• Featured News

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Are your headphones too loud?

Are you listening to life at too high a volume and putting your hearing at risk? A recent study published in JAMA found that kids who listen to portable music players are at higher risk for high-frequency hearing loss.

Exposure to loud sounds can damage the cells of your inner ear. Symptoms and injury can occur from a short blast of noise or with long-term exposure to excessive sounds.

In this Mayo Clinic Minute, Dr. Greta Stamper, a Mayo Clinic audiologist, explains a simple test you can do to find out if your headphone volume needs adjusting.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (0:54) is in the downloads. Read the script.

"So anytime you're exposed to loud sounds, the potential exists for you to damage your hearing because of that excess noise level," says Dr. Stamper.

She says headphones are an increasingly common cause of hearing loss.

"Whether you're listening to music, you're playing a game, you're watching a movie — it's not really about a specific type of headphone," Dr. Stamper says. "It's more about how loud you set the volume."

Here's a quick way to check if you're listening at too loud a volume. Put on your headphones, turn on a song and try to have a conversation.

"The general rule of thumb is, if you have headphones on or if you have those iPod inserts in your ears, and you're about arm's length away from a person, and you can't understand them without really having to speak at a raised voice, it's too loud," says Dr. Stamper.

Simply lower the volume, and you lower your risk for hearing loss.