Headphones are a device that best demonstrates the modern human condition. These days, headphones and earbuds permit you to isolate yourself from people around you while simultaneously permitting you to connect to the entire world of sounds. You can keep up on the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music anywhere you find yourself. They’re fabulous. But headphones might also be a health hazard.
This is specifically true with regards to your hearing health. And the World Health Organization confirms this also. Headphones are everywhere so this is especially troubling.
The Danger of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances enjoys Lizzo. And so she listens to Lizzo all of the time. When she’s really getting into it she normally cranks up the volume (there’s a particular enjoyment in listening to your favorite song at max power). She’s a considerate person, though, so Frances uses high-quality headphones to listen to her tunes.
This is a pretty normal use of headphones. Sure, there are plenty of other purposes and places you could use them, but the fundamental function is the same.
We want to be able to listen to anything we want without disturbing people around us, that’s the reason why we use headphones. But this is where it can get dangerous: we’re exposing our ears to a significant amount of noise in an extended and intense way. Hearing loss can be the consequence of the damage caused by this prolonged exposure. And hearing loss has been associated with a wide range of other health-related conditions.
Protect Your Hearing
Healthcare professionals think of hearing health as an essential aspect of your overall wellness. And that’s the reason why headphones pose somewhat of a health hazard, particularly since they tend to be everywhere (headphones are very easy to get a hold of).
What can you do about it is the real question? Researchers have put forward a few solid steps we can all use to help make headphones a little safer:
- Volume warnings are important: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume gets to be dangerous. It’s incredibly important for your ear health to adhere to these warnings as much as you can.
- Take breaks: When you’re jamming out to music you really like, it’s difficult not to crank it up. Most people can relate to that. But you should take a bit of time to allow your ears to recover. So every now and again, give yourself at least a five minute rest. The strategy is to give your ears some time with lower volumes every day. Reducing your headphone time and checking volume levels will definitely decrease damage.
- Don’t turn them up so loud: 85dB is the highest volume that you should listen to your headphones at according to the World Health organization (for context, the volume of a typical conversation is something like 60dB). Unfortunately, most mobile devices don’t measure their output in decibels. Look into the max volume of your headphones or keep the volume at no more than half.
- Age restrictions: Headphones are being worn by younger and younger people these days. And it’s definitely a wise choice to minimize the amount of time younger people are spending with headphones. Hearing loss won’t set in as soon if you can avoid some damage when you’re younger.
If you’re at all concerned about your ear health, you may want to curtail the amount of time you spend on your headphones entirely.
I Don’t Actually 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 several other health factors, including your mental health, can be affected by hearing issues. Conditions like have been connected to hearing impairment.
So your overall wellness is forever linked to the health of your hearing. And that means your headphones could be a health risk, whether you’re listening to music or a baking podcast. So the volume down a little and do yourself a favor.