Headphones are a device that best reflects the modern human condition. Today’s wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds enable you to connect to a worldwide community of sounds while simultaneously giving you the ability to isolate yourself from everybody you see. You can keep up on the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music wherever you are. They’re incredible. But headphones could also be a health hazard.
At least, as far as your hearing health is concerned. And this is something that the World Health Organization has also stated. Headphones are everywhere so this is very worrisome.
Some Risks With Earbuds or Headphones
Frances loves to listen to Lizzo all the time. When she’s really getting into it she usually cranks up the volume (most people love to listen to their favorite music at full volume). Frances uses high-quality headphones so she won’t annoy others with her loud music.
This kind of headphone use is fairly common. Needless to say, headphones can be used for lots of purposes but the overall concept is the same.
We want to be able to listen to anything we want without bothering people around us, that’s why we use headphones. But that’s where the hazard lies: our ears are exposed to an intense and prolonged amount of noise. After a while, that noise can cause damage, which leads to hearing loss. And a wide variety of other health issues have been linked to hearing loss.
Protect Your Hearing
Hearing health, according to healthcare professionals, is an essential component of your general health. And that’s why headphones present somewhat of a health hazard, especially since they tend to be omnipresent (headphones are very easy to get your hands on).
What can be done about it is the real question? So that you can make headphones a little safer to use, researchers have put forward a few steps to take:
- Don’t turn them up so loud: The World Health Organization recommends that your headphones not exceed a volume of 85dB (60dB is the normal level of a conversation to put it in context). Most mobile devices, unfortunately, don’t have a dB volume meter standard. Try to be sure that your volume is lower than half or look into the output of your specific headphones.
- Volume warnings are important: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume becomes dangerous. So if you use one to listen to music, you need to pay attention to these warnings.
- Restrict age: Headphones are being used by younger and younger people nowadays. And it’s likely a smart move to minimize the amount of time younger people are spending with headphones. The longer we can stop the damage, the more time you’ll have before hearing loss begins.
- Take breaks: When you’re jamming out to music you really enjoy, it’s hard not to pump it up. That’s easy to understand. But your ears need a bit of time to recuperate. So think about giving yourself a five-minute break from your headphones here and there. The idea is, every day give your ears some low volume time. By the same token, monitoring (and limiting) your headphone-wearing time can help keep higher volumes from damaging your ears.
If you’re at all worried about your ear health, you might want to restrict the amount of time you spend using your headphones entirely.
It’s Only My Hearing, Right?
You only get one set of ears so you shouldn’t dismiss the impact of hearing damage. But a few other health aspects, including your mental health, can be impacted by hearing problems. Problems like have been linked to hearing impairment.
So your general well-being is forever linked to the health of your ears. Whether you’re listening to a podcast or your favorite music, your headphone might become a health risk. So turn down the volume a little and do yourself a favor.