Is there a gadget that reflects the modern human condition better than headphones? Today’s 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 separate yourself from everyone you see. You can keep up with the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music anywhere you find yourself. They’re great. But headphones may also be a health risk.
At least, as far as your ears are concerned. And this is something that the World Health Organization has also acknowledged. That’s exceedingly troubling because headphones can be found everywhere.
The Danger of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances loves to listen to Lizzo all the time. When she’s really jamming out she normally cranks up the volume (there’s a particular enjoyment in listening to your favorite tune at max power). She’s a considerate person, though, so Frances uses high-quality headphones to listen to her tunes.
This type of headphone usage is pretty common. Sure, there are plenty of other reasons and places you might use them, but the primary function is the same.
We want to be able to listen to anything we want without annoying people around us, that’s the reason why we use headphones. But that’s where the hazard is: we’re exposing our ears to a considerable amount of noise in an extended and intense way. After a while, that noise can cause damage, which leads to hearing loss. And hearing loss has been linked to a wide range of other health-related illnesses.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Healthcare experts think of hearing health as an essential aspect of your all-around well-being. Headphones are easy to get a hold of and that’s one reason why they pose a health risk.
What can be done about it is the real question? So that you can make headphones a little safer to use, researchers have offered several steps to take:
- Don’t turn them up so loud: The World Health Organization suggests that your headphones not go beyond a volume of 85dB (60dB is the normal volume of a conversation to put it in context). Unfortunately, most mobile devices don’t calculate their output in decibels. Try to be sure that your volume is lower than half or look up the output of your specific headphones.
- Take breaks: It’s hard not to pump up the volume when you’re listening to your favorite tunes. That’s understandable. But your hearing needs a bit of time to recuperate. So consider 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. By the same token, monitoring (and restricting) your headphone-wearing time will help keep moderate volumes from hurting your ears.
- Age restrictions: Nowadays, younger and younger kids are wearing headphones. And it’s probably a wise move to reduce the amount of time younger people are spending with headphones. Hearing loss won’t develop as soon if you can stop some damage when you’re younger.
- 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 observe these warnings.
You may want to consider decreasing your headphone usage entirely if you are at all concerned about your health.
It’s Just My Hearing, Right?
You only have one pair of ears so you shouldn’t disregard the impact of hearing damage. But several other health factors, including your mental health, can be impacted by hearing problems. Untreated hearing loss has been connected to increases in the chances of issues like dementia and depression.
So your hearing health is linked inextricably to your overall wellness. Whether you’re listening to a podcast or your favorite music, your headphone might become a health risk. So turn down the volume a little and do yourself a favor.