Headphones are a device that best exemplifies the modern human condition. These days, headphones and earbuds enable you to isolate yourself from everyone around you while simultaneously allowing you to connect to the entire world of sounds. They allow you to watch Netflix or listen to music or stay in tune to the news from everywhere. It’s pretty amazing! But the way we generally use them can also be a health risk.
This is specifically true with regards to your hearing health. And this is something that the World Health Organization has also reported. Headphones are everywhere so this is very troubling.
Some Risks With Earbuds or Headphones
Frances loves to listen to Lizzo all the time. Because Frances loves Lizzo so much, she also turns the volume way up (there’s a certain satisfaction in listening to your favorite track at full power). Frances uses high-quality headphones so she won’t bother other people with her loud music.
This is a pretty common use of headphones. Sure, there are lots of other purposes and places you might use them, but the primary function is the same.
We want to be able to listen to anything we want without disturbing people around us, that’s why we use headphones. But that’s where the hazard lies: we’re exposing our ears to a significant amount of noise in an extended and intense way. Hearing loss can be the result of the damage caused by this extended exposure. And hearing loss has been associated with a wide variety of other health-related illnesses.
Protect Your Hearing
Hearing health, according to healthcare experts, is a major part of your complete health. Headphones are easy to get and that’s one reason why they present a health risk.
So here is the question, then, what can be done about it? Researchers have provided several solid steps we can all take to help make headphones a little safer:
- Listen to volume warnings: It’s likely that you listen to your music on your mobile device, and most mobile devices have built-in warnings when you start pumping up the volume a bit too much. It’s extremely important for your hearing health to adhere to these cautions as much as you can.
- Restrict age: Headphones are being worn by younger and younger people these days. And it may be wiser if we reduce that a bit, limiting the amount of time younger children spend using headphones. The longer we can avoid the damage, the more time you’ll have before hearing loss takes hold.
- Turn down the volume: The World Health Organization suggests that your headphones not exceed a volume of 85dB (60dB is the common volume of a conversation to put it in context). Regrettably, most mobile devices don’t calculate their output in decibels. Determine the max volume of your headphones or keep the volume at no more than half.
- Take breaks: When you’re jamming out to music you really enjoy, it’s tough not to pump it up. Most people can relate to that. But you should take some time to let your ears to recover. So every now and again, give yourself at least a five minute break. The idea is to give your ears some time with lower volumes each day. Decreasing your headphone time and checking volume levels will definitely reduce injury.
You may want to consider lessening your headphone usage entirely if you are at all worried about your health.
I Don’t Actually Need to Worry About my Hearing, Right?
You only have one pair of ears so you shouldn’t ignore the impact of hearing damage. But your hearing can have a substantial impact on several other health factors, including your general mental health. Issues including have been connected to hearing impairment.
So your general well-being is forever connected to the health of your hearing. And that means your headphones may be a health risk, whether you’re listening to music or a baking podcast. So do yourself a favor and turn the volume down, just a little bit.