PennLive wanted to see how loud it really was. Many PSU games would already get close to the 100’s range, but the 4th quarter comeback was a recording for the ages. Hackenberg’s touchdown pass led the crowd into a roaring 111 decibel recording, the highest the site says they have yet to record. And as someone that was in the stands on that night, I can personally recall a slight ringing in my ears following.

      Source: PennLive

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