Regardless of the fact that nearly every person training at a gym brings their own set of portable music devices, these fitness centers still seem to think they need to blast the newest jams out over the loudspeakers. Next thing you know, you’re cranking up the volume on your iPod or other MP3 player just to drown out the new slow jam which isn’t doing anything but slowing your workout down. Unfortunately you could be damaging your hearing beyond repair
Loud Music Isn’t Causing Hearing Loss
Okay, let’s clarify that statement real quick. Playing your workout tunes loud isn’t the root cause (assuming you keep your music below 85 dB like a normal person)
What’s really causing hearing loss?
That’s right, noise. Hence the term noise-induced hearing loss. Essentially all the other “noise” that you don’t want to hear when you’re working out causes you to turn your music up even louder. Here’s the real catch. Most people rationalize turning the volume up due to the background noise, and they rationalize it with comments like, “but I still can’t even hear the music when I turn it up,” or “it doesn’t seem that loud though.” Let’s get one thing straight. Perception is not intensity.
What does that mean?
Well, intensity is the measure of how loud a sound is, usually measured in decibels or more commonly abbreviated as dB. However, your ears don’t always perceive the sound to be as loud as it actually is. Why? Two words: background noise.
Your inner ears are fighting to clarify the sound coming from your workout headphones with the sound coming from the background, or ambient sound.
How damaging can this actually be?
Let’s put it this way. Hearing loss cannot be reversed. So even minimal damage is too much damage. If you were to workout, say 30 minutes a day at the gym (which isn’t a lot), and you managed to damage just a few hair follicles (of the thousands you have), that is going to quickly add up and over time you’re going to have noise-induced hearing loss.
How do you know if your volume is too loud?
Here’s a quick test: turn on your MP3 player when you’re at the gym next time and set the volume to what you would normally set it to (don’t cheat!). After about 5 minutes turn your MP3 player off and immediately head outside or to the locker room. Once you’re in a semi-quiet place immediately turn it back on. If it is even slightly uncomfortable or loud, then your volume is too high.
How can you prevent this?
Most people are going to tell you to set your music at a good level BEFORE you enter the gym. However, we’re going to tell you that’s total crap. Why? Because you’re not going to go your entire workout not being able to listen to the very songs you put on your MP3 player to energize you through the workout. You’re just not going to do it.
What you need to do is invest in a decent pair of noise-cancelling workout headphones. By blocking out the sound around you, you’ll no longer need to blast your headphones to enjoy your workout play list to its fullest potential.
(Note: if you don’t workout at a gym or at your home we don’t recommend noise-cancelling headphones for safety reasons, i.e. not hearing a car driving up behind you).
Here’s Our Top 3 Noise-Cancelling Workout Headphones