Is there a device that reflects the present human condition better than headphones? These days, headphones and earbuds let you isolate yourself from everyone around you while at the same time allowing you to connect to the whole world of sounds. They let you watch Netflix or listen to music or stay in tune to the news from anywhere. It’s pretty awesome! 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 acknowledged. That’s especially troubling because headphones can be found everywhere.
Some Risks With Earbuds or Headphones
Frances loves to listen to Lizzo all the time. Because Frances loves Lizzo so much, she also 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 is a fairly common use of headphones. Needless to say, headphones can be used for lots of things but the general concept is the same.
We want to be able to listen to whatever we want without annoying people around us, that’s why we use headphones. But that’s where the danger lies: our ears are subjected to an intense and prolonged amount of noise. Eventually, that noise can cause damage, which leads to hearing loss. And hearing loss has been linked to a wide range of other health-related illnesses.
Safeguard Your Hearing
Hearing health, according to healthcare specialists, is a key element of your complete health. And that’s the reason why headphones pose something of a health risk, especially since they tend to be omnipresent (headphones are rather easy to get your hands on).
The question is, then, what can be done about it? In order to make headphones a little safer to use, researchers have offered a number of steps to take:
- Turn down the volume: 85dB is the highest volume that you should listen to your headphones at as outlined by the World Health organization (to put it in context, the volume of a typical conversation is about 60dB). Most mobile devices, regrettably, don’t have a dB volume meter standard. Try to be certain 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 enjoy, it’s tough not to crank it up. That’s understandable. But your hearing needs a bit of time to recuperate. So consider giving yourself a five-minute rest from your headphones now and then. The strategy is, each day give your ears some low volume time. By the same token, monitoring (and restricting) your headphone-wearing time can help keep moderate volumes from hurting your ears.
- Restrict age: Nowadays, younger and younger kids are using headphones. And it might be smarter if we cut back on that a little, limiting the amount of time younger children spend using headphones. The longer we can avoid 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 tunes on your mobile device, and most mobile devices have built-in warnings when you start pumping up the volume a bit too much. So if you use a mobile device to listen to music, you need to heed these warnings.
If you’re at all worried about your ear health, you might want to restrict the amount of time you spend on your headphones altogether.
It’s Just My Hearing, Right?
You only get one set of ears so you shouldn’t ignore the impact of hearing damage. But your hearing can have a substantial impact on a number of other health factors, including your overall mental health. Problems such as have been linked to hearing impairment.
So your overall wellness is forever connected to the health of your hearing. Whether you’re listening to a podcast or your favorite music, your headphone could become a health hazard. So do yourself a favor and down the volume, just a little bit.