Is there a device that exemplifies the current human condition better than headphones? These days, headphones and earbuds permit you to separate yourself from people around you while simultaneously permitting you to connect to the whole world of sounds. You can keep up on the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music anywhere you find yourself. It’s pretty amazing! But the way we tend to use them can also be a health risk.
This is specifically true regarding your hearing health. And the World Health Organization confirms this also. Headphones are everywhere so this is especially troubling.
Some Risks With Earbuds or Headphones
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 particular enjoyment in listening to your favorite tune at max power). Frances uses high-quality headphones so she won’t annoy others with her loud music.
This type of headphone use is fairly common. Of course, headphones can be used for a lot of things but the general concept is the same.
We want to be able to listen to anything we want without disturbing people around us, that’s the reason why we use headphones. But this is where it can become dangerous: our ears are subjected to an intense and prolonged amount of noise. Over time, that noise can cause injury, which leads to hearing loss. And hearing loss has been connected to a wide variety of other health-related conditions.
Protect Your Hearing
Hearing health, according to healthcare experts, is an important part of your overall health. And that’s the reason why headphones present somewhat of a health hazard, particularly since they tend to be omnipresent (headphones are rather easy to get a hold of).
So here is the question, then, what can be done about it? Researchers have put forward several tangible steps we can all use to help make headphones a bit safer:
- Take breaks: When you’re listening to music you really enjoy, it’s hard not to crank it up. That’s understandable. But you should take a little time to allow your hearing to recover. So every now and again, give yourself at least a five minute rest. The strategy is, every day give your ears some lower volume time. Limiting your headphone time and checking volume levels will undoubtedly reduce damage.
- Volume warnings are important: Most mobile devices have warnings when the volume becomes dangerous. So if you use one to listen to music, you need to heed these warnings.
- Turn down the volume: 85dB is the maximum volume that you should listen to your headphones at as outlined by the World Health organization (to put it in context, the volume of an average conversation is something like 60dB). Most mobile devices, regrettably, don’t have a dB volume meter built in. Look into the max volume of your headphones or keep the volume at no more than half.
- Restrict age: Nowadays, younger and younger kids are wearing headphones. And it’s definitely a wise choice to limit the amount of time younger people are spending with headphones. The longer we can prevent the damage, the more time you’ll have before hearing loss begins.
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 young, it’s not hard to consider damage to your hearing as trivial (which you shouldn’t do, you only have one set of ears). But a few other health factors, including your mental health, can be affected by hearing issues. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to increases in the risk for issues like dementia and depression.
So your overall well-being is forever linked to the health of your hearing. And that means your headphones could be a health hazard, whether you’re listening to music or a baking podcast. So the volume down a little and do yourself a favor.