Headphones are a device that best exemplifies the modern human condition. Today’s wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds enable you to link to a worldwide community of sounds while at the same time enabling you to isolate yourself from everyone you see. They allow you to watch Netflix or listen to music or keep up with the news from everywhere. They’re wonderful. But the way we generally 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 worrying because headphones can be found everywhere.
The Danger of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances loves to listen to Lizzo all the time. When she’s really jamming out she usually cranks up the volume (there’s a particular satisfaction in listening to your favorite song at full volume). She’s a considerate person, though, so Frances uses high-quality headphones to listen to her tunes.
This kind of headphone usage is fairly common. Of course, headphones can be used for a lot of things but the general concept is the same.
We want to be able to listen to whatever we want without bothering people around us, that’s why we use headphones. But this is where it can get dangerous: our ears are subjected to an intense and prolonged amount of noise. Eventually, that noise can cause injury, which leads to hearing loss. And hearing loss has been linked to a wide range of other health-related conditions.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Hearing health, according to healthcare specialists, is a vital part of your overall health. Headphones are easy to get a hold of and that’s one reason why they pose a health hazard.
The question is, then, what can you do about it? Researchers have provided numerous solid steps we can all take to help make headphones a bit safer:
- Take breaks: When you’re jamming out to music you really enjoy, it’s hard not to pump it up. That’s easy to understand. But your hearing needs a little 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 reduced volume time. In the same way, monitoring (and limiting) your headphone-wearing time will help keep moderate volumes from hurting your ears.
- Don’t turn them up so loud: 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 about 60dB). Unfortunately, most mobile devices don’t calculate their output in decibels. Try to make certain that your volume is less than half or look into the output of your specific headphones.
- 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 stick to these warnings as much as you can.
- Age restrictions: Headphones are being worn by younger and younger people nowadays. And it’s definitely a wise choice to minimize the amount of time younger people are spending with headphones. The longer we can avoid the damage, the more time you’ll have before hearing loss sets in.
If you’re at all worried about your ear health, you might want to curtail the amount of time you spend using your headphones entirely.
It’s Only 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 get one set of ears). But numerous other health factors, including your mental health, can be influenced by hearing problems. Untreated hearing loss has been connected to increases in the chances of problems like dementia and depression.
So your hearing health is connected inextricably to your all-around wellness. And that means your headphones may 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.