Headphones are a device that best exemplifies the modern human condition. Nowadays, headphones and earbuds allow you to isolate yourself from everyone around you while simultaneously enabling you to connect to the whole world of sounds. You can keep up with the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music anywhere you are. It’s pretty amazing! But the way we normally use them can also be a health risk.
This is specifically true with regards to your hearing health. And the World Health Organization confirms this also. That’s exceedingly troubling because headphones can be found everywhere.
The Hazard of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances loves Lizzo. And so she listens to Lizzo a lot. When she’s really jamming out she usually cranks up the volume (there’s a particular enjoyment in listening to your favorite tune at full power). Frances uses high-quality headphones so she won’t bother others with her loud music.
This is a pretty normal use of headphones. Needless to say, headphones can be used for lots of things but the basic idea 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 that’s where the danger lies: our ears are exposed to an intense and prolonged amount of noise. Hearing loss can be the consequence of the injury caused by this extended exposure. And hearing loss has been linked to a wide range of other health-related illnesses.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Hearing health, according to healthcare professionals, is a crucial element of your general health. And that’s why headphones pose something of a health risk, particularly since they tend to be everywhere (headphones are very easy to get a hold of).
What can you do about it is the real question? Researchers have offered a few concrete steps we can all take to help make headphones a bit safer:
- Heed 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 little too much. It’s very important for your ear health to stick to these warnings as much as you can.
- 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 your ears need a little time to recuperate. So every now and then, give yourself at least a five minute break. The idea 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 higher volumes from injuring your ears.
- Age restrictions: Headphones are being worn by younger and younger people these days. And it’s likely a smart choice to reduce 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.
- Don’t turn them up so loud: The World Health Organization recommends that your headphones not go over a volume of 85dB (60dB is the normal volume of a conversation for context). Most mobile devices, unfortunately, don’t have a dB volume meter built in. Look into the max output of your headphones or keep the volume at half or less.
If you’re at all concerned about your ear health, you might want to reduce the amount of time you spend using your headphones entirely.
I Don’t Really Need to be Concerned About my Hearing, Right?
When you’re young, it’s not hard 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 huge impact on several other health factors, including your overall mental health. Conditions such as have been connected to hearing impairment.
So the health of your hearing is linked inextricably to your total well-being. 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.