Is there a gadget that reflects the present human condition better than headphones? Modern wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds let you to link to a worldwide community of sounds while at the same time enabling you to separate yourself from everyone you see. They allow you to watch Netflix or listen to music or keep up with the news from anywhere. It’s pretty awesome! But the way we tend to use them can also be a health risk.
This is specifically true regarding your hearing health. And the World Health Organization confirms this also. Headphones are everywhere so this is very worrisome.
The Danger of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances enjoys listening to Lizzo all the time. When she’s really jamming out she usually cranks up the volume (the majority of people love to listen to their favorite music at full volume). Frances uses high-quality headphones so she won’t bother others with her loud music.
This is a pretty normal use of headphones. Of course, headphones can be used for lots of things but the overall idea is the same.
We want to be able to listen to anything we want without annoying people around us, that’s why we use headphones. But this is where it can get dangerous: we’re exposing our ears to a significant amount of noise in an extended and intense way. Hearing loss can be the result of the damage caused by this extended exposure. And hearing loss has been associated with a wide range of other health-related problems.
Protect Your Hearing
Healthcare specialists think of hearing health as a vital aspect of your all-around wellness. And that’s the reason why headphones pose something of a health risk, particularly since they tend to be everywhere (headphones are very easy to get your hands on).
What can be done about it is the real question? Researchers have provided numerous tangible measures we can all use to help make headphones a bit safer:
- Age restrictions: Headphones are being used by younger and younger people these days. And it’s definitely a smart choice to minimize the amount of time younger people are spending with headphones. Hearing loss won’t set in as soon if you can prevent some damage when you’re younger.
- 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 you need to take some time to let your hearing to recover. So every now and again, give yourself at least a five minute break. The idea is, each day give your ears some lower volume time. By the same token, monitoring (and restricting) your headphone-wearing time will help keep moderate volumes from damaging your ears.
- Volume warnings are important: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume gets to be dangerous. It’s very important for your ear health to adhere to these warnings as much as possible.
- Turn the volume down: 85dB is the highest 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 something like 60dB). Sadly, most mobile devices don’t measure their output in decibels. Try to make sure that your volume is less than half or look into the output of your particular headphones.
You may want to consider decreasing your headphone use entirely if you are at all concerned about your health.
I Don’t Actually Need to Worry About my Hearing, Right?
When you’re young, it’s easy to consider damage to your ears as unimportant (which you should not do, you only get one pair of ears). But your hearing can have a substantial impact on a number of other health factors, including your general mental health. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to increases in the chances of problems like dementia and depression.
So your total well-being is forever linked to the health of your hearing. And that means your headphones could 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.