How to know if the volume is too loud

How to know if the volume is too loud

Anne Marie Tiernon/ Eyewitness News

Are your kids listening to that iPod or MP3 player at levels that put their hearing at risk?

It makes you wonder if the level is okay when you are driving in the front seat and can hear the kids' music through their earbuds in the back. Doctors say it's not. If you can hear the music through another person's headphones, it is too loud.

That is because when there is an extended exposure to high sounds, the little hair cells in the inner ear that are responsible for tuning get damaged and bent and aren't able to send a signal through.

"It can cause really a lot of problems and becomes really frustrating when you just can't quite make out those words in a classroom setting, you know, when you're in college and then as you get older in a work environment and you're in meetings and you just can't quite pick up that sound and you're missing things," said Dr. Donna Segal, with University Otolaryngology Associates at Riley Hospital.

Michael Zukunft knows the cost first hand. He now wears hearing aids and says personally and professionally he is missing out.

"You try to bluff your way through situations and my personal discomfort becomes one of, 'okay, I need to get out of this conversation as quickly as possible before it's caught on.'"

Doctors say the warning level is 85 decibels. While our volume button doesn't register in decibels, there are ways to limit the sound.

To protect your ears, the recommendation is 60/60. No more than 60 percent of the volume for 60 minutes at a time.

Also, use headphones instead of earbuds because earbuds place the sound close to the ear drum. Some headphones help disperse the sound and are safer.

You can also use the audio limiter that is on most of the new devices. That way, when you have the urge to crank it up, you won't hurt your hearing.

Unfortunately, doctors says the awareness may be coming after the damage is done.

"We're going to start seeing more hearing loss in younger children, young adults, teens. We are already starting to see that," Segal said. "There's not a lot that can be done about it once there's a permanent hearing loss, so really the key is prevention, ear protection, you know, ear protection is a key."

If you have questions about hearing loss or other health concerns, you can ask them by emailing: