Headphones are a device that best exemplifies the modern human condition. Today, headphones and earbuds let you isolate yourself from everyone around you while at the same time permitting you to connect to the entire world of sounds. They let you watch Netflix or listen to music or keep up with the news from anywhere. It’s pretty amazing! But the way we tend to use them can also be a health hazard.
This is specifically true with regards to your hearing health. And this is something that the World Health Organization has also reported. That’s especially worrying 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 (the majority of people love to jam out to their favorite music at full power). Frances uses high-quality headphones so she won’t bother other people with her loud music.
This is a fairly common use of headphones. Certainly, there are plenty of other reasons and places you could use them, but the basic purpose is the same.
We use headphones because we want the listening experience to be somewhat private (so we can listen to anything we want) and also so we don’t bother the people around us (usually). But that’s where the danger lies: we’re subjecting our ears to a significant amount of noise in a prolonged and intense way. After a while, that noise can cause damage, which leads to hearing loss. And a wide range of other health problems have been associated with hearing loss.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Hearing health, according to healthcare specialists, is a key component of your general health. And that’s the reason why headphones pose something of a health hazard, particularly since they tend to be everywhere (headphones are rather easy to get a hold of).
So here is the question, then, what can you do about it? In order to make headphones a little safer to use, researchers have provided a few steps to take:
- Take breaks: It’s difficult not to crank up the volume when you’re listening to your favorite tunes. Most people can relate to that. But you should take a little time to allow your hearing to recover. So every now and again, give yourself at least a five minute rest. The concept is to give your ears some time with lower volumes every day. Reducing your headphone time and watching volume levels will undoubtedly decrease injury.
- Don’t turn them up so loud: 85dB is the maximum volume that you should listen to your headphones at as outlined by the World Health organization (60dB is the normal level of a conversation for context). Unfortunately, most mobile devices don’t evaluate their output in decibels. Find out the max output of your headphones or keep the volume at half or less.
- Restrict age: Nowadays, younger and younger kids are wearing headphones. And it might be smarter if we cut back on that a little, limiting the amount of time younger children spend using headphones. The longer we can protect against the damage, the more time you’ll have before hearing loss takes hold.
- Listen to volume warnings: 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.
You may want to think about reducing your headphone usage entirely if you are at all worried about your health.
It’s Just My Hearing, Right?
When you’re younger, it’s not hard to consider damage to your hearing as trivial (which you should not do, you only get one set of ears). But your hearing can have a substantial impact on a number of other health factors, including your general mental health. Neglected hearing loss has been linked to increases in the risk for issues like dementia and depression.
So your general wellness is forever linked to the health of your hearing. Whether you’re listening to a podcast or your favorite music, your headphone may become a health risk. So turn down the volume a little and do yourself a favor.