Is there a device that exemplifies the current human condition better than headphones? Today’s wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds allow you to link to a global community of sounds while at the same time giving you the ability to separate yourself from everybody you see. They let you listen to music or watch Netflix or stay in tune to the news from everywhere. They’re wonderful. But the way we generally use them can also be a health risk.
At least, as far as your hearing health is concerned. And the World Health Organization confirms this also. Headphones are everywhere so this is very worrisome.
The Danger of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances enjoys listening to Lizzo all the time. When she’s really jamming out she usually cranks up the volume (there’s a certain enjoyment in listening to your favorite song at max volume). Frances uses high-quality headphones so she won’t bother others with her loud music.
This type of headphone usage is fairly common. Sure, there are lots of other reasons and places you might use them, but the basic purpose is the same.
We want to be able to listen to anything we want without disturbing people around us, that’s why we use headphones. But that’s where the danger is: we’re exposing our ears to a significant amount of noise in a prolonged and intense way. Hearing loss can be the result of the harm caused by this extended exposure. And a wide range of other health concerns have been connected to hearing loss.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Healthcare experts consider hearing health to be a key element of your overall health. Headphones are easy to get and that’s one reason why they create a health threat.
So here is the question, then, what can you do about it? Researchers have offered numerous solid steps we can all take to help make headphones a little safer:
- Take breaks: It’s difficult not to pump up the volume when you’re listening to your favorite tunes. That’s easy to understand. But you need to take a little time to let your hearing to recover. So every now and then, give yourself at least a five minute break. The strategy is to give your ears some time with lower volumes each day. Decreasing your headphone time and watching volume levels will definitely lessen injury.
- Turn the volume down: The World Health Organization suggests that your headphones not go beyond a volume of 85dB (for context, the volume of a typical conversation is about 60dB). Sadly, most mobile devices don’t measure their output in decibels. Try to be certain that your volume is lower than half or look into the output of your particular 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 start cranking up the volume a little too much. So if you use a mobile device to listen to music, you need to heed these warnings.
- Age restrictions: Headphones are being used by younger and younger people these days. And it’s likely a smart move to limit the amount of time younger people are spending with headphones. Hearing loss won’t set in as soon if you can prevent some damage when you’re younger.
You may want to think about minimizing your headphone usage entirely if you are at all concerned about your health.
It’s Just My Hearing, Right?
When you’re young, it’s not hard to consider damage to your ears as trivial (which you shouldn’t do, you only get one set of ears). But your hearing can have a substantial impact on a number of other health factors, including your overall mental health. Issues like have been connected to hearing impairment.
So your total well-being is forever connected to the health of your ears. And that means your headphones might be a health hazard, whether you’re listening to music or a baking podcast. So turn down the volume a little and do yourself a favor.