Is there a gadget that reflects the current human condition better than headphones? Today’s wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds permit you to connect to a worldwide community of sounds while at the same time enabling you to separate yourself from everybody around you. You can keep up with the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music anywhere you are. It’s pretty awesome! But headphones could also be a health risk.
This is particularly true with regards to your hearing health. And the World Health Organization confirms this also. Headphones are everywhere so this is very troubling.
Some Hazards With Earbuds or Headphones
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 enjoyment in listening to your favorite track at full volume). Frances uses high-quality headphones so she won’t annoy others with her loud music.
This type of headphone use is fairly common. Sure, there are plenty of other reasons and places you might use them, but the primary 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 that’s where the danger is: we’re subjecting our ears to a significant amount of noise in an extended and intense way. Hearing loss can be the result of the harm caused by this extended exposure. And hearing loss has been associated with a wide range of other health-related illnesses.
Safeguard Your Hearing
Healthcare professionals think of hearing health as an essential element of your all-around well-being. Headphones are easy to get and that’s one reason why they present a health threat.
The question is, then, what can you do about it? So that you can make headphones a little safer to use, researchers have put forward a few steps to take:
- Volume warnings are important: It’s likely that you listen to your tunes on your mobile device, and most mobile devices have built-in warnings when you begin pumping up the volume a little too much. So if you use a mobile device to listen to music, you need to observe these warnings.
- Take breaks: When you’re jamming out to music you really like, it’s tough not to crank it up. Most people can relate to that. But you need to take a bit of time to allow your hearing to recover. So think about giving yourself a five-minute rest from your headphones here and there. The concept is to give your ears some time with lower volumes each day. By the same token, monitoring (and restricting) your headphone-wearing time will help keep moderate volumes from hurting your ears.
- Restrict age: Nowadays, younger and younger kids are wearing headphones. And it’s probably a wise decision to minimize 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 begins.
- 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 (to put it in context, the volume of a normal conversation is around 60dB). Most mobile devices, unfortunately, don’t have a dB volume meter standard. Try to make certain that your volume is less than half or look up the output of your specific headphones.
You might want to think about reducing your headphone usage entirely if you are at all concerned about your health.
I Don’t Really Need to Worry About my Hearing, Right?
You only have one set of ears so you shouldn’t disregard the impact of hearing damage. But your hearing can have a huge impact on several other health factors, including your overall mental health. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to increases in the chances of problems like dementia and depression.
So your hearing health is linked inextricably to your overall wellness. And that means your headphones could be a health hazard, whether you’re listening to music or a baking podcast. So turn down the volume a little and do yourself a favor.