Headphones are a device that best demonstrates the modern human condition. Modern wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds allow you to link to a global community of sounds while simultaneously enabling you to isolate yourself from everybody you see. You can keep up with the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music wherever you are. It’s pretty awesome! But the way we tend to use them can also be a health risk.
This is specifically true with regards to your hearing health. And the World Health Organization agrees. That’s especially troubling because headphones are everywhere.
Some Risks With Earbuds or Headphones
Frances loves Lizzo. And so she listens to Lizzo a lot. Because Frances loves Lizzo so much, she also cranks up the volume (the majority of people love to listen to their favorite music at full power). She’s a respectful person, though, so Frances uses high-quality headphones to listen to her tunes.
This kind of headphone usage is pretty common. Needless to say, headphones can be used for lots of purposes but the general idea is the same.
We use headphones because we want a private listening experience (so we are able to listen to anything we want) and also so we’re not bothering the people around us (usually). But that’s where the danger is: our ears are exposed to an intense and prolonged amount of noise. Over time, that noise can cause injury, which will lead to hearing loss. And hearing loss has been linked to a wide range of other health-related ailments.
Protect Your Hearing
Hearing health, according to healthcare professionals, is a crucial part of your complete health. Headphones are easy to get and that’s one reason why they pose a health threat.
What can be done about it is the real question? Researchers have provided a few solid measures we can all take to help make headphones a bit safer:
- Age restrictions: These days, younger and younger kids are wearing headphones. And it might be smarter if we reduce that a little, limiting the amount of time younger children spend using headphones. The longer we can prevent the damage, the more time you’ll have before hearing loss sets in.
- Take breaks: When you’re jamming out to music you really enjoy, it’s hard not to pump it up. Most people can relate to that. But your ears need a bit of time to recover. So think about giving yourself a five-minute rest from your headphones now and then. The concept is to give your ears some time with lower volumes each day. By the same token, monitoring (and restricting) your headphone-wearing time can help keep moderate volumes from injuring your ears.
- Don’t turn them up so loud: The World Health Organization recommends that your headphones not go beyond a volume of 85dB (to put it in context, the volume of an average conversation is around 60dB). Sadly, most mobile devices don’t measure their output in decibels. Try to make sure that your volume is lower than half or look into the output of your specific headphones.
- Volume warnings are important: It’s likely that you listen to your tunes on your mobile device, and most mobile devices have built-in warnings when you start cranking up the volume a bit too much. It’s incredibly important for your ear health to adhere to these warnings as much as you can.
If you’re at all concerned about your ear health, you may want to curtail the amount of time you spend using your headphones altogether.
I Don’t Actually Need to Worry About my Hearing, Right?
When you’re young, it’s not hard to consider damage to your hearing as unimportant (which you shouldn’t do, you only have one pair of ears). But several other health factors, including your mental health, can be influenced by hearing issues. Problems like have been linked to hearing impairment.
So your hearing health is connected inextricably to your total wellness. And that means your headphones may 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.