Is there a device that reflects the modern human condition better than headphones? Today, headphones and earbuds enable you to isolate yourself from people around you while at the same time permitting you to connect to the whole world of sounds. They let you watch Netflix or listen to music or keep up with the news from everywhere. They’re great. But headphones may also be a health hazard.
At least, as far as your hearing health is concerned. And the World Health Organization agrees. That’s especially troubling because headphones are everywhere.
Some Dangers With Earbuds or Headphones
Frances enjoys listening to Lizzo all the time. Because Frances loves Lizzo so much, she also turns the volume way up (most people love to jam out to their favorite music at full power). She’s a considerate person, though, so Frances uses high-quality headphones to enjoy her tunes.
This type of headphone usage is relatively common. Sure, there are lots of other reasons and places you might use them, but the basic purpose is the same.
We use headphones because we want a private listening experience (so we can listen to anything we want) and also so we don’t bother the people near us (usually). But this is where it can become dangerous: our ears are subjected to an intense and prolonged amount of noise. After a while, that noise can cause injury, which will lead to hearing loss. And hearing loss has been linked to a wide variety of other health-related conditions.
Protect Your Hearing
Healthcare experts consider hearing health to be a key component of your overall health. Headphones are easy to get a hold of and that’s one reason why they create a health risk.
The question is, then, what can you do about it? Researchers have put forward several solid measures we can all use to help make headphones a bit safer:
- Take breaks: When you’re jamming out to music you really like, it’s tough not to crank it up. Most people can relate to that. But your ears need a bit of time to recover. So consider giving yourself a five-minute break from your headphones now and then. The idea is to give your ears some time with lower volumes every day. Decreasing your headphone time and watching volume levels will definitely lessen damage.
- Restrict age: Headphones are being used by younger and younger people nowadays. And it’s likely a smart decision to reduce the amount of time younger people are spending with headphones. Hearing loss won’t set in as soon if you can stop some damage when you’re younger.
- Pay attention 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 pumping up the volume a little too much. It’s very important for your ear health to comply with these warnings as much as possible.
- Don’t turn them up so loud: The World Health Organization suggests that your headphones not go over a volume of 85dB (60dB is the common level of a conversation for context). Most mobile devices, regrettably, don’t have a dB volume meter standard. Determine the max volume of your headphones or keep the volume at no more than half.
You may want to think about decreasing your headphone use entirely if you are at all concerned about your health.
It’s Only My Hearing, Right?
When you’re young, it’s easy to consider damage to your ears as trivial (which you should not do, you only get one pair of ears). But your hearing can have a substantial impact on a number of other health factors, including your overall mental health. Issues like have been connected to hearing impairment.
So your general well-being is forever linked to the health of your ears. Whether you’re listening to a podcast or your favorite music, your headphone may become a health hazard. So turn down the volume a little and do yourself a favor.