Auto-old Your Ears

Download the free Play It Down app for iPhone and iPod, and put your hearing to the test with three fun features:

AUTO-OLD MY MUSIC - Play a song from your library, then dial up your age to hear how your music sounds to someone 5, 10, 20, even 30 years older than you!

THE EAR KNOB - How young are your ears? Crank up The Ear Knob and compare with friends and family to see who can detect the highest frequencies!

THE VOLUME ZONE - What's louder, the school cafeteria or your dad's snoring? Measure the volume of everything from concerts to earbuds and find out!

The Play It Down app does not provide medical diagnoses of hearing loss. Different speakers and earbuds can play sounds differently, so if you find there are frequencies you should be able to hear but can't, don't worry. But if you have concerns about your hearing, do make an appointment to get your ears checked by a licensed audiologist to keep your ears as young as possible, for as long as possible.

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Yeah, we know. You don't wanna hear it.

“Your music's too loud!”

“Turn down that music!”

“You'll go deaf!”

It's enough to make you wanna crawl inside your earbuds and crank them even louder.

Besides, is loud music really that bad for your ears? At normal volume (60% or so), no. The problem is when you go louder than that, for extended periods.

Think of listening to earbuds like jumping on a trampoline. Totally fun and safe, until you jump too high, for too long. That's when you run the risk of breaking something.


Statistic: 99% of all statistics are boring and pointless.

Memorizing numbers won't protect your ears. But there is one number you might want to hear:

6.5 Million

That's how many teens already have hearing loss related to noise. In other words,
1 in 5 people at your school. That's a lot.

Here's the point: noise-related hearing loss isn't something you're born with. Like falling off a skateboard or spilling a latte on your pants, it can happen to anyone. It doesn't mean you have to stop drinking lattes. You just have to know your limits.

Ear Fact: Ears don't take vacations.

When most body parts get tired, they rest. Eyes tired? Close them. Legs? Sit down. But ears? They're workaholics.

Ears deal with a billion sounds a day. So when we listen to music, they're working even harder. Which is cool. Ears love work. Unless we give them too much, for too long. That's when ears
can hurt themselves.

So how much is too much? Use the slider to see.

Play It Down Tip: Like you, ears need a break. Maybe try 15 minutes with no earbuds, in a relatively quiet place, every few hours or so. For ears, that's like a week-long cruise in the Bahamas.


Ear Fact: Ears freak out easily.

Ever had a firecracker or hunting rifle blast go-off nearby? You know that sudden ringing in your ears immediately after? That's your ears-wetting their pants.

If ears were people they'd be nervous wrecks. They're super-sensitive to the slightest sounds. That's what makes them good at their jobs.

Still, when you're that sensitive, it's easy to get hurt. So while your ears can listen to music at low volume for hours with no problems, they can also be permanently damaged by sudden, loud sounds of just a split-second.

Find us on Facebook to find a way to win a pair of Play It Down earplugs.

Play It Down Tip: Grab some foam earplugs from the drugstore and keep them in your purse, wallet or car. They're stupid-cheap, and won't take up any space. Try them out next time you're on a hunting trip, at a concert, a fireworks show, or anywhere else where you'll be around sudden, loud noises.

Ear Fact: New ears are better than old.

When you hear a sound, your inner ear is actually “feeling” tiny vibrations in the air called frequencies. Younger ears can feel LOTS of frequencies. Older ears, not so much. They might have trouble hearing voices in loud rooms, or struggle to hear quiet parts in movies, or not hear you when you ask to borrow the car.

But damage your ears with noise, and you can end up with the hearing of a much older person. And while it's fine for you to be 16-going-on-30, you do not want older ears.

Play It Down Tip: Try “noise-reducing” or “noise-cancelling” earbuds instead of the pair that came with your player. These reduce background noise, which means they sound louder, even when they aren't.

Translation: They sound awesome.

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