Despite their small size, earbuds can harm hearing the same way, and to the same extent, as motorcycles and chainsaws. It’s all about the volume. Motorcycles and chainsaws, both of which are notorious for their dangerous noise levels, can reach 100 decibels, which can damage hearing within half an hour. An mp3 player turned up to just 70% of its volume is already approaching 85 decibels of sound, and earbuds blast all that noise directly into the ears. Hearing loss caused by earbuds is an example of noise-induced hearing loss or NIHL. Studies show hearing loss in teens is 30% more common than it was in the 1980s, and many experts attribute this rise to the widespread use of earbuds.
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