Headphones are a device that best reflects the modern human condition. Modern wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds let you to connect to a worldwide community of sounds while at the same time giving you the ability to isolate yourself from everyone around you. You can keep up with the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music wherever you are. It’s pretty awesome! But headphones could also be a health risk.
This is particularly true with regards to your hearing health. And the World Health Organization agrees. That’s especially troubling because headphones are everywhere.
The Danger of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances enjoys listening to Lizzo all the time. Because Frances loves Lizzo so much, she also cranks up the volume (there’s a special enjoyment in listening to your favorite track at full volume). She’s a considerate person, though, so Frances uses high-quality headphones to listen to her tunes.
This is a pretty normal use of headphones. Certainly, there are plenty of other reasons and places you could use them, but the basic function is the same.
We want to be able to listen to anything we want without disturbing people around us, that’s the reason why we use headphones. But that’s where the danger is: we’re exposing our ears to a considerable amount of noise in an extended and intense way. Over time, that noise can cause damage, which leads to hearing loss. And a wide range of other health problems have been connected to hearing loss.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Healthcare experts consider hearing health to be a key component of your all-around health. Headphones are easy to get a hold of and that’s one reason why they create a health hazard.
So here is the question, then, what can be done about it? Researchers have provided a few concrete measures we can all take to help make headphones a bit safer:
- Don’t turn them up so loud: The World Health Organization suggests that your headphones not go beyond a volume of 85dB (for context, the volume of an average conversation is something like 60dB). Regrettably, most mobile devices don’t measure their output in decibels. Try to be certain that your volume is less than half or look up the output of your particular headphones.
- Age restrictions: These days, younger and younger kids are using headphones. And it may be wiser if we reduce that a bit, 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 sets in.
- Listen to volume warnings: It’s likely that you listen to your tunes on your mobile device, and most mobile devices have built-in warnings when you start cranking up the volume a little too much. It’s very important for your ear health to adhere to these cautions as much as you can.
- Take breaks: When you’re jamming out to music you really like, it’s hard not to pump it up. That’s easy to understand. But you should take a little time to let your hearing to recover. So every now and then, give yourself at least a five minute rest. The idea is, every day give your ears some lower volume time. Reducing your headphone time and checking volume levels will undoubtedly decrease injury.
If you’re at all concerned about your ear health, you might want to reduce the amount of time you spend using your headphones entirely.
I Don’t Actually Need to Worry About my Hearing, Right?
You only get one set of ears so you shouldn’t dismiss the impact of hearing damage. But several other health aspects, including your mental health, can be impacted by hearing problems. Conditions including have been linked to hearing impairment.
So the health of your hearing is connected inextricably to your overall well-being. And that means your headphones could be a health hazard, whether you’re listening to music or a baking podcast. So the volume down a little and do yourself a favor.