Headphones are a device that best reflects the modern human condition. Modern wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds enable you to connect to a global community of sounds while at the same time giving you the ability to isolate yourself from everybody you see. They allow you to watch Netflix or listen to music or keep up with the news from anywhere. It’s pretty awesome! But the way we generally use them can also be a health hazard.
At least, as far as your ears are concerned. And the World Health Organization agrees. Headphones are everywhere so this is especially worrisome.
Some Dangers With Earbuds or Headphones
Frances enjoys listening to Lizzo all the time. Because Frances loves Lizzo so much, she also cranks up the volume (most people love to listen to their favorite music at full power). She’s a considerate person, though, so Frances uses high-quality headphones to enjoy her tunes.
This kind of headphone use is pretty common. Certainly, there are plenty of other purposes and places you could use them, but the fundamental function is the same.
We use headphones because we want a private listening experience (so we are able to listen to anything we want) and also so we don’t bother the people near us (usually). But that’s where the hazard lies: our ears are subjected to an intense and prolonged amount of noise. Hearing loss can be the consequence of the injury caused by this extended exposure. And a wide variety of other health concerns have been associated with hearing loss.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Hearing health, according to healthcare specialists, is a critical part of your general health. Headphones are easy to get a hold of and that’s one reason why they pose a health risk.
So here is the question, then, what can be done about it? Researchers have provided several concrete steps we can all use to help make headphones a little safer:
- Take breaks: When you’re jamming out to music you really like, it’s difficult not to crank it up. That’s easy to understand. But you need to take some time to let your ears to recover. So consider giving yourself a five-minute rest from your headphones every now and again. The strategy is to give your ears some time with lower volumes every day. Reducing your headphone time and monitoring volume levels will undoubtedly lessen damage.
- Turn the volume down: The World Health Organization suggests that your headphones not go beyond a volume of 85dB (to put it in context, the volume of an average conversation is around 60dB). Regrettably, most mobile devices don’t measure their output in decibels. Try to be sure that your volume is lower than half or look up the output of your specific headphones.
- Volume warnings are important: It’s likely that you listen to your tunes on your mobile device, and most mobile devices have built-in warnings when you begin cranking up the volume a bit too much. So if you use a mobile device to listen to music, you need to heed these warnings.
- Age restrictions: Nowadays, younger and younger kids are wearing headphones. And it’s probably a smart choice to minimize the amount of time younger people are spending with headphones. Hearing loss won’t develop as soon if you can counter some damage when you’re younger.
You might want to consider decreasing your headphone usage entirely if you are at all worried about your health.
I Don’t Actually Need to Worry About my Hearing, Right?
You only have one set of ears so you shouldn’t dismiss the impact of hearing damage. But a few other health factors, including your mental health, can be influenced by hearing problems. Neglected hearing loss has been linked to increases in the chances of problems like dementia and depression.
So your overall well-being is forever connected to the health of your ears. Whether you’re listening to a podcast or your favorite music, your headphone may become a health hazard. So turn down the volume a little and do yourself a favor.