If you’ve been concerned about your hearing health lately and have been doing some research into what your hearing and ear health harm can do, then a couple of words might have appeared a few times: headphones and earbuds. But are they really dangerous?

Headphones and earbuds have become much more common over the past couple of decades, allowing you to listen to or watch whatever you want, usually through a device like a smartphone or a laptop. While they are undoubtedly a great device for accessing all sorts of modern conveniences, they do come with some risks as well.

Here, we’re going to look at how headphones and earbuds can affect your hearing health, what you can do to mitigate these risks and what kind of help you should seek to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself.

The Truth About Headphones and Earbuds

Many of us use headphones and earbuds and many of us use them regularly, whether it’s to keep the tunes pumping while we’re working out, to keep us company during our commute or even to enjoy media without disrupting the people around us.

However, many of us will also crank up the volume to make sure that we’re able to pick up every detail of what we’re listening to or to better enjoy a piece of music. This is a common use of headphones and earbuds that is actually more dangerous than it might seem at first glance.

The risk lies in the volume of noise that we are exposing our ears to. Sounds that reach over 85 decibels (dB), such as lawn mowers, can start to do damage if we are exposed to them for over two hours.

Surely, your earphones aren’t louder than a lawn mower? Believe it or not, most headphones and earbuds, when connected to a smartphone or laptop, can reach a maximum volume of 110-115 decibels, which can start to be a risk to your hearing after five minutes.

How You Can Fight This Risk

Your hearing health is vital to your quality of life. Not only does it dictate your range of hearing and how you use this sense to navigate the world, but it also impacts your mental and emotional health. If you experience hearing loss, it affects all areas of your life. As such, it is worth protecting. Here are some of the steps you can take to make sure that headphones and earbuds are not causing you harm:

  • Turn it down: As mentioned, volumes beyond 85dB are considered dangerous to your hearing health. Your smartphone will not tell you what decibels it is outputting, but usually, they will warn you when you’re approaching dangerous levels of noise. Otherwise, try to keep the volume slider below the 60% mark.
  • Use apps to warn you: As mentioned, your mobile device is likely to have built-in warnings to stop you from turning the volume up to dangerous levels. Aside from paying attention to these warnings, you should use apps that do measure the dB output of your device and prevent you from turning it up beyond that point.
  • Take breaks from your listening: You might really be feeling the music and not want to interrupt your groove, which we can all relate to. However, your risk of hearing loss is increased over time and exposure. As such, you should make sure that you take a five-minute break from your headphones if you’ve been wearing them for thirty minutes. This can also help in preventing the slow creeping of the volume up to dangerous levels.

If you feel like you are not able to follow the tips above to mitigate the damage to your ears, then it is genuinely worth avoiding using them altogether. It’s not worth risking your hearing.

Don’t Take Your Hearing Health for Granted

You might take your hearing for granted if you’re younger, but the truth is that excessive exposure to loud noise is the single leading cause of hearing loss outside of old age. What’s more, untreated hearing loss can impact your life greatly, to the point that it has been connected to conditions like dementia and depression.

Aside from following the tips above, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your ENT doctor, to have a hearing test performed that can give you an idea of your hearing health, as it stands and what you can do to protect it. Get in touch with ENT Specialists by calling at (402) 983-9948.