Is there a gadget that reflects the present human condition better than headphones? Today’s wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds let you to connect to a worldwide community of sounds while at the same time enabling you to isolate yourself from everyone you see. You can keep up on the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music anywhere you find yourself. They’re great. But the way we tend to 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 reported. Headphones are everywhere so this is very worrisome.
The Hazard of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances loves Lizzo. And so she listens to Lizzo a lot. Because Frances loves Lizzo so much, she also turns the volume way up (there’s a special satisfaction in listening to your favorite song at max volume). Frances uses high-quality headphones so she won’t bother other people with her loud music.
This is a pretty common use of headphones. Needless to say, headphones can be used for lots of purposes but the basic idea 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’re not bothering the people around us (usually). But this is where it can become dangerous: we’re exposing our ears to a significant amount of noise in a prolonged and intense way. Hearing loss can be the consequence of the damage caused by this extended exposure. And hearing loss has been linked to a wide range of other health-related illnesses.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Healthcare experts consider hearing health to be a major component of your overall well-being. And that’s the reason why headphones pose something of a health risk, especially since they tend to be omnipresent (headphones are quite easy to get your hands on).
What can be done about it is the real question? Researchers have provided a few tangible steps we can all take to help make headphones a bit safer:
- Take breaks: It’s tough not to pump up the volume when you’re listening to your favorite tunes. That’s understandable. But you should take a bit of time to allow your ears to recover. So every now and again, give yourself at least a five minute break. The concept 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 damaging your ears.
- Turn down the volume: The World Health Organization suggests that your headphones not go beyond a volume of 85dB (to put it in context, the volume of an average conversation is about 60dB). Most mobile devices, regrettably, don’t have a dB volume meter built in. Look into the max output of your headphones or keep the volume at half or less.
- Listen to volume warnings: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume becomes dangerous. It’s incredibly important for your hearing health to adhere to these cautions as much as possible.
- Age restrictions: These days, younger and younger kids are wearing headphones. And it’s definitely a wise decision to limit the amount of time younger people are spending with headphones. The longer we can protect against the damage, the more time you’ll have before hearing loss takes hold.
If you’re at all concerned about your ear health, you might want to reduce the amount of time you spend using your headphones altogether.
I Don’t Really Need to Worry About my Hearing, Right?
When you’re young, it’s not hard to consider damage to your hearing as trivial (which you should not do, you only have one pair of ears). But several other health factors, including your mental health, can be impacted by hearing issues. Problems like have been connected to hearing impairment.
So your overall wellness is forever connected to the health of your hearing. Whether you’re listening to a podcast or your favorite music, your headphone might become a health risk. So do yourself a favor and down the volume, just a little bit.