If you've ever exercised in a gym or sports club, you know that people running on treadmills and riding exercise bikes can make quite a racket.

Woman in gym listening to a music player

Many people who use gyms listen to music through earbuds or earphones while they exercise. A study published in the International Journal of Audiology says that the background noise in gyms can cause earphone users to turn the volume up really, really high. That would be OK if they turned the volume up for just one song, but they don’t. Almost half of the participants in this study kept the volume high for long enough to risk damage to their hearing.

What can you learn from this study? Whether you are in a gym, on a loud school bus, or in a crowded subway car, don’t turn up the volume of your personal music player to drown out background noise. Instead:

  • Move to a quiet place if you want to keep using your earphones.
  • Take a break! Try half an hour with earphones on, then half an hour with earphones off.
  • Invest in earphones that help reduce background noise. By blocking out background noise, you won't have to turn the volume up so high. 

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