There is one thing all college students seem to have in common, and it’s not pursuing a higher education or trying to find their place in the world — it is the earphones permanently attached to their ears. Despite popular opinion, this heavy activity of listening to music can have more benefits than pitfalls.
While listening to music is an activity most people can enjoy, millennials are often criticized for taking the activity too far. Some people even believe too much of the activity can lead to problems with health, mood and academic achievement.
Many people believe listening to loud music constantly damages hearing. Since earbuds and headphones seem especially popular among millennials, critics believe younger people are damaging their hearing every time they listen to a song. A 2010 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association is often cited because it supports this theory. However, a study done the same year refutes this research.
According to research done by the University of Minnesota and published in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, the connection between hearing loss in the younger generation and listening to loud music is largely exaggerated. Hearing scientists Bert Schlauch and Edward Carney, the men who conducted the study, found that less than 20 percent of young people in the U.S. suffer from hearing loss because of loud sounds. While people should exercise caution when listening to loud music in their younger years due to possible ill effects down the road, it is not as damaging to the ears as people make it out to be.
Critics of heavy music listening argue it disconnects students from their peers and promotes antisocial and depressive behavior. In reality, music is biologically proven to elevate a person’s mood. When you listen to music, your brain releases dopamine, a chemical essential to the function of the nervous system that induces positive feelings. In addition to emotional benefits, the release of dopamine can also positively affect a person’s perception and movement.
Another criticism of listening to too much music is the age-old warning that listening to music while studying interferes with a person’s concentration on the study material. Yet, there is proven evidence music increases both productivity and concentration.
According to research done by Teresa Lesiuk, a professor at the University of Miami, music can positively affect performance in the workplace. Since music is a proven mood elevator, Lesiuk made the connection between this heightened mood and workers coming up with better ideas more often.
Similarly, a study undertaken by researchers from the Wake Forest School of Medicine and the University of North Carolina Greensboro found music can help with concentration as long as the person listening likes the music. So, in short, a student listening to his or her favorite tunes while studying can actually add benefit to the experience.
Regardless of its biological benefits, listening to music is an all-around relaxing, fun and therapeutic experience. At times, it may need to be approached with care, but the idea that listening to a favorite song one too many times could lead to detrimental effects in the health, mood and academics of millennials is a bit of an overstatement. As Oscar Wilde once said, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”
Truthfully, it’s probably a good idea to turn down the volume when listening to music or take out the earbuds to listen to what’s outside of them every once in a while. However, being an avid music listener can actually help more than hurt if it is done the right way.
By Jemima Johnson, www.dailytoreador.com, www.msidallas.com