Headphones are a device that best reflects the modern human condition. These days, headphones and earbuds enable you to separate yourself from people around you while simultaneously enabling you to connect to the whole world of sounds. You can keep up on the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music wherever you are. It’s pretty amazing! But headphones could also be a health hazard.
This is particularly true regarding your hearing health. And this is something that the World Health Organization has also acknowledged. That’s especially worrying because headphones are everywhere.
The Hazard of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances loves to listen to Lizzo all the time. Because Frances loves Lizzo so much, she also turns the volume way up (there’s a special satisfaction in listening to your favorite tune at max power). Frances uses high-quality headphones so she won’t bother other people with her loud music.
This kind of headphone use is relatively common. Of course, headphones can be used for a lot of purposes but the basic concept is the same.
We use headphones because we want the listening experience to be somewhat private (so we can listen to whatever we want) and also so we don’t bother the people around us (usually). But this is where it can get dangerous: we’re exposing our ears to a considerable amount of noise in a prolonged and intense way. Eventually, that noise can cause damage, which leads to hearing loss. And a wide assortment of other health conditions have been associated with hearing loss.
Protect Your Hearing
Healthcare experts consider hearing health to be a vital element of your general health. Headphones are easy to get a hold of and that’s one reason why they pose a health threat.
What can you do about it is the real question? So that you can make headphones a little safer to use, researchers have put forward numerous measures to take:
- Don’t turn them up so loud: The World Health Organization suggests that your headphones not go over a volume of 85dB (60dB is the common level of a conversation to put it in context). Unfortunately, most mobile devices don’t calculate their output in decibels. Try to be certain that your volume is lower than half or look into the output of your particular headphones.
- Take breaks: When you’re jamming out to music you really enjoy, it’s difficult not to pump it up. That’s understandable. But you should take a bit of time to let your hearing to recover. So every now and then, give yourself at least a five minute rest. The strategy is to give your ears some time with lower volumes every day. By the same token, monitoring (and limiting) your headphone-wearing time will help keep moderate volumes from injuring your ears.
- Volume warnings are important: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume gets to be dangerous. It’s very important for your ear health to adhere to these warnings as much as possible.
- Age restrictions: Headphones are being worn by younger and younger people nowadays. 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 stop the damage, the more time you’ll have before hearing loss sets in.
You might want to consider minimizing your headphone usage entirely if you are at all worried about your health.
It’s Just My Hearing, Right?
You only have one set of ears so you shouldn’t ignore the impact of hearing damage. But numerous other health aspects, including your mental health, can be influenced by hearing issues. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to increases in the chances of issues like depression and dementia.
So your total well-being is forever linked to the health of your ears. 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.