Headphones are a device that best exemplifies the modern human condition. Today’s wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds allow you to connect to a worldwide community of sounds while simultaneously enabling you to separate yourself from everybody around you. You can keep up on the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music anywhere you find yourself. It’s pretty amazing! 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 agrees. That’s exceedingly troubling because headphones are everywhere.
Some Dangers With Earbuds or Headphones
Frances enjoys Lizzo. And so she listens to Lizzo a lot. When she’s really jamming out she usually cranks up the volume (the majority of people love to listen to their favorite music at full power). Frances uses high-quality headphones so she won’t bother other people with her loud music.
This is a pretty normal use of headphones. Of course, headphones can be used for a lot of purposes but the general idea is the same.
We use headphones because we want a private listening experience (so we can listen to anything we want) and also so we don’t bother the people near us (usually). But this is where it can get dangerous: our ears are exposed to an intense and extended amount of noise. Hearing loss can be the result of the harm caused by this extended exposure. And a wide variety of other health concerns have been linked to hearing loss.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Healthcare experts think of hearing health as a crucial component of your all-around wellness. And that’s the reason why headphones present something of a health hazard, especially since they tend to be everywhere (headphones are quite easy to get a hold of).
So here is the question, then, what can be done about it? Researchers have put forward a few solid steps we can all take to help make headphones a bit safer:
- Take breaks: It’s hard not to crank up the volume when you’re listening to your favorite music. That’s easy to understand. But you need to take a little time to let your hearing to recover. So consider giving yourself a five-minute rest from your headphones every now and again. The strategy is, every day give your ears some lower volume time. Limiting your headphone time and checking volume levels will undoubtedly lessen damage.
- Restrict age: These days, younger and younger kids are wearing 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 prevent the damage, the more time you’ll have before hearing loss sets in.
- Volume warnings are important: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume becomes dangerous. It’s extremely important for your ear health to stick to these cautions as much as possible.
- Turn down the volume: 85dB is the highest volume that you should listen to your headphones at according to the World Health organization (for context, the volume of an average conversation is about 60dB). Most mobile devices, unfortunately, don’t have a dB volume meter built in. Try to be sure that your volume is lower than half or look into the output of your particular headphones.
You may want to consider minimizing your headphone use altogether if you are at all concerned about your health.
I Don’t Really 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 your hearing can have a huge impact on numerous other health factors, including your general mental health. Conditions including have been connected to hearing impairment.
So your hearing health is linked inextricably to your overall well-being. Whether you’re listening to a podcast or your favorite music, your headphone could become a health risk. So the volume down a little and do yourself a favor.