Headphones are a device that best demonstrates the modern human condition. Modern wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds enable you to connect to a worldwide community of sounds while at the same time enabling you to isolate yourself from everyone you see. You can keep up with the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music anywhere you find yourself. It’s pretty amazing! But the way we generally use them can also be a health hazard.
This is particularly true regarding your hearing health. And the World Health Organization agrees. Headphones are everywhere so this is especially worrisome.
Some Hazards With Earbuds or Headphones
Frances enjoys Lizzo. And so she listens to Lizzo a lot. Because Frances loves Lizzo so much, she also cranks up the volume (most people love to jam out to their favorite music at full volume). She’s a respectful person, though, so Frances uses high-quality headphones to enjoy her tunes.
This kind of headphone use is fairly common. Sure, there are lots of other purposes and places you could use them, but the fundamental function is the same.
We want to be able to listen to anything we want without disturbing people around us, that’s why we use headphones. But this is where it can become dangerous: we’re exposing our ears to a considerable amount of noise in a prolonged and intense way. Hearing loss can be the result of the injury caused by this prolonged exposure. And hearing loss has been linked to a wide range of other health-related illnesses.
Safeguard Your Hearing
Healthcare professionals consider hearing health to be an essential component of your overall wellness. And that’s the reason why headphones pose something of a health hazard, particularly since they tend to be everywhere (headphones are rather easy to get your hands on).
What can be done about it is the real question? Researchers have put forward several concrete steps we can all use to help make headphones a bit safer:
- Don’t turn them up so loud: 85dB is the maximum volume that you should listen to your headphones at as outlined by the World Health organization (for context, the volume of a typical conversation is about 60dB). Most mobile devices, unfortunately, don’t have a dB volume meter built in. Determine the max volume of your headphones or keep the volume at half or less.
- Take breaks: When you’re listening to music you really enjoy, it’s hard not to pump it up. That’s understandable. But you need to take a little time to allow your ears to recover. So every now and again, give yourself at least a five minute break. The strategy is, every day give your ears some low volume time. Limiting your headphone time and monitoring volume levels will definitely decrease damage.
- Volume warnings are important: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume gets to be dangerous. It’s extremely important for your hearing health to adhere to these warnings as much as possible.
- Restrict age: Headphones are being used by younger and younger people nowadays. And it’s likely a wise move to limit the amount of time younger people are spending with headphones. Hearing loss won’t occur as soon if you can avoid some damage when you’re younger.
You may want to consider decreasing your headphone usage entirely if you are at all worried about your health.
It’s Only My Hearing, Right?
You only get one pair of ears so you shouldn’t ignore the impact of hearing damage. But a few other health factors, including your mental health, can be influenced by hearing issues. Conditions such as have been connected to hearing impairment.
So your hearing health is linked inextricably to your overall wellness. And that means your headphones might 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.