Headphones are a device that best exemplifies the modern human condition. Today, headphones and earbuds permit you to separate yourself from everyone around you while at the same time enabling you to connect to the whole world of sounds. You can keep up with the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music wherever you find yourself. It’s pretty awesome! But the way we tend to use them can also be a health risk.
At least, as far as your ears are concerned. And this is something that the World Health Organization has also reported. Headphones are everywhere so this is very worrisome.
Some Risks With Earbuds or Headphones
Frances loves Lizzo. And so she listens to Lizzo a lot. Because Frances loves Lizzo so much, she also cranks up the volume (the majority of people love to jam out to their favorite music at full power). Frances uses high-quality headphones so she won’t annoy other people with her loud music.
This type of headphone use is fairly common. Sure, there are plenty of other purposes and places you might use them, but the basic purpose is the same.
We use headphones because we want the listening experience to be somewhat private (so we are able to listen to whatever we want) and also so we don’t bother the people near us (usually). But this is where it can become dangerous: our ears are subjected to an intense and prolonged amount of noise. Over time, that noise can cause injury, which will lead to hearing loss. And hearing loss has been associated with a wide range of other health-related illnesses.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Healthcare specialists consider hearing health to be a crucial aspect of your general health. Headphones are easy to get and that’s one reason why they present a health hazard.
The question is, then, what can you do about it? Researchers have put forward a few tangible steps we can all use to help make headphones a bit safer:
- Don’t turn them up so loud: The World Health Organization recommends that your headphones not go beyond a volume of 85dB (60dB is the typical volume of a conversation for context). Regrettably, most mobile devices don’t measure their output in decibels. Find out the max volume of your headphones or keep the volume at no more than half.
- Take breaks: It’s hard not to crank up the volume when you’re listening to your favorite tunes. Most people can relate to that. But you should take a bit of time to let your hearing to recover. So every now and then, give yourself at least a five minute rest. The strategy is, every day give your ears some reduced volume time. Reducing your headphone time and monitoring volume levels will definitely reduce injury.
- Listen to volume warnings: It’s likely that you listen to your music on your mobile device, and most mobile devices have built-in warnings when you begin pumping up the volume a little too much. So if you use a mobile device to listen to music, you need to pay attention to these warnings.
- Restrict age: Nowadays, younger and younger kids are using headphones. And it may be wiser if we cut back on that a bit, limiting the amount of time younger children spend using headphones. Hearing loss won’t develop as soon if you can prevent some damage when you’re younger.
You might want to consider decreasing your headphone usage altogether if you are at all concerned about your health.
I Don’t Really Need to Worry About my Hearing, Right?
You only have one set of ears so you shouldn’t disregard the impact of hearing damage. But numerous other health factors, including your mental health, can be affected by hearing issues. Neglected hearing loss has been linked to increases in the chances of problems like dementia and depression.
So your hearing health is connected inextricably to your overall well-being. And that means your headphones might be a health risk, whether you’re listening to music or a baking podcast. So turn down the volume a little and do yourself a favor.