Is there a device that reflects 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 allowing you to connect to the whole world of sounds. They allow you to watch Netflix or listen to music or stay in tune to the news from anywhere. It’s pretty amazing! But the way we generally use them can also be a health hazard.
This is specifically true regarding your hearing health. And the World Health Organization agrees. That’s especially worrying because headphones are everywhere.
Some Dangers With Earbuds or Headphones
Frances enjoys Lizzo. And so she listens to Lizzo a lot. Because Frances loves Lizzo so much, she also turns the volume way up (most people love to listen to their favorite music at full volume). She’s a respectful person, though, so Frances uses high-quality headphones to listen to her tunes.
This is a pretty common use of headphones. 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 can listen to anything we want) and also so we’re not bothering the people near us (usually). But that’s where the danger is: our ears are exposed to an intense and extended amount of noise. Hearing loss can be the consequence of the injury caused by this prolonged exposure. And a wide range of other health conditions have been linked to hearing loss.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Healthcare experts think of hearing health as a key component of your overall well-being. And that’s why headphones present something of a health risk, particularly since they tend to be omnipresent (headphones are really easy to get your hands on).
The question is, then, what can you do about it? So that you can make headphones a little safer to use, researchers have put forward a few measures to take:
- Listen to volume warnings: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume becomes dangerous. So if you use one to listen to music, you need to pay attention to these warnings.
- Age restrictions: Headphones are being worn by younger and younger people these days. And it might be wiser if we reduce that a little, limiting the amount of time younger children spend wearing headphones. Hearing loss won’t set in as soon if you can counter some damage when you’re younger.
- Take breaks: It’s difficult not to crank up the volume when you’re listening to your favorite music. That’s easy to understand. But your hearing needs a bit of time to recuperate. So think about giving yourself a five-minute rest from your headphones now and then. The idea is to give your ears some time with lower volumes every day. In the same way, monitoring (and reducing) your headphone-wearing time can help keep moderate volumes from injuring your ears.
- Turn the volume down: The World Health Organization suggests that your headphones not exceed a volume of 85dB (60dB is the average volume of a conversation to put it in context). Regrettably, most mobile devices don’t evaluate their output in decibels. Try to make sure that your volume is less than half or look into the output of your specific headphones.
If you’re at all worried about your ear health, you might want to restrict the amount of time you spend on your headphones entirely.
It’s Just My Hearing, Right?
When you’re young, it’s not hard to consider damage to your hearing as unimportant (which you should not do, you only have one pair of ears). But numerous other health factors, including your mental health, can be impacted by hearing issues. Issues like have been linked to hearing impairment.
So your general wellness 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 risk. So turn down the volume a little and do yourself a favor.