Take a minute to assess how long—and how loud—you listen to music on your headphones. And although you’ve probably heard reports in the past about what it’s doing to your hearing, there’s a new report that just might make you turn down the Beyoncé once and for all.
The Wall Street Journal recently examined the dangers of loud music, and the ultimate conclusion by experts is that listening to music at high volumes using earbuds or headphones for even as little as a few minutes, can be damaging to your health.
The World Health Organization recently released a campaign which advises we limit using audio devices to less than an hour a day, or keeping the volume to less than 85 decibels (which is approximately the beep of a microwave).
On average, the WHO estimates that people use audio devices at an average of 94 decibels. And a 2011 study published in the Journal of American Academy of Audiology found that people using Apple’s white earbuds at the maximum volume experience a sound level of 102 decibels.
Fearing that you’ll never be able to listen to music the same way again? Experts suggest wearing noise-canceling headphones to block out background noise so that you listen to music at a lower volume.
Regardless, the next time you put on that pair of headphones and feel compelled to push up the volume to jam to Rihanna, do yourself a serious favor, and think twice about it.