Headphones are a device that best reflects the modern human condition. Modern wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds enable you to connect to a worldwide community of sounds while at the same time giving you the ability to separate yourself from everyone you see. They allow you to listen to music or watch Netflix or stay in tune to the news from anywhere. They’re great. But the way we generally 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 stated. 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 (there’s a special enjoyment in listening to your favorite tune at max power). Frances uses high-quality headphones so she won’t annoy other people with her loud music.
This type of headphone use is fairly common. Sure, there are plenty of other purposes and places you could use them, but the basic purpose is the same.
We use headphones because we want a private listening experience (so we can listen to whatever we want) and also so we’re not bothering the people near us (usually). But this is where it can become dangerous: our ears are subjected to an intense and extended amount of noise. Hearing loss can be the consequence of the harm caused by this extended exposure. And a wide variety of other health issues have been linked to hearing loss.
Protect Your Hearing
Hearing health, according to healthcare specialists, is an important component of your complete health. Headphones are easy to get a hold of and that’s one reason why they pose a health hazard.
So here is the question, then, what can you do about it? In order to make headphones a bit safer to use, researchers have put forward numerous measures to take:
- Restrict age: These days, younger and younger kids are using headphones. And it may be wiser if we cut back on that a bit, limiting the amount of time younger children spend wearing headphones. The longer we can protect against the damage, the more time you’ll have before hearing loss sets in.
- Pay attention 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 cranking up the volume a bit too much. It’s incredibly important for your hearing health to comply with these warnings as much as possible.
- Don’t turn them up so loud: The World Health Organization recommends that your headphones not go beyond a volume of 85dB (to put it in context, the volume of a typical conversation is something like 60dB). Sadly, most mobile devices don’t measure their output in decibels. Try to make sure that your volume is lower than half or look up the output of your particular headphones.
- Take breaks: When you’re listening to music you really enjoy, it’s difficult not to pump it up. That’s easy to understand. But your ears need a little time to recover. So think about giving yourself a five-minute break from your headphones every now and again. The strategy is to give your ears some time with lower volumes every day. Decreasing your headphone time and monitoring volume levels will undoubtedly lessen damage.
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 unimportant (which you should not do, you only have one pair of ears). But your hearing can have a big impact on a number of other health factors, including your overall mental health. Untreated hearing loss has been connected to increases in the risk for issues like dementia and depression.
So your general well-being is forever connected to the health of your ears. Whether you’re listening to a podcast or your favorite music, your headphone may become a health risk. So turn down the volume a little and do yourself a favor.