Is there a gadget that exemplifies the current human condition better than headphones? Today’s wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds allow you to connect to a worldwide community of sounds while simultaneously enabling you to separate yourself from everyone around you. They let you watch Netflix or listen to music or keep up with the news from anywhere. They’re incredible. But the way we tend to use them can also be a health risk.
At least, as far as your ears are concerned. And this is something that the World Health Organization has also stated. Headphones are everywhere so this is especially worrisome.
The Danger of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances loves Lizzo. And so she listens to Lizzo all of the time. Because Frances loves Lizzo so much, she also cranks up the volume (there’s a special satisfaction in listening to your favorite song at max volume). She’s a respectful person, though, so Frances uses high-quality headphones to enjoy her tunes.
This kind of headphone usage is relatively common. Certainly, there are lots of other reasons and places you might use them, but the fundamental function is the same.
We want to be able to listen to anything we want without disturbing people around us, that’s why we use headphones. But that’s where the danger lies: we’re exposing our ears to a considerable amount of noise in an extended and intense way. Hearing loss can be the result of the injury caused by this extended exposure. And hearing loss has been associated with a wide variety of other health-related problems.
Protect Your Hearing
Healthcare professionals think of hearing health as an essential aspect of your overall well-being. Headphones are easy to get and that’s one reason why they present a health hazard.
So here is the question, then, what can be done about it? In an effort to make headphones a little safer to use, researchers have put forward a number of steps to take:
- Turn down the volume: The World Health Organization recommends that your headphones not exceed a volume of 85dB (for context, the volume of a normal conversation is around 60dB). Most mobile devices, regrettably, don’t have a dB volume meter built in. Try to be sure that your volume is less than half or look up the output of your specific headphones.
- Take breaks: When you’re jamming out to music you really like, it’s tough not to pump it up. That’s understandable. But you need to take some time to let your hearing to recover. So every now and again, give yourself at least a five minute rest. The idea is, each day give your ears some reduced volume time. Decreasing your headphone time and monitoring volume levels will undoubtedly lessen injury.
- Restrict age: Headphones are being worn by younger and younger people nowadays. And it may be wiser if we cut back on that a little, limiting the amount of time younger children spend wearing headphones. Hearing loss won’t develop as soon if you can counter some damage when you’re younger.
- Heed to volume warnings: It’s likely that you listen to your music on your mobile device, and most mobile devices have built-in warnings when you begin cranking up the volume a bit too much. It’s incredibly important for your ear health to comply with these cautions as much as you can.
If you’re at all worried about your ear health, you may want to curtail the amount of time you spend using your headphones altogether.
I Don’t Really Need to Worry About my Hearing, Right?
When you’re younger, it’s not hard to consider damage to your ears as unimportant (which you should not do, you only get one set of ears). But numerous other health aspects, including your mental health, can be affected by hearing issues. Problems such as have been connected to hearing impairment.
So the health of your hearing is connected inextricably to your all-around well-being. Whether you’re listening to a podcast or your favorite music, your headphone may become a health hazard. So do yourself a favor and down the volume, just a little bit.