Smartphones and technology are invading our lives, getting new gadgets and accessories into existence. The younger crowd is always fascinated by the various electronic gadgets that are available in the market. The teens are interested in keeping themselves up to date when it comes to owning a smartphone or any other handheld device. The same craze is reflected in the use of earbuds or earphones. The Earbuds have almost become a part and parcel of their existence. This is where the threat lies. An accessory itself may not cause any trouble but the user might. Hearing Loss in Teenagers Like mentioned earlier this age group is the one that is easily attracted to the new inventions and trends. Hearing loss was a problem that affected the older people. It was a sign of old age when one was hard on hearing. But recent reports on hearing loss show a different trend. The hearing loss reported among the teenage group seems to be showing an upward trend. So we need not search for the reason. Experts in this field blame it not on the earbuds or the music or the technology but it is the use of earbuds. When I say use, I mean to point the fingers at the user because the gadget cannot do things on its own. Decibel levels – what is safe and unsafe? We all are aware of the noise pollution and the effects it has on our hearing. We are also aware that prolonged exposure to loud music can have an impact on our hearing. One might wonder how hearing music on earbuds might lead to hearing loss. The simple answer is to this is anything over the tolerable level might lead to damage. A study report by an international health institution shows that over 0ne billion teens and adults are at the risk of developing hearing related disorders due to unsafe listening practices. The study should also tell us what is safe and unsafe. Yes, the study has pointed out that any noise that is above 85 decibels can cause damage to the delicate inner parts of the ear. It also says that a continuous exposure to noise level above 85 decibels for 8 hours can lead to hearing loss. It states that the higher the decibels of noise the lesser time it takes to damage the ears. Is hearing loss a serious concern? We all probably know the after–effects of prolonged exposure to loud music. The fact is that we just turn a deaf ear to it because the effects are not immediate or life–threatening. But the irony is that this careless attitude might ultimately lead to deafness. The damage that is likely to be caused is irreversible. Studies show that the loud music can cause the tiny hair cells in the inner ears to bend or break leading to hearing loss. Symptoms and after-effects of hearing loss Hearing loss is not easy to detect among the teens as the initial symptoms are often ignored by them. The noise–induced hearing loss can cause a ringing sensation in the ears. They might complain of experiencing fullness in the ears. Hearing loss in teens and young adults might affect their self-image, lead to learning difficulties and also might limit their ability to socialize. Can we prevent hearing loss? We have understood that hearing loss is irreversible. The remedy can only minimize the long–term effect and is not a permanent solution. So the best way to deal with the hearing loss from exposure to loud noise is in our hands. Prevention is a better way to handle this problem. We are aware of the safe decibel levels but are not sure how this can be applied when it comes to using earbuds. Some best practices followed while enjoying the music on earbuds will help prevent hearing loss. Duration – Limit the duration of one time listening to 60 minutes. Taking frequent breaks while listening will also give the ear some relaxations. Volume control – Keep the volume at less than 60% of the devices maximum level. People using public transport to commute can go in for noise canceling earbuds. This will provide a safe level of listening by reducing the noise around you. We also need to practice caution while using these especially while on busy streets and crossing the roads. Good quality earbuds will provide better sound clarity allowing the users to keep the volume low. Adjust volume and duration – One can listen with a low volume for a longer time than 60 minutes. Do not thrust the earbuds too deep into the ears. The more close the earbuds are to the inner ear, the more is the damage caused due to the noise exposure. Regular Ear Checkups – People who are accustomed to using of earbuds should meet the ear specialist once in a while not only to ensure their hearing is fine but also to get some sound advice on safe listening habits. Adults can take up the responsibility to spread the awareness on the hearing loss to the younger crowd who are blissfully unaware of this issue. Having talked about the safe levels and the advisable duration of listening music on the earbuds, it is time to highlight the fact that it is the person who should be able to make the decision as to how much noise he can tolerate. All the inventions that technology has given the humans were only made with the aim of making our lives better and enjoyable. It is the way in which we use them that makes the difference. It is the same with every new invention; it will have a positive and negative side to it. It is up to us to decide if we would want to benefit from it or ruin the prospects the new invention sets forth.