Is there a gadget that exemplifies the present human condition better than headphones? Modern wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds enable you to link to a worldwide community of sounds while simultaneously enabling you to isolate yourself from everyone you see. They allow you to listen to music or watch Netflix or stay in tune to the news from anywhere. They’re wonderful. But headphones could also be a health hazard.
This is specifically true with regards to your hearing health. And this is something that the World Health Organization has also reported. Headphones are everywhere so this is very troubling.
The Danger of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances enjoys Lizzo. And so she listens to Lizzo all of the time. Because Frances loves Lizzo so much, she also turns the volume way up (most people love to jam out to their favorite music at full power). She’s a respectful person, though, so Frances uses high-quality headphones to listen to her tunes.
This is a fairly typical use of headphones. Of course, headphones can be used for lots of things but the overall idea is the same.
We use headphones because we want the listening experience to be somewhat private (so we can listen to anything we want) and also so we’re not bothering the people around us (usually). 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. Eventually, that noise can cause damage, which will lead to hearing loss. And hearing loss has been associated with a wide range of other health-related ailments.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Hearing health, according to healthcare specialists, is an essential part of your general health. Headphones are easy to get and that’s one reason why they pose a health threat.
The question is, then, what can you do about it? Researchers have provided several solid steps we can all take to help make headphones a bit safer:
- Take breaks: It’s tough not to crank up the volume when you’re listening to your favorite music. Most people can relate to that. But you should take some time to allow your hearing to recover. So think about giving yourself a five-minute rest from your headphones every now and again. The idea is, every day give your ears some reduced volume time. In the same way, monitoring (and restricting) your headphone-wearing time can help keep higher volumes from hurting your ears.
- Volume warnings are important: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume gets to be dangerous. So if you use one 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 smarter if we reduce that a bit, 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.
- 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 around 60dB). Unfortunately, most mobile devices don’t evaluate their output in decibels. Determine the max output of your headphones or keep the volume at half or less.
If you’re at all concerned about your ear health, you might want to curtail the amount of time you spend using your headphones altogether.
It’s Just My Hearing, Right?
When you’re younger, it’s easy to consider damage to your ears as unimportant (which you shouldn’t do, you only get one set of ears). But numerous other health factors, including your mental health, can be affected by hearing issues. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to increases in the chances of issues like depression and dementia.
So your overall wellness 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 risk. So do yourself a favor and turn the volume down, just a little.