Is there a device that exemplifies the modern human condition better than headphones? Modern wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds enable you to connect to a global community of sounds while simultaneously giving you the ability to separate yourself from everybody around you. They allow you to listen to music or watch Netflix or stay in tune to the news from everywhere. It’s pretty awesome! But the way we normally use them can 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 are everywhere.
The Danger of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances enjoys listening to Lizzo all the time. Because Frances loves Lizzo so much, she also turns the volume way up (most people love to listen to their favorite music at full power). She’s a considerate person, though, so Frances uses high-quality headphones to listen to her tunes.
This kind of headphone use is relatively common. Needless to say, headphones can be used for lots of things but the general concept is the same.
We use headphones because we want the listening experience to be somewhat private (so we are able to listen to whatever we want) and also so we’re not bothering the people near us (usually). But that’s where the hazard lies: our ears are exposed to an intense and extended amount of noise. Eventually, that noise can cause injury, which will lead to hearing loss. And hearing loss has been connected to a wide variety of other health-related ailments.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Healthcare specialists consider hearing health to be a crucial element of your all-around health. Headphones are easy to get a hold of and that’s one reason why they present a health threat.
What can be done about it is the real question? Researchers have provided several tangible steps we can all take to help make headphones a bit safer:
- Turn down the volume: 85dB is the highest volume that you should listen to your headphones at according to the World Health organization (for context, the volume of an average conversation is around 60dB). Most mobile devices, regrettably, don’t have a dB volume meter built in. Try to make sure that your volume is less than half or look into the output of your particular headphones.
- Age restrictions: Headphones are being used by younger and younger people these days. And it’s probably a wise decision to reduce the amount of time younger people are spending with headphones. Hearing loss won’t occur as soon if you can prevent some damage when you’re younger.
- Take breaks: When you’re jamming out to music you really like, it’s hard not to crank it up. Most people can relate to that. But your hearing needs a bit of time to recuperate. So think about giving yourself a five-minute rest from your headphones here and there. The idea is to give your ears some time with lower volumes every day. In the same way, monitoring (and limiting) your headphone-wearing time will help keep higher volumes from hurting your ears.
- Volume warnings are important: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume becomes dangerous. It’s very important for your hearing health to stick to these cautions as much as possible.
If you’re at all concerned about your ear health, you may want to restrict the amount of time you spend on your headphones altogether.
It’s Just My Hearing, Right?
You only get one pair of ears so you shouldn’t dismiss the impact of hearing damage. But a few other health factors, including your mental health, can be influenced by hearing issues. Neglected hearing loss has been linked to increases in the chances of issues like depression and dementia.
So the health of your hearing is connected inextricably to your all-around wellness. Whether you’re listening to a podcast or your favorite music, your headphone could become a health risk. So the volume down a little and do yourself a favor.