Is there a device that exemplifies the present human condition better than headphones? Today, headphones and earbuds let you isolate yourself from people around you while simultaneously allowing you to connect to the entire world of sounds. They allow you to listen to music or watch Netflix or keep up with the news from anywhere. They’re great. But headphones could 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 acknowledged. Headphones are everywhere so this is very troubling.
The Danger of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances loves Lizzo. And so she listens to Lizzo all of the time. Because Frances loves Lizzo so much, she also cranks up the volume (the majority of people love to listen to their favorite music at full volume). She’s a considerate person, though, so Frances uses high-quality headphones to enjoy her tunes.
This is a fairly common use of headphones. Of course, headphones can be used for a lot of things but the overall concept 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 this is where it can get dangerous: our ears are exposed to an intense and prolonged amount of noise. Hearing loss can be the result of the damage caused by this prolonged exposure. And hearing loss has been connected to a wide variety of other health-related ailments.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Healthcare specialists consider hearing health to be an essential component of your general health. Headphones are easy to get and that’s one reason why they present a health threat.
So here is the question, then, what can you do about it? Researchers have put forward a few tangible steps we can all take to help make headphones a little safer:
- Turn down the volume: The World Health Organization suggests that your headphones not go beyond a volume of 85dB (for context, the volume of a typical conversation is about 60dB). Most mobile devices, regrettably, don’t have a dB volume meter built in. Determine the max volume of your headphones or keep the volume at half or less.
- Volume warnings are important: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume gets to be dangerous. So if you use a mobile device to listen to music, you need to observe these warnings.
- Age restrictions: Nowadays, younger and younger kids are wearing headphones. And it’s likely a wise choice to limit the amount of time younger people are spending with headphones. The longer we can prevent the damage, the more time you’ll have before hearing loss begins.
- Take breaks: It’s difficult not to crank up the volume when you’re listening to your favorite music. Most people can relate to that. But your ears need a bit of time to recover. So think about giving yourself a five-minute break from your headphones every now and again. The concept is to give your ears some time with lower volumes every day. By the same token, monitoring (and restricting) your headphone-wearing time can help keep moderate volumes from injuring your ears.
You might want to think about lessening your headphone use entirely if you are at all worried about your health.
It’s Only My Hearing, Right?
You only have one pair of ears so you shouldn’t disregard the impact of hearing damage. But a few other health factors, including your mental health, can be impacted by hearing issues. Problems like have been connected to hearing impairment.
So your total well-being is forever linked 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 the volume down a little and do yourself a favor.