Is there a device that reflects the modern human condition better than headphones? Modern wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds allow you to connect to a worldwide community of sounds while at the same time giving you the ability to separate yourself from everybody you see. You can keep up on the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music anywhere you find yourself. They’re incredible. But the way we normally use them can also be a health risk.
This is particularly true with regards to your hearing health. And this is something that the World Health Organization has also stated. That’s especially troubling because headphones can be found everywhere.
Some Hazards With Earbuds or Headphones
Frances enjoys Lizzo. And so she listens to Lizzo a lot. When she’s really getting into it she normally cranks up the volume (most 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 type of headphone usage is pretty common. Certainly, there are plenty of other reasons and places you might use them, but the fundamental purpose is the same.
We use headphones because we want the listening experience to be somewhat private (so we are able to listen to whatever we want) and also so we’re not bothering the people near us (usually). But this is where it can get dangerous: we’re subjecting our ears to a considerable amount of noise in a prolonged and intense way. After a while, that noise can cause damage, which will lead to hearing loss. And a wide range of other health conditions have been linked to hearing loss.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Hearing health, according to healthcare specialists, is a major component of your complete health. Headphones are easy to get and that’s one reason why they present a health threat.
What can be done about it is the real question? In order to make headphones a little safer to use, researchers have provided a few measures to take:
- Pay attention to volume warnings: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume gets to be dangerous. So if you use one to listen to music, you need to heed these warnings.
- Don’t turn them up so loud: The World Health Organization recommends that your headphones not exceed 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 be certain that your volume is lower than half or look into the output of your specific headphones.
- Age restrictions: Nowadays, younger and younger kids are wearing headphones. And it’s definitely a wise decision to minimize the amount of time younger people are spending with headphones. The longer we can stop the damage, the more time you’ll have before hearing loss sets in.
- Take breaks: It’s tough not to pump up the volume when you’re listening to your favorite music. That’s understandable. But your hearing needs a bit of time to recover. So consider giving yourself a five-minute break from your headphones now and then. The concept is, every day give your ears some lower volume time. Limiting your headphone time and checking volume levels will undoubtedly decrease damage.
If you’re at all worried about your ear health, you might want to curtail the amount of time you spend on your headphones altogether.
I Don’t Actually Need to Worry About my Hearing, Right?
You only have one set of ears so you shouldn’t ignore the impact of hearing damage. But several other health factors, including your mental health, can be affected by hearing issues. Problems like have been linked to hearing impairment.
So the health of your hearing is linked inextricably to your overall wellness. And that means your headphones may be a health risk, whether you’re listening to music or a baking podcast. So do yourself a favor and turn the volume down, just a little bit.