Is there a device that reflects the present human condition better than headphones? These days, headphones and earbuds enable you to isolate yourself from everyone around you while simultaneously permitting you to connect to the whole world of sounds. You can keep up on the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music wherever you find yourself. It’s pretty awesome! But headphones could also be a health hazard.
At least, as far as your hearing health is concerned. And the World Health Organization agrees. Headphones are everywhere so this is very worrisome.
Some Hazards With Earbuds or Headphones
Frances loves to listen to Lizzo all the time. When she’s really jamming out she normally cranks up the volume (there’s a certain satisfaction in listening to your favorite tune at full power). Frances uses high-quality headphones so she won’t annoy other people with her loud music.
This type of headphone use is pretty common. Of course, headphones can be used for a lot of purposes but the overall 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’re not bothering the people near us (usually). But this is where it can become dangerous: we’re exposing our ears to a considerable amount of noise in an extended and intense way. Hearing loss can be the consequence of the damage caused by this extended exposure. And a wide assortment of other health issues have been linked to hearing loss.
Protect Your Hearing
Healthcare specialists consider hearing health to be a key 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 really easy to get your hands on).
The question is, then, what can be done about it? Researchers have offered numerous solid steps we can all take to help make headphones a little safer:
- Restrict age: Headphones are being used by younger and younger people nowadays. And it’s probably a smart choice to reduce the amount of time younger people are spending with headphones. The longer we can prevent the damage, the more time you’ll have before hearing loss takes hold.
- Take breaks: It’s hard not to pump up the volume when you’re listening to your favorite music. That’s understandable. But your ears need a little time to recover. So think about giving yourself a five-minute rest from your headphones now and then. The concept is, each day give your ears some lower volume time. In the same way, monitoring (and restricting) your headphone-wearing time can help keep moderate volumes from hurting your ears.
- Listen to volume warnings: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume gets to be dangerous. It’s very important for your ear health to adhere to these cautions 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). Most mobile devices, regrettably, don’t have a dB volume meter built in. Try to be sure that your volume is lower than half or look into the output of your particular headphones.
If you’re at all concerned about your ear health, you may want to restrict the amount of time you spend on your headphones entirely.
I Don’t Really Need to Worry About my Hearing, Right?
When you’re young, it’s not hard to consider damage to your hearing as trivial (which you shouldn’t do, you only get one set of ears). But numerous other health aspects, including your mental health, can be impacted by hearing issues. Neglected hearing loss has been connected to increases in the chances of issues like depression and dementia.
So your general well-being is forever connected to the health of your hearing. And that means your headphones might be a health hazard, whether you’re listening to music or a baking podcast. So the volume down a little and do yourself a favor.