Is there a device that reflects the current human condition better than headphones? Today’s wireless headphones, AirPods, and earbuds let you to connect to a global community of sounds while at the same time enabling you to separate yourself from everyone you see. They let you listen to music or watch Netflix or keep up with the news from anywhere. It’s pretty amazing! But headphones might also be a health hazard.
This is particularly true with regards to your hearing health. And this is something that the World Health Organization has also acknowledged. That’s especially troubling because headphones can be found everywhere.
The Danger of Headphones And Earbuds
Frances loves to listen to Lizzo all the time. When she’s really jamming out she usually cranks up the volume (most people love to jam out to their favorite music at full power). She’s a respectful person, though, so Frances uses high-quality headphones to enjoy her tunes.
This kind of headphone use is fairly common. Certainly, there are plenty of other purposes and places you could use them, but the primary function is the same.
We want to be able to listen to anything we want without bothering people around us, that’s why we use headphones. But this is where it can become dangerous: we’re subjecting our ears to a considerable amount of noise in a prolonged and intense way. Hearing loss can be the consequence of the injury caused by this extended exposure. And a wide range of other health conditions have been linked to hearing loss.
Protect Your Hearing
Healthcare professionals think of hearing health as a key component of your general well-being. Headphones are easy to get and that’s one reason why they present a health risk.
So here is the question, then, what can be done about it? So that you can make headphones a bit safer to use, researchers have provided numerous steps to take:
- Take breaks: When you’re jamming out to music you really like, it’s hard not to crank it up. That’s easy to understand. But your hearing needs a little time to recuperate. 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. Limiting your headphone time and checking volume levels will definitely reduce damage.
- Turn down the volume: 85dB is the maximum volume that you should listen to your headphones at as outlined by the World Health organization (60dB is the average level of a conversation to put it in context). Unfortunately, most mobile devices don’t calculate their output in decibels. Determine the max volume of your headphones or keep the volume at no more than half.
- Age restrictions: Nowadays, younger and younger kids are wearing headphones. And it’s definitely a wise choice to reduce 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 sets in.
- Volume warnings are important: It’s likely that you listen to your music on your mobile device, and most mobile devices have built-in warnings when you begin pumping up the volume a bit too much. It’s very important for your hearing health to stick to these cautions as much as you can.
If you’re at all worried about your ear health, you might want to restrict the amount of time you spend using your headphones entirely.
It’s Only My Hearing, Right?
You only have one pair of ears so you shouldn’t dismiss the impact of hearing damage. But your hearing can have a big impact on a number of other health factors, including your overall mental health. Problems like have been linked to hearing impairment.
So your overall 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 the volume down a little and do yourself a favor.