Is there a gadget that exemplifies the current human condition better than headphones? Today, headphones and earbuds allow you to isolate yourself from people around you while at the same time enabling you to connect to the whole world of sounds. You can keep up with 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 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 exceedingly worrying because headphones can be found everywhere.
Some Hazards With Earbuds or Headphones
Frances loves to listen to Lizzo all the time. When she’s really getting into it she normally 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 fairly common. Needless to say, headphones can be used for a lot of purposes but the basic idea is the same.
We want to be able to listen to whatever we want without annoying people around us, that’s why we use headphones. But this is where it can get dangerous: our ears are subjected to an intense and prolonged amount of noise. Hearing loss can be the consequence of the injury caused by this prolonged exposure. And a wide range of other health concerns have been connected to hearing loss.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Healthcare professionals consider hearing health to be a key aspect of your general health. Headphones are easy to get a hold of and that’s one reason why they pose a health hazard.
What can be done about it is the real question? Researchers have provided a few solid steps we can all use to help make headphones a bit safer:
- Turn down the volume: 85dB is the maximum volume that you should listen to your headphones at according to the World Health organization (60dB is the typical volume of a conversation to put it in context). Regrettably, most mobile devices don’t evaluate their output in decibels. Try to be certain that your volume is less than half or look up the output of your specific headphones.
- Take breaks: It’s difficult not to crank up the volume when you’re listening to your favorite tunes. That’s easy to understand. But you should take some time to let your ears to recover. So every now and again, give yourself at least a five minute break. The strategy is to give your ears some time with lower volumes every day. By the same token, monitoring (and restricting) your headphone-wearing time will help keep higher volumes from hurting your ears.
- Restrict age: Nowadays, younger and younger kids are wearing headphones. And it’s likely a wise choice to minimize the amount of time younger people are spending with headphones. The longer we can avoid the damage, the more time you’ll have before hearing loss takes hold.
- Volume warnings are important: It’s likely that you listen to your music on your mobile device, and most mobile devices have built-in warnings when you start cranking up the volume a bit too much. So if you use one to listen to music, you need to heed these warnings.
If you’re at all worried about your ear health, you might want to reduce the amount of time you spend using your headphones altogether.
It’s Only My Hearing, Right?
When you’re younger, it’s not hard to consider damage to your ears as unimportant (which you shouldn’t do, you only get one pair of ears). But several other health factors, including your mental health, can be impacted by hearing problems. Neglected hearing loss has been connected to increases in the chances of problems like depression and dementia.
So the health of your hearing is connected inextricably to your total well-being. And that means your headphones might be a health risk, whether you’re listening to music or a baking podcast. So do yourself a favor and turn the volume down, just a little bit.