Headphones are a device that best reflects the modern human condition. Today, headphones and earbuds enable you to isolate yourself from people around you while simultaneously allowing you to connect to the whole world of sounds. You can keep up on the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music anywhere you find yourself. They’re incredible. But headphones may also be a health hazard.
This is specifically true with regards to your hearing health. And the World Health Organization agrees. That’s especially worrying because headphones can be found everywhere.
The Danger of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances enjoys Lizzo. And so she listens to Lizzo a lot. Because Frances loves Lizzo so much, she also cranks up the volume (there’s a special satisfaction in listening to your favorite song at full volume). Frances uses high-quality headphones so she won’t annoy other people with her loud music.
This kind of headphone usage is pretty common. Sure, there are lots of other purposes and places you could use them, but the fundamental purpose is the same.
We use headphones because we want the listening experience to be somewhat private (so we can listen to anything we want) and also so we don’t bother the people around us (usually). But that’s where the danger is: we’re exposing our ears to a considerable amount of noise in an extended and intense way. Hearing loss can be the consequence of the injury caused by this extended exposure. And hearing loss has been connected to a wide range of other health-related illnesses.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Hearing health, according to healthcare experts, is a major part of your general health. Headphones are easy to get and that’s one reason why they create a health risk.
So here is the question, then, what can you do about it? In an effort to make headphones a little safer to use, researchers have put forward a few steps to take:
- 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.
- Take breaks: It’s difficult not to crank up the volume when you’re listening to your favorite music. That’s understandable. But your ears need a little time to recover. So think about giving yourself a five-minute break from your headphones now and then. The idea is, every day give your ears some lower volume time. Reducing your headphone time and watching volume levels will undoubtedly decrease injury.
- 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 level of a conversation for context). Unfortunately, most mobile devices don’t evaluate their output in decibels. Try to be certain that your volume is less than half or look up the output of your particular headphones.
- Restrict age: Headphones are being worn by younger and younger people nowadays. And it’s definitely a smart decision to limit 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.
You might want to think about lessening your headphone usage altogether if you are at all concerned about your health.
I Don’t Really Need to Worry About my Hearing, Right?
When you’re young, it’s easy to consider damage to your ears as unimportant (which you shouldn’t do, you only have one pair of ears). But your hearing can have a huge impact on numerous other health factors, including your general mental health. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to increases in the risk for issues like depression and dementia.
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 hazard. So do yourself a favor and turn the volume down, just a little.