Is there a gadget that reflects the present human condition better than headphones? Modern wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds allow you to connect to a worldwide community of sounds while at the same time giving you the ability to isolate yourself from everyone around you. You can keep up with the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music wherever you find yourself. It’s pretty awesome! But the way we tend to use them can also be a health hazard.
This is particularly true regarding your hearing health. And the World Health Organization confirms this also. Headphones are everywhere so this is very troubling.
The Hazard of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances enjoys Lizzo. And so she listens to Lizzo a lot. 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 annoy others with her loud music.
This is a pretty normal use of headphones. Sure, there are lots of other reasons and places you could use them, but the primary function is the same.
We use headphones because we want a private listening experience (so we are able to 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: we’re subjecting 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 a wide range of other health concerns have been associated with hearing loss.
Protect Your Hearing
Hearing health, according to healthcare professionals, is a critical element of your overall health. Headphones are easy to get and that’s one reason why they present a health threat.
The question is, then, what can be done about it? Researchers have provided several solid steps we can all take to help make headphones a little safer:
- Restrict age: Nowadays, younger and younger kids are using headphones. And it’s definitely a wise choice to minimize the amount of time younger people are spending with headphones. Hearing loss won’t set in as soon if you can stop some damage when you’re younger.
- Turn down the volume: 85dB is the maximum volume that you should listen to your headphones at as outlined by the World Health organization (60dB is the average level of a conversation for context). Most mobile devices, unfortunately, don’t have a dB volume meter standard. Look into 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 like, it’s difficult not to crank it up. That’s easy to understand. But you need to take some time to allow your ears to recover. So consider giving yourself a five-minute rest from your headphones here and there. The idea is, every day give your ears some lower volume time. In the same way, monitoring (and restricting) your headphone-wearing time will help keep higher volumes from injuring your ears.
- Volume warnings are important: It’s likely that you listen to your tunes on your mobile device, and most mobile devices have built-in warnings when you begin cranking up the volume a bit too much. So if you use a mobile device to listen to music, you need to pay attention to these warnings.
If you’re at all worried about your ear health, you may want to reduce the amount of time you spend on your headphones altogether.
It’s Only My Hearing, Right?
You only have one pair of ears so you shouldn’t dismiss the impact of hearing damage. But several other health aspects, including your mental health, can be impacted by hearing issues. Problems like have been linked to hearing impairment.
So your general well-being is forever linked to the health of your ears. Whether you’re listening to a podcast or your favorite music, your headphone could become a health hazard. So the volume down a little and do yourself a favor.