Headphones are a device that best demonstrates the modern human condition. Today’s wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds enable you to link to a global community of sounds while simultaneously giving you the ability to isolate yourself from everyone around you. They allow you to listen to music or watch Netflix or keep up with the news from everywhere. They’re fabulous. But the way we generally use them can also be a health risk.
At least, as far as your hearing health is concerned. And this is something that the World Health Organization has also reported. That’s especially worrying because headphones are everywhere.
The Danger of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances enjoys Lizzo. And so she listens to Lizzo all of the time. When she’s really jamming out she usually cranks up the volume (most people love to listen to their favorite music at full power). She’s a considerate person, though, so Frances uses high-quality headphones to listen to her tunes.
This type of headphone usage is fairly common. Sure, there are lots of other reasons and places you could use them, but the basic purpose is the same.
We use headphones because we want the listening experience to be somewhat private (so we are able to listen to anything we want) and also so we don’t bother the people around us (usually). But this is where it can get dangerous: our ears are subjected to an intense and prolonged amount of noise. Over time, that noise can cause damage, which will lead to hearing loss. And hearing loss has been associated with a wide range of other health-related ailments.
Keep Your Hearing Safe
Hearing health, according to healthcare specialists, is an important component of your complete health. Headphones are easy to get and that’s one reason why they present a health threat.
What can you do about it is the real question? In an effort to make headphones a bit safer to use, researchers have put forward a few measures to take:
- Don’t turn them up so loud: 85dB is the maximum volume that you should listen to your headphones at according to the World Health organization (to put it in context, the volume of an average conversation is about 60dB). Most mobile devices, unfortunately, don’t have a dB volume meter built in. Look into the max volume of your headphones or keep the volume at half or less.
- Take breaks: It’s tough not to crank up the volume when you’re listening to your favorite tunes. That’s easy to understand. But you need to take a bit of time to allow your ears to recover. So every now and again, give yourself at least a five minute rest. The strategy is, every day give your ears some low volume time. Decreasing your headphone time and monitoring volume levels will definitely lessen damage.
- Listen to volume warnings: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume gets to be dangerous. It’s extremely important for your hearing health to stick to these warnings as much as you can.
- Restrict age: Headphones are being worn by younger and younger people these days. And it’s likely a smart move to limit the amount of time younger people are spending with headphones. The longer we can protect against the damage, the more time you’ll have before hearing loss begins.
You may want to consider minimizing your headphone use altogether if you are at all worried about your health.
It’s Only My Hearing, Right?
You only get one pair of ears so you shouldn’t disregard the impact of hearing damage. But your hearing can have a huge impact on numerous other health factors, including your general mental health. Untreated hearing loss has been connected to increases in the risk for issues like dementia and depression.
So your total well-being is forever linked to the health of your hearing. And that means your headphones might be a health risk, whether you’re listening to music or a baking podcast. So turn down the volume a little and do yourself a favor.