Headphones are a device that best reflects the modern human condition. Today’s wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds let you to connect to a worldwide community of sounds while simultaneously giving you the ability to separate yourself from everyone around you. You can keep up with the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music anywhere you are. It’s pretty amazing! But headphones might also be a health risk.
This is specifically true regarding your hearing health. And the World Health Organization agrees. That’s especially worrying because headphones can be found everywhere.
Some Risks With Earbuds or Headphones
Frances loves Lizzo. And so she listens to Lizzo a lot. Because Frances loves Lizzo so much, she also turns the volume way up (the majority of people love to jam out to their favorite music at full power). She’s a considerate person, though, so Frances uses high-quality headphones to enjoy her tunes.
This kind of headphone use is pretty common. Of course, headphones can be used for a lot of purposes but the basic concept is the same.
We use headphones because we want a private listening experience (so we are able to listen to anything we want) and also so we don’t bother the people near us (usually). But that’s where the hazard lies: we’re exposing our ears to a considerable amount of noise in an extended and intense way. Hearing loss can be the result of the harm caused by this prolonged exposure. And a wide assortment of other health conditions have been connected to hearing loss.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Healthcare specialists think of hearing health as a key component of your general well-being. And that’s why headphones present something of a health risk, particularly since they tend to be everywhere (headphones are quite easy to get a hold of).
The question is, then, what can you do about it? So that you can make headphones a little safer to use, researchers have offered a number of measures to take:
- Volume warnings are important: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume becomes dangerous. It’s incredibly important for your hearing health to adhere to these cautions as much as possible.
- Turn down the volume: 85dB is the maximum volume that you should listen to your headphones at according to the World Health organization (60dB is the average volume of a conversation for context). Most mobile devices, unfortunately, don’t have a dB volume meter built in. Try to make certain that your volume is less than half or look up the output of your particular headphones.
- Restrict age: Nowadays, younger and younger kids are using headphones. And it might be smarter if we cut back on that a bit, limiting the amount of time younger children spend using headphones. The longer we can prevent the damage, the more time you’ll have before hearing loss takes hold.
- Take breaks: When you’re listening to music you really like, it’s difficult not to pump it up. That’s easy to understand. But your ears need a little time to recover. So every now and then, give yourself at least a five minute rest. The strategy is to give your ears some time with lower volumes every day. Reducing your headphone time and watching volume levels will undoubtedly reduce injury.
If you’re at all concerned about your ear health, you might want to restrict the amount of time you spend using your headphones entirely.
I Don’t Actually Need to Worry About my Hearing, Right?
When you’re young, it’s easy to consider damage to your ears as unimportant (which you should not do, you only have one set of ears). But a few other health factors, including your mental health, can be influenced by hearing problems. Neglected hearing loss has been linked to increases in the chances of issues like dementia and depression.
So the health of your hearing is linked inextricably to your all-around 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.