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 at the same time enabling you to isolate yourself from everybody you see. They let you listen to music or watch Netflix or stay in tune to the news from everywhere. It’s pretty amazing! But the way we normally use them can also be a health hazard.
At least, as far as your hearing health is concerned. And the World Health Organization agrees. Headphones are everywhere so this is especially worrisome.
The Hazard of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances loves to listen to Lizzo all the time. Because Frances loves Lizzo so much, she also cranks up the volume (most people love to listen to their favorite music at full volume). Frances uses high-quality headphones so she won’t bother other people with her loud music.
This type of headphone usage is relatively common. Needless to say, headphones can be used for a lot of things but the general concept is the same.
We want to be able to listen to whatever we want without annoying people around us, that’s the reason why we use headphones. But that’s where the danger lies: our ears are subjected to an intense and extended amount of noise. Eventually, that noise can cause injury, which leads to hearing loss. And a wide variety of other health conditions have been linked to hearing loss.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Healthcare experts consider hearing health to be a key element of your all-around wellness. Headphones are easy to get and that’s one reason why they pose a health threat.
What can you do about it is the real question? Researchers have provided several concrete measures we can all take to help make headphones a bit safer:
- Volume warnings are important: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume becomes dangerous. So if you use a mobile device to listen to music, you need to heed these warnings.
- Turn down the volume: The World Health Organization suggests that your headphones not exceed a volume of 85dB (60dB is the average volume of a conversation for context). Regrettably, most mobile devices don’t measure their output in decibels. Try to be certain that your volume is lower than half or look up the output of your particular headphones.
- Take breaks: When you’re jamming out to music you really enjoy, it’s tough not to pump it up. That’s easy to understand. But your ears need a bit of time to recuperate. So think about giving yourself a five-minute break from your headphones every now and again. The idea is, each day give your ears some reduced volume time. Reducing your headphone time and checking volume levels will definitely lessen damage.
- Age restrictions: Headphones are being used by younger and younger people nowadays. And it’s likely a smart move to minimize the amount of time younger people are spending with headphones. The longer we can prevent the damage, the more time you’ll have before hearing loss begins.
You may want to think about minimizing your headphone use entirely if you are at all concerned about your health.
It’s Just My Hearing, Right?
When you’re younger, it’s easy to consider damage to your hearing as unimportant (which you should not do, you only have one set of ears). But your hearing can have a big impact on several other health factors, including your overall mental health. Neglected hearing loss has been connected to increases in the chances of problems like dementia and depression.
So your general well-being is forever linked to the health of your hearing. Whether you’re listening to a podcast or your favorite music, your headphone could become a health risk. So do yourself a favor and down the volume, just a little.