How Music Can Help Shape the Future of Hearing Health

How Music Can Help Shape the Future of Hearing Health

When art and technology converge, we often find health and wellness at the intersection. Such is the case with the latest innovations in music technology through the use of “wearables” or “hearables.” As audio becomes increasingly integrated into our daily lives through streaming technology and portable headphones or earbuds, we find the opportunity to bring healthy habits into that near-constant presence. People integrate healthy audio into their lives in myriad ways, and hearable technology can integrate with your hearing health, as well. As you find yourself exploring healthy options for portable audio, don’t forget to maintain your hearing health at the same time. 

Health, Wellness, and Hearables

How can hearable technology benefit your health? Experts point to a wide range of audio that can improve your quality of life. Fitness apps not only monitor your bodily performance, but they also make it possible to listen to workout guides and music while at the gym. Even marathon runners have found that they can’t complete their race without headphones in place and music fueling the journey. In addition to fitness-based music apps, many have found improved mental health through the use of relaxation music or guided meditations. This audio is particularly effective through headphones, and many people find the creation of that personal sonic world to be beneficial for mental health. Guided meditation uses soothing background music and the voice of a speaker to take the listener through stages of awareness and mental imagery. Others enjoy ambient music to provide a relaxing background to other activities, including work. Many experts think about these forms of healthy music as one component of a non-pharmaceutical health solution for mental illness. Sufferers of depression and anxiety have shown particularly good outcomes when these habits are incorporated with nutrition, exercise, and social activity as components of a holistic health plan. 

Hearable Safety

Although these apps can be aspects of a healthy lifestyle, they do come with risks. Headphones and earbuds make it possible to play music very loudly, and that consistent presence of loud sound puts the wearer at risk of noise-induced hearing loss. Although you might think that this form of hearing loss tends to come from exposure to a sudden blast or grating sounds in a factory, you can even incur noise-induced hearing loss from ambient music at a loud volume. Noise-induced hearing loss occurs as a combination of volume and duration of exposure, so a relatively quieter volume of sound can still cause damage if you are listening for a long period of time. Hearable technology makes it possible and even attractive to play audio for hours on end, and it is crucial to keep your headphones or earbuds at a moderate level if you like that immersive experience. A good rule of thumb is to keep the volume of your smartphone around 75% of the maximum. You are not only hearing the volume of your device, in most cases. Background noise can seep into your listening environment, making you want to turn up the volume. On the contrary, you should take that presence of background noise as an opportunity to take out your earbuds and wait until the competing noise passes. 

Connectivity and Hearing Aids

If you have hearing aids, many of these healthy aspects of music and audio may be integrated into your assistive technology. Bluetooth connectivity makes it possible to stream audio directly to your aids, bypassing the need to amplify that sound through speakers in the room. When you send audio directly to your hearing devices, you can receive notifications from your smartphone, as well, integrating into a safe and effective way to build your sonic world. If you are interested in the possibilities afforded by Bluetooth connectivity in your hearing aids, just give our hearing health professionals a call. We can describe to you what is possible and how your aids can integrate with healthy music, fitness routines, and guided meditations. With all of this audio coming through your devices, as well as the ambient sound of the environment, your hearing aids can contribute not only to your hearing health but also to other aspects of wellness.

As we discussed previously, long term untreated hearing loss can have profound physical, mental, and emotional effects for seniors. But there is substantial evidence that taking steps to improve our hearing will go a long way to ensuring our physical and mental well-being as we age. We are living longer, healthier and more actively than our parents generation. We take care of ourselves, and we refuse to sit on the sidelines of life. Since we are living longer, we certainly want to age well, and our generation (the Baby Boomers) tends to “take the Bull by the horn.” But it’s important to understand that we don’t treat hearing loss just to hear with more clarity. We treat hearing loss to improve our quality of life, and the longevity of that quality! Addressing and treating hearing loss can be a long, sometimes challenging process, but most of us are up to the challenge. There are many benefits to treating our hearing loss. Here are just a few: