Is there a gadget that reflects the modern human condition better than headphones? Today’s wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds allow you to link to a global community of sounds while simultaneously enabling you to separate yourself from everyone around you. You can keep up on the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music anywhere you are. They’re incredible. But the way we tend to use them can also be a health risk.
This is specifically true regarding your hearing health. And this is something that the World Health Organization has also acknowledged. That’s exceedingly troubling because headphones can be found everywhere.
Some Dangers With Earbuds or Headphones
Frances loves Lizzo. And so she listens to Lizzo a lot. Because Frances loves Lizzo so much, she also cranks up the volume (there’s a particular enjoyment in listening to your favorite song at full power). Frances uses high-quality headphones so she won’t annoy others with her loud music.
This kind of headphone use is relatively common. Sure, there are plenty of other purposes and places you could use them, but the fundamental function 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 near us (usually). But that’s where the hazard lies: we’re exposing our ears to a considerable amount of noise in a prolonged and intense way. After a while, that noise can cause injury, which will lead to hearing loss. And hearing loss has been linked to a wide range of other health-related illnesses.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Healthcare professionals think of hearing health as a key component of your all-around wellness. Headphones are easy to get and that’s one reason why they present a health hazard.
What can you do about it is the real question? So that you can make headphones a little safer to use, researchers have provided a few measures to take:
- Listen to volume warnings: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume becomes dangerous. So if you use a mobile device to listen to music, you need to observe these warnings.
- Don’t turn them up so loud: 85dB is the maximum 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 about 60dB). Most mobile devices, regrettably, don’t have a dB volume meter built in. Try to be certain that your volume is lower than half or look up the output of your particular headphones.
- Age restrictions: Headphones are being used by younger and younger people these days. And it’s definitely a smart move to minimize the amount of time younger people are spending with headphones. Hearing loss won’t occur as soon if you can counter some damage when you’re younger.
- Take breaks: When you’re jamming out to music you really enjoy, it’s difficult not to pump it up. Most people can relate to that. But you should take a little time to allow your hearing to recover. So consider giving yourself a five-minute rest from your headphones every now and again. The strategy is to give your ears some time with lower volumes every day. Limiting your headphone time and checking volume levels will definitely reduce injury.
If you’re at all worried about your ear health, you may want to reduce the amount of time you spend on your headphones entirely.
I Don’t Actually Need to Worry About my Hearing, Right?
When you’re young, it’s easy to consider damage to your hearing as trivial (which you should not do, you only have one pair of ears). But your hearing can have a substantial impact on a number of other health factors, including your general mental health. Conditions like have been connected to hearing impairment.
So the health of your hearing is linked inextricably to your all-around well-being. 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 down the volume, just a little bit.