Headphones are a device that best reflects the modern human condition. Nowadays, headphones and earbuds allow you to separate yourself from everyone around you while simultaneously enabling you to connect to the entire world of sounds. They allow you to watch Netflix or listen to music or stay in tune to the news from everywhere. They’re fabulous. But headphones may also be a health hazard.
At least, as far as your ears are concerned. And this is something that the World Health Organization has also acknowledged. Headphones are everywhere so this is especially worrisome.
The Hazard of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances enjoys Lizzo. And so she listens to Lizzo a lot. Because Frances loves Lizzo so much, she also turns the volume way up (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 listen to her tunes.
This kind of headphone usage is pretty common. Certainly, there are plenty of other purposes and places you might use them, but the basic function is the same.
We use headphones because we want a private listening experience (so we are able to listen to whatever we want) and also so we don’t bother the people around us (usually). But this is where it can get dangerous: we’re subjecting our ears to a significant amount of noise in a prolonged and intense way. Hearing loss can be the result of the injury caused by this prolonged exposure. And a wide variety of other health concerns have been linked to hearing loss.
Safeguard Your Hearing
Hearing health, according to healthcare experts, is a crucial element of your overall health. Headphones are easy to get a hold of and that’s one reason why they pose a health hazard.
What can you do about it is the real question? So that you can make headphones a bit safer to use, researchers have provided a number of steps to take:
- Take breaks: When you’re listening to music you really like, it’s hard not to crank it up. Most people can relate to that. But your ears need a bit of time to recover. So think about giving yourself a five-minute break from your headphones here and there. The idea is, each day give your ears some lower volume time. Reducing your headphone time and monitoring volume levels will undoubtedly lessen damage.
- Don’t turn them up so loud: The World Health Organization suggests that your headphones not go over a volume of 85dB (to put it in context, the volume of an average conversation is around 60dB). Most mobile devices, regrettably, don’t have a dB volume meter built in. Try to make sure that your volume is lower than half or look into the output of your particular headphones.
- Restrict age: These days, younger and younger kids are wearing headphones. And it may be wiser if we cut back on that a little, limiting the amount of time younger children spend using headphones. Hearing loss won’t occur as soon if you can stop some damage when you’re younger.
- Volume warnings are important: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume gets to be dangerous. So if you use a mobile device to listen to music, you need to pay attention to these warnings.
You may want to think about reducing your headphone use entirely if you are at all concerned about your health.
It’s Just My Hearing, Right?
When you’re younger, it’s easy to consider damage to your hearing as unimportant (which you should not do, you only have one pair of ears). But several other health factors, including your mental health, can be affected by hearing problems. Conditions including have been linked to hearing impairment.
So the health of your hearing is connected inextricably to your overall wellness. Whether you’re listening to a podcast or your favorite music, your headphone may become a health hazard. So the volume down a little and do yourself a favor.