Headphones are a device that best exemplifies the modern human condition. Today’s wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds permit you to link to a worldwide community of sounds while at the same time enabling you to separate yourself from everybody around you. You can keep up on the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music wherever you are. It’s pretty awesome! But the way we normally use them can also be a health hazard.
At least, as far as your hearing health is concerned. And the World Health Organization agrees. Headphones are everywhere so this is especially worrisome.
The Danger of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances loves to listen to Lizzo all the time. Because Frances loves Lizzo so much, she also cranks up the volume (there’s a particular satisfaction in listening to your favorite track at full volume). Frances uses high-quality headphones so she won’t annoy others with her loud music.
This kind of headphone usage is fairly common. Certainly, there are plenty of other reasons and places you could use them, but the primary purpose is the same.
We want to be able to listen to whatever we want without bothering people around us, that’s the reason why we use headphones. But this is where it can get dangerous: we’re subjecting our ears to a significant amount of noise in an extended and intense way. Eventually, that noise can cause damage, which will lead to hearing loss. And a wide variety of other health conditions have been associated with hearing loss.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Hearing health, according to healthcare experts, is an integral part of your general health. Headphones are easy to get a hold of and that’s one reason why they pose a health threat.
So here is the question, then, what can you do about it? Researchers have provided numerous tangible steps we can all use to help make headphones a little safer:
- Take breaks: When you’re jamming out to music you really like, it’s tough not to crank it up. That’s understandable. But you need to take a bit of time to allow your ears to recover. So consider giving yourself a five-minute rest from your headphones every now and again. The idea is, every day give your ears some lower volume time. In the same way, monitoring (and reducing) your headphone-wearing time will help keep moderate volumes from hurting your ears.
- Age restrictions: Nowadays, younger and younger kids are using headphones. And it might be wiser if we cut back on that a little, limiting the amount of time younger children spend using headphones. Hearing loss won’t set in as soon if you can counter some damage when you’re younger.
- Turn the volume down: 85dB is the highest volume that you should listen to your headphones at as outlined by the World Health organization (60dB is the common volume of a conversation to put it in context). Sadly, most mobile devices don’t measure their output in decibels. Look into the max output of your headphones or keep the volume at half or less.
- Volume warnings are important: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume gets to be dangerous. It’s incredibly important for your ear health to stick to these cautions as much as you can.
If you’re at all concerned 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 easy to consider damage to your ears as trivial (which you shouldn’t do, you only get one pair of ears). But your hearing can have a huge impact on several other health factors, including your general mental health. Neglected hearing loss has been connected to increases in the risk for issues like depression and dementia.
So your overall wellness is forever connected to the health of your hearing. Whether you’re listening to a podcast or your favorite music, your headphone could become a health risk. So the volume down a little and do yourself a favor.