Headphones are a lifesaver when it comes to avoiding conversations. They make life so much easier, you don’t have to stare out into the wasteland when you’re travelling, you can pump iron while listening to the music that makes you feel like an ubermensch, they are better than a study partner to study with, and they are a boon for senior citizens.
All these reasons have made earphones an inescapable part of our lives and like every necessary evil, the side effects of wearing earbuds are many.
You must have heard someone say somewhere down the line in your life that excess of anything is bad, this stands true for headphones too. Using earphones for prolonged periods of time, at high volume can damage your ear and result in partial to complete hearing loss. Aesthetically speaking, it can cause conditions such as acne and ear infections.
This was just the tip of the iceberg there are numerous headphone health risks, in fact too many to list. Therefore, let’s go over the most common and the most severe effects of wearing headphones.
Three side effects of headphones you might encounter if you wear them for prolonged periods of time
1. Your Ability to Hear May Suffer
If you expose yourself to sounds greater than 90dB for an average of eight hours per day, you will most likely suffer from hearing loss and as the volume increases, your safe time of exposure decreases. Headphones and especially earbuds are designed in a way that they blast sound directly into your ear canal to offer zero noise cancellation. However, most of them do a poor job of drowning out unnecessary noise like chattering people on the subway, naturally, your response to this is to turn up the volume way beyond the recommended levels to compensate. This leads to side effects of wearing earbuds number one, hearing loss.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around a billion young people around the world could be at the risk of hearing loss. There is seldom coming back from it, hearing aids do go a long way but then again, isn’t prevention the best cure.
2. You Might Catch an Ear Infection
One of the effects of wearing earbuds for too long is that they increase the temperature of the ear canal. A higher temperature means your ear has become the perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria causing ear infections. They can also increase ear wax build-up; our ears are designed to clean themselves, wearing earbuds for long hours will trap the ear wax which was supposed to be carried out and result in an infection.
Also, DO NOT share earbuds – ever. This rule is so important that Fight Club’s first rule should have been- do not share earbuds ever. It is the easiest way to pick up infection-causing bacteria.
3. You Could Be Exposed to Radiation
Nowadays, most headphones are wireless which means they use Bluetooth technology to receive music from your phone or iPad. Exposure to prolonged radiation adds cancer to the list of headphones health risks. In a recent 2018 study, the World Health Organization (WHO) found that exposure to radio-frequency radiation gave birth to biological effects that mirrored carcinogens in male rats. Apart from this, the electromagnetic waves produced by headphones can be dangerous for the brain. The EMW produced by high decibel music withdraw insulation for the nerve fibers that carry sound signals from the ear to the brain.
You can easily avoid hearing problems
And negate the side effects of headphones by just using them judiciously and not listening to music over 80dB for prolonged periods of time.