Headphones are a device that best reflects the modern human condition. These days, headphones and earbuds allow you to separate yourself from people around you while at the same time allowing you to connect to the entire world of sounds. They allow you to listen to music or watch Netflix or keep up with the news from anywhere. It’s pretty awesome! But the way we tend to use them can also be a health risk.
At least, as far as your hearing health is concerned. And this is something that the World Health Organization has also stated. Headphones are everywhere so this is very worrisome.
The Danger of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances enjoys Lizzo. And so she listens to Lizzo a lot. When she’s really jamming out she normally cranks up the volume (the majority of people love to jam out to their favorite music at full power). She’s a considerate person, though, so Frances uses high-quality headphones to enjoy her tunes.
This is a fairly common use of headphones. Sure, there are lots of other reasons and places you could use them, but the fundamental function 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: our ears are exposed to an intense and extended amount of noise. Over time, that noise can cause injury, which will lead to hearing loss. And a wide range of other health issues have been linked to hearing loss.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Healthcare experts consider hearing health to be a vital element of your general health. And that’s why headphones pose somewhat of a health risk, particularly since they tend to be everywhere (headphones are rather easy to get a hold of).
So here is the question, then, what can you do about it? Researchers have put forward numerous concrete steps we can all take to help make headphones a little safer:
- 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 start pumping up the volume a bit too much. It’s very important for your hearing health to stick to these cautions as much as possible.
- Restrict age: Headphones are being worn by younger and younger people nowadays. And it might be wiser if we cut back on that a little, limiting the amount of time younger children spend wearing headphones. The longer we can prevent the damage, the more time you’ll have before hearing loss begins.
- Turn down the volume: The World Health Organization suggests that your headphones not go over a volume of 85dB (to put it in context, the volume of a typical conversation is around 60dB). Unfortunately, most mobile devices don’t calculate their output in decibels. Determine the max volume of your headphones or keep the volume at half or less.
- Take breaks: It’s difficult not to pump up the volume when you’re listening to your favorite tunes. Most people can relate to that. But you need to take some time to let your ears to recover. So every now and again, give yourself at least a five minute rest. The concept is, each day give your ears some lower volume time. Decreasing your headphone time and checking volume levels will definitely lessen damage.
You might want to think about lessening your headphone use altogether if you are at all concerned about your health.
It’s Only My Hearing, Right?
When you’re younger, it’s not hard to consider damage to your hearing as trivial (which you shouldn’t do, you only get one set of ears). But your hearing can have a huge impact on numerous other health factors, including your overall mental health. Untreated hearing loss has been connected to increases in the risk for issues like depression and dementia.
So your general well-being is forever linked to the health of your ears. Whether you’re listening to a podcast or your favorite music, your headphone could become a health risk. So do yourself a favor and turn the volume down, just a little bit.