Are Headphones And Earbuds Harmful For Your Health?

Man risks his hearing health by listening to his music too loud with headphones.

Is there a device that reflects the current human condition better than headphones? These days, headphones and earbuds let you isolate yourself from people around you while simultaneously allowing you to connect to the whole world of sounds. You can keep up on the news, watch Netflix, or listen to music wherever you are. It’s pretty awesome! But the way we tend to use them can also be a health hazard.

At least, as far as your hearing health is concerned. And the World Health Organization confirms this also. Headphones are everywhere so this is very worrisome.

Some Risks With Earbuds or Headphones

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 volume). Frances uses high-quality headphones so she won’t annoy others with her loud music.

This type of headphone use is pretty common. Sure, there are lots of other purposes and places you might use them, but the fundamental function is the same.

We use headphones because we want a private listening experience (so we are able to listen to whatever 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 extended amount of noise. Over time, that noise can cause injury, which will lead to hearing loss. And hearing loss has been connected to a wide variety of other health-related ailments.

Keep Your Hearing Safe

Hearing health, according to healthcare professionals, is a crucial part of your complete health. And that’s the reason why headphones pose somewhat of a health hazard, particularly since they tend to be everywhere (headphones are quite easy to get a hold of).

The question is, then, what can be done about it? Researchers have provided several tangible steps we can all use to help make headphones a bit safer:

  • Turn the volume down: The World Health Organization recommends that your headphones not go beyond a volume of 85dB (to put it in context, the volume of an average conversation is something like 60dB). Unfortunately, most mobile devices don’t calculate their output in decibels. Try to make certain that your volume is lower than half or look into the output of your specific headphones.
  • Restrict age: Nowadays, younger and younger kids are wearing headphones. And it’s probably a smart choice to minimize the amount of time younger people are spending with headphones. Hearing loss won’t develop as soon if you can avoid some damage when you’re younger.
  • Take breaks: When you’re listening to music you really enjoy, it’s tough not to crank it up. That’s understandable. But you should take a little time to let your ears to recover. So every now and again, give yourself at least a five minute break. The idea is, every day give your ears some reduced volume time. In the same way, monitoring (and reducing) your headphone-wearing time will help keep moderate volumes from injuring your ears.
  • Listen 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 start pumping up the volume a bit too much. So if you use one to listen to music, you need to heed these warnings.

You might want to consider minimizing your headphone use entirely if you are at all worried about your health.

I Don’t Really Need to Worry About my Hearing, Right?

When you’re young, it’s not hard to consider damage to your ears as unimportant (which you shouldn’t do, you only get one pair of ears). But a few other health aspects, including your mental health, can be affected by hearing issues. Problems like have been connected to hearing impairment.

So your total wellness is forever linked to the health of your ears. And that means your headphones might be a health risk, whether you’re listening to music or a baking podcast. So do yourself a favor and turn the volume down, just a bit.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.