Headphones are a device that best reflects the modern human condition. Today’s wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds let you to link to a worldwide community of sounds while at the same time giving you the ability to separate yourself from everybody you see. You can keep up on the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music wherever you are. They’re fabulous. But the way we normally use them can also be a health risk.
This is particularly true with regards to your hearing health. And the World Health Organization confirms this also. That’s especially troubling because headphones can be found everywhere.
Some Risks With Earbuds or Headphones
Frances enjoys listening to Lizzo all the time. 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 respectful person, though, so Frances uses high-quality headphones to enjoy her tunes.
This is a fairly normal use of headphones. Certainly, there are lots of other purposes and places you might use them, but the basic purpose is the same.
We use headphones because we want the listening experience to be somewhat private (so we are able to listen to whatever we want) and also so we don’t bother the people around us (usually). But that’s where the hazard is: we’re exposing our ears to a considerable amount of noise in an extended and intense way. After a while, that noise can cause injury, which leads to hearing loss. And hearing loss has been connected to a wide range of other health-related conditions.
Protect Your Hearing
Hearing health, according to healthcare experts, is a vital element of your overall health. And that’s why headphones present somewhat of a health risk, especially since they tend to be omnipresent (headphones are rather easy to get your hands on).
The question is, then, what can you do about it? Researchers have put forward several solid measures we can all take to help make headphones a little safer:
- Don’t turn them up so loud: The World Health Organization recommends that your headphones not exceed a volume of 85dB (to put it in context, the volume of a normal conversation is around 60dB). Most mobile devices, regrettably, don’t have a dB volume meter standard. Find out the max output of your headphones or keep the volume at half or less.
- Take breaks: It’s difficult not to crank 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 again, give yourself at least a five minute break. The concept is, each day give your ears some low volume time. Decreasing your headphone time and watching volume levels will definitely decrease damage.
- Restrict age: Headphones are being worn by younger and younger people these days. And it might be wiser if we cut back on that a bit, limiting the amount of time younger children spend wearing headphones. The longer we can stop the damage, the more time you’ll have before hearing loss takes hold.
- Pay attention to volume warnings: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume becomes dangerous. So if you use a mobile device to listen to music, you need to heed these warnings.
You might want to think about reducing your headphone use entirely if you are at all concerned about your health.
It’s Only My Hearing, Right?
You only get one set of ears so you shouldn’t ignore the impact of hearing damage. But your hearing can have a big impact on a number of other health factors, including your general mental health. Issues like have been linked to hearing impairment.
So your overall wellness is forever linked to the health of your hearing. And that means your headphones may 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.