Is there a device that reflects the current human condition better than headphones? Nowadays, headphones and earbuds enable you to isolate yourself from everyone around you while at the same time enabling you to connect to the entire world of sounds. They allow you to watch Netflix or listen to music or keep up with the news from everywhere. They’re incredible. But the way we generally use them can also be a health hazard.
This is specifically true with regards to your hearing health. And the World Health Organization agrees. Headphones are everywhere so this is very worrisome.
Some Risks With Earbuds or Headphones
Frances loves Lizzo. And so she listens to Lizzo a lot. When she’s really jamming out she normally cranks up the volume (there’s a special 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 is a fairly typical use of headphones. Certainly, 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’re not bothering the people around 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 damage, which will lead to hearing loss. And a wide range of other health concerns have been connected to hearing loss.
Safeguard Your Hearing
Healthcare specialists think of hearing health as a major component of your all-around health. Headphones are easy to get a hold of and that’s one reason why they pose a health hazard.
What can you do about it is the real question? So that you can make headphones a bit safer to use, researchers have offered several steps to take:
- Don’t turn them up so loud: The World Health Organization suggests that your headphones not go beyond a volume of 85dB (60dB is the common level of a conversation to put it in context). Most mobile devices, unfortunately, don’t have a dB volume meter built in. Determine the max output of your headphones or keep the volume at no more than half.
- Take breaks: It’s tough not to pump up the volume when you’re listening to your favorite tunes. Most people can relate to that. But you need to take a bit of time to allow your ears to recover. So consider giving yourself a five-minute break from your headphones now and then. The idea is, each day give your ears some reduced volume time. By the same token, monitoring (and restricting) your headphone-wearing time will help keep moderate volumes from damaging your ears.
- Restrict age: Headphones are being used by younger and younger people nowadays. And it’s likely a wise move to limit 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.
- Volume warnings are important: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume becomes dangerous. It’s incredibly important for your ear health to adhere to these warnings as much as possible.
You might want to consider reducing your headphone usage entirely if you are at all concerned about your health.
It’s Just My Hearing, Right?
When you’re younger, it’s not hard to consider damage to your ears as trivial (which you should not do, you only get one set of ears). But your hearing can have a big impact on several other health factors, including your general mental health. Conditions like have been linked to hearing impairment.
So your general well-being is forever connected to the health of your ears. And that means your headphones could be a health hazard, whether you’re listening to music or a baking podcast. So turn down the volume a little and do yourself a favor.