Headphones are a device that best exemplifies the modern human condition. Today’s wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds permit you to link to a global community of sounds while simultaneously enabling you to separate yourself from everybody you see. You can keep up with the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music wherever you find yourself. They’re incredible. But headphones might also be a health risk.
At least, as far as your ears are concerned. And this is something that the World Health Organization has also stated. Headphones are everywhere so this is especially worrisome.
The Hazard of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances loves Lizzo. And so she listens to Lizzo all of the time. When she’s really getting into it she usually cranks up the volume (there’s a special satisfaction 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 is a pretty typical use of headphones. Of course, headphones can be used for lots of purposes but the basic idea is the same.
We want to be able to listen to whatever we want without annoying people around us, that’s why we use headphones. But this is where it can become dangerous: our ears are exposed to an intense and extended amount of noise. Eventually, that noise can cause injury, which will lead to hearing loss. And hearing loss has been connected to a wide range of other health-related problems.
Safeguard Your Hearing
Healthcare specialists consider hearing health to be a key component of your overall well-being. And that’s why headphones pose somewhat of a health hazard, especially since they tend to be everywhere (headphones are really easy to get your hands on).
So here is the question, then, what can you do about it? So that you can make headphones a little safer to use, researchers have put forward several steps to take:
- Don’t turn them up so loud: 85dB is the maximum volume that you should listen to your headphones at according to the World Health organization (for context, the volume of a normal conversation is about 60dB). Sadly, most mobile devices don’t evaluate their output in decibels. Try to be sure that your volume is less than half or look up the output of your particular headphones.
- Take breaks: It’s tough not to crank up the volume when you’re listening to your favorite tunes. That’s easy to understand. But you should take some 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. In the same way, monitoring (and limiting) your headphone-wearing time can help keep higher volumes from damaging your ears.
- Age restrictions: Headphones are being worn by younger and younger people nowadays. And it might be wiser if we cut back on that a little, limiting the amount of time younger children spend wearing headphones. Hearing loss won’t occur as soon if you can prevent some damage when you’re younger.
- Heed 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 pay attention to these warnings.
If you’re at all concerned about your ear health, you might want to reduce the amount of time you spend on your headphones entirely.
It’s Just My Hearing, Right?
You only get one set of ears so you shouldn’t disregard the impact of hearing damage. But several other health aspects, including your mental health, can be influenced by hearing problems. Problems like have been linked to hearing impairment.
So your hearing health is linked inextricably to your total wellness. And that means your headphones may 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.