Headphones are a device that best demonstrates the modern human condition. Modern wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds allow you to link to a worldwide community of sounds while simultaneously enabling you to isolate yourself from everybody you see. You can keep up on the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music wherever you find yourself. It’s pretty awesome! But the way we tend to use them can also be a health risk.
At least, as far as your hearing health is concerned. And the World Health Organization confirms this also. That’s exceedingly worrying because headphones can be found everywhere.
Some Hazards With Earbuds or Headphones
Frances loves to listen to Lizzo all the time. When she’s really jamming out she normally cranks up the volume (there’s a special satisfaction in listening to your favorite song at max power). She’s a respectful person, though, so Frances uses high-quality headphones to enjoy her tunes.
This type of headphone use is relatively common. Needless to say, headphones can be used for a lot of things but the overall idea 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 this is where it can get dangerous: our ears are exposed to an intense and prolonged amount of noise. Hearing loss can be the result of the injury caused by this extended exposure. And hearing loss has been linked to a wide range of other health-related problems.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Hearing health, according to healthcare specialists, is an integral component of your complete health. And that’s why headphones present somewhat of a health hazard, particularly since they tend to be omnipresent (headphones are quite easy to get a hold of).
So here is the question, then, what can be done about it? So that you can make headphones a little safer to use, researchers have offered a few steps to take:
- Age restrictions: These days, younger and younger kids are using headphones. And it might be wiser if we reduce that a little, limiting the amount of time younger children spend using headphones. The longer we can protect against the damage, the more time you’ll have before hearing loss takes hold.
- 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 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, every day give your ears some lower volume time. In the same way, monitoring (and restricting) your headphone-wearing time can help keep moderate volumes from injuring your ears.
- Turn down the volume: 85dB is the maximum volume that you should listen to your headphones at as outlined by the World Health organization (60dB is the average volume of a conversation for context). Most mobile devices, regrettably, don’t have a dB volume meter standard. Try to make sure that your volume is less than half or look up the output of your particular headphones.
- Volume warnings are important: It’s likely that you listen to your music on your mobile device, and most mobile devices have built-in warnings when you begin pumping up the volume a little too much. So if you use one to listen to music, you need to observe these warnings.
If you’re at all worried about your ear health, you might want to curtail the amount of time you spend using your headphones entirely.
It’s Just My Hearing, Right?
You only have one pair of ears so you shouldn’t ignore the impact of hearing damage. But your hearing can have a huge impact on a number of other health factors, including your general mental health. Neglected hearing loss has been linked to increases in the risk for issues like depression and dementia.
So your hearing health is connected inextricably to your total well-being. And that means your headphones may be a health risk, whether you’re listening to music or a baking podcast. So do yourself a favor and down the volume, just a bit.