Headphones are a device that best demonstrates the modern human condition. Today’s wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds permit you to connect to a worldwide community of sounds while simultaneously giving you the ability to separate yourself from everyone around you. You can keep up on the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music anywhere you are. It’s pretty awesome! But the way we generally use them can also be a health risk.
At least, as far as your ears are concerned. And the World Health Organization confirms this also. That’s especially troubling because headphones can be found everywhere.
The Hazard of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances loves to listen to Lizzo all the time. Because Frances loves Lizzo so much, she also turns the volume way up (there’s a certain enjoyment in listening to your favorite track at full volume). She’s a respectful person, though, so Frances uses high-quality headphones to enjoy her tunes.
This is a pretty typical use of headphones. Certainly, there are plenty of other reasons and places you could use them, but the primary purpose is the same.
We want to be able to listen to anything we want without annoying people around us, that’s the reason why we use headphones. But that’s where the danger lies: we’re exposing our ears to a significant amount of noise in an extended and intense way. Hearing loss can be the consequence of the injury caused by this extended exposure. And a wide variety of other health issues have been connected to hearing loss.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Healthcare specialists think of hearing health as a key aspect of your all-around wellness. Headphones are easy to get a hold of and that’s one reason why they pose a health risk.
What can be done about it is the real question? Researchers have put forward several solid steps we can all use to help make headphones a bit safer:
- Age restrictions: Headphones are being worn by younger and younger people these days. And it might be wiser if we reduce that a little, limiting the amount of time younger children spend wearing headphones. The longer we can avoid the damage, the more time you’ll have before hearing loss sets in.
- Turn the volume down: The World Health Organization recommends that your headphones not exceed a volume of 85dB (to put it in context, the volume of an average conversation is about 60dB). Most mobile devices, regrettably, don’t have a dB volume meter built in. Try to make sure that your volume is lower than half or look into the output of your specific headphones.
- Take breaks: It’s difficult not to pump up the volume when you’re listening to your favorite tunes. Most people can relate to that. But your hearing needs a little time to recuperate. So think about giving yourself a five-minute rest from your headphones now and then. The strategy is to give your ears some time with lower volumes each day. Limiting your headphone time and monitoring volume levels will undoubtedly lessen injury.
- Heed to volume warnings: 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. It’s extremely important for your ear health to comply with these cautions as much as you can.
You may want to think about minimizing your headphone usage entirely if you are at all concerned about your health.
It’s Just My Hearing, Right?
You only get one pair of ears so you shouldn’t dismiss the impact of hearing damage. But a few other health aspects, including your mental health, can be affected by hearing problems. Problems like have been connected to hearing impairment.
So the health of your hearing is connected inextricably to your overall wellness. And that means your headphones could be a health hazard, whether you’re listening to music or a baking podcast. So do yourself a favor and turn the volume down, just a little.