Headphones are a device that best reflects the modern human condition. Today’s wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds let you to link to a worldwide community of sounds while simultaneously enabling you to separate yourself from everyone you see. They let you listen to music or watch Netflix or keep up with the news from everywhere. It’s pretty awesome! But headphones might 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 stated. That’s especially troubling because headphones can be found everywhere.
Some Risks With Earbuds or Headphones
Frances loves 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 listen to their favorite music at full power). She’s a respectful person, though, so Frances uses high-quality headphones to listen to her tunes.
This type of headphone use is fairly common. Sure, there are lots of other purposes and places you might use them, but the basic purpose 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 that’s where the danger is: we’re subjecting our ears to a significant amount of noise in a prolonged and intense way. After a while, that noise can cause injury, which leads to hearing loss. And hearing loss has been associated with a wide range of other health-related problems.
Safeguard Your Hearing
Hearing health, according to healthcare professionals, is a critical element of your overall health. 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 provided a number of measures to take:
- Volume warnings are important: It’s likely that you listen to your music on your mobile device, and most mobile devices have built-in warnings when you begin pumping up the volume a little too much. It’s very important for your hearing health to adhere to these warnings as much as you can.
- 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 (to put it in context, the volume of a normal conversation is about 60dB). Regrettably, most mobile devices don’t evaluate 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 tough not to crank up the volume when you’re listening to your favorite tunes. That’s easy to understand. But your hearing needs a bit of time to recover. So every now and then, give yourself at least a five minute break. The idea is, each day give your ears some lower volume time. By the same token, monitoring (and restricting) your headphone-wearing time can help keep higher volumes from damaging your ears.
- Age restrictions: Headphones are being worn by younger and younger people these days. And it might be smarter if we reduce that a little, limiting the amount of time younger children spend wearing headphones. Hearing loss won’t occur as soon if you can prevent some damage when you’re younger.
You might want to consider decreasing your headphone usage entirely if you are at all concerned about your health.
I Don’t Really Need to be Concerned About my Hearing, Right?
You only have one set of ears so you shouldn’t ignore the impact of hearing damage. But several other health aspects, including your mental health, can be influenced by hearing issues. Conditions like have been connected to hearing impairment.
So your total wellness is forever connected to the health of your hearing. And that means your headphones could be a health hazard, whether you’re listening to music or a baking podcast. So do yourself a favor and turn the volume down, just a little bit.