Is there a device that exemplifies the modern human condition better than headphones? Nowadays, headphones and earbuds enable you to separate yourself from everyone around you while simultaneously allowing you to connect to the whole world of sounds. You can keep up on the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music anywhere you are. They’re great. But headphones may also be a health hazard.
At least, as far as your hearing health is concerned. And this is something that the World Health Organization has also acknowledged. Headphones are everywhere so this is especially worrisome.
The Hazard 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). Frances uses high-quality headphones so she won’t bother other people with her loud music.
This type of headphone use is fairly common. Certainly, there are lots of other reasons and places you could use them, but the basic purpose is the same.
We want to be able to listen to whatever we want without annoying people around us, that’s why we use headphones. But that’s where the danger is: we’re exposing our ears to a significant amount of noise in a prolonged and intense way. Eventually, that noise can cause damage, which leads to hearing loss. And hearing loss has been connected to a wide variety of other health-related conditions.
Protect Your Hearing
Healthcare specialists consider hearing health to be a major component of your general health. Headphones are easy to get a hold of and that’s one reason why they pose a health hazard.
What can you do about it is the real question? In order to make headphones a bit safer to use, researchers have put forward a few measures to take:
- Age restrictions: These days, younger and younger kids are using headphones. And it’s likely a smart move to minimize the amount of time younger people are spending with headphones. Hearing loss won’t develop as soon if you can prevent some damage when you’re younger.
- Don’t turn them up so loud: 85dB is the highest volume that you should listen to your headphones at as outlined by the World Health organization (60dB is the common volume of a conversation to put it in context). Unfortunately, most mobile devices don’t calculate their output in decibels. Try to make certain that your volume is less than half or look up the output of your specific headphones.
- Volume warnings are important: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume gets to be dangerous. So if you use one to listen to music, you need to observe these warnings.
- Take breaks: It’s tough not to crank up the volume when you’re listening to your favorite music. Most people can relate to that. But you should take some time to let your hearing to recover. So consider giving yourself a five-minute rest from your headphones here and there. The strategy is, each day give your ears some reduced volume time. In the same way, monitoring (and restricting) your headphone-wearing time will help keep higher volumes from hurting your ears.
You might want to think about decreasing your headphone usage altogether if you are at all worried about your health.
I Don’t Actually Need to Worry About my Hearing, Right?
You only get one set of ears so you shouldn’t ignore the impact of hearing damage. But a few other health factors, including your mental health, can be affected by hearing issues. Neglected hearing loss has been connected to increases in the chances of issues like depression and dementia.
So your hearing health is linked 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 turn down the volume a little and do yourself a favor.