Headphones are a device that best demonstrates the modern human condition. Today’s wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds allow you to connect to a global community of sounds while simultaneously giving you the ability to separate yourself from everyone you see. You can keep up with the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music wherever you are. They’re great. But headphones may also be a health hazard.
At least, as far as your ears are concerned. And this is something that the World Health Organization has also reported. Headphones are everywhere so this is very troubling.
Some Risks With Earbuds or Headphones
Frances enjoys listening to Lizzo all the time. When she’s really jamming out she usually cranks up the volume (most people love to jam out to their favorite music at full volume). Frances uses high-quality headphones so she won’t annoy others with her loud music.
This type of headphone use is pretty common. Sure, there are lots of other reasons and places you might use them, but the basic function is the same.
We want to be able to listen to anything we want without disturbing people around us, that’s the reason why we use headphones. But this is where it can become dangerous: our ears are exposed to an intense and prolonged amount of noise. Hearing loss can be the consequence of the injury 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 think of hearing health as a crucial element of your overall wellness. And that’s why headphones present somewhat of a health hazard, especially since they tend to be omnipresent (headphones are quite easy to get your hands on).
So here is the question, then, what can you do about it? Researchers have provided a few concrete measures we can all take to help make headphones a little safer:
- 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 start cranking up the volume a bit too much. It’s very important for your ear health to adhere to these cautions as much as possible.
- Don’t turn them up so loud: The World Health Organization recommends that your headphones not go over a volume of 85dB (to put it in context, the volume of a normal conversation is around 60dB). Most mobile devices, unfortunately, don’t have a dB volume meter standard. Try to be certain that your volume is lower than half or look up the output of your particular headphones.
- Age restrictions: Headphones are being used by younger and younger people nowadays. And it may be wiser if we cut back on that a little, limiting the amount of time younger children spend using headphones. Hearing loss won’t occur as soon if you can prevent some damage when you’re younger.
- Take breaks: When you’re jamming out to music you really enjoy, it’s tough not to pump it up. Most people can relate to that. But you should take a bit of time to let your hearing to recover. So consider giving yourself a five-minute break from your headphones now and then. The idea is, every day give your ears some lower volume time. By the same token, monitoring (and limiting) your headphone-wearing time will help keep moderate volumes from injuring your ears.
You may want to consider decreasing your headphone usage entirely if you are at all worried about your health.
I Don’t Really Need to Worry About my Hearing, Right?
You only have one set of ears so you shouldn’t ignore the impact of hearing damage. But your hearing can have a big impact on numerous other health factors, including your general mental health. Untreated hearing loss has been connected to increases in the chances of problems like dementia and depression.
So your overall wellness is forever connected to the health of your hearing. Whether you’re listening to a podcast or your favorite music, your headphone might become a health risk. So the volume down a little and do yourself a favor.