Nowadays, people seem to wear their “earbuds” everywhere: at the grocery store, at work, even while driving (not a safe choice!). Children and teens may have earbuds even in more throughout the day, and there has been an increase in hearing loss in teens in the last 30 years according to the American Osteopathic Association. So how can we reduce our risk of hearing loss and still listen to our favorite songs throughout the day? The first factor is volume – the maximum volume on most media players these days can be as loud as going to a rock concert. You probably don’t need to turn the volume up that high to enjoy what you’re listening to! You should also be able to hear what’s going on around you in case someone is trying to get your attention. A good rule of thumb is to go no higher than 60% of the maximum volume. The second factor is how long you have those earbuds in. Doctors recommend the 60/60 rule – no more than 60% of the volume for no longer than 60 minutes a day. Reserve headphone use for when you work out at the gym or other places where the noise might distract others. Otherwise, try playing music at a low volume at work (as long as your supervisor allows it) and play something everyone will like at home, which will save everyone’s ears and help you spend time together as a family! Lastly, you can invest in noise-cancelling headphones. These headphones are equipped with a special mechanism that drowns out outside noise, so you don’t need to crank the volume all the way up. These can be especially helpful for children who like to listen to music on the school bus or people who travel often. Noise-cancelling headphones are more expensive than regular earbuds, so make sure you invest in a pair you like and take good care of them.When you’re tempted to blast your favorite song, just remember that hearing loss is almost always irreversible – take good care of your ears now so you can hear well for the rest of your life!