Wearing headphones for just an hour increases the bacteria in your ear by 700 times. This ear health fact is from Auris Ear Care and is a great reminder of the dangers of wearing headphones for our ears.
By following a few guidelines, we can help prevent the damage caused to our ear health when wearing headphones. I’ll share some of these important ear care tips in this blog post.
The dangers of headphones to ear health
According to the NHS, listening to music through headphones is one of the biggest dangers to our hearing.
If you listen to music at full volume through headphones then the decibels are almost equivalent to the decibels of a plane taking off!
One of my favourite things to do is go to the gym. I get up three mornings every week and go to the gym at 6.30am for up to one hour, before getting the kids ready for school. I’ll usually go at least once at the weekend too.
I love to stay fit and healthy, but it’s also great for my mental health and some me-time too.
The best part is zoning out into my own little world for 45 minutes or one hour. I do this by popping in my headphones and either listening to loud fast music when running, to motivate me to run faster, or if I’m stair climbing then I’ll take the iPad and watch something on Netflix.
I don’t think I could even run without listening to music now. It’s one of the best parts. The music keeps me going, makes me forget I’m at the gym surrounded by others and it helps to make me feel great as I exercise.
And the thing is, it’s best when it’s loud!
But I’m very aware this is not good for my hearing and ear health, so I do my best to keep the headphones turned down and not maxed out.
So how can we protect our ear health and prevent hearing loss from wearing headphones?
Read on to find out.
How to protect ear health when using headphones
· Use noise cancelling headphones
It’s best to invest in noise cancelling headphones. These will block out any surrounding noise so you can only hear what you’re playing. This stops you turning up the volume to cancel out the surrounding noise.
This is one piece of advice I need to action myself.
I received some ear buds for Christmas and unfortunately they don’t do this. I can hear everything else going on around me, which means I’m tempted to turn the volume as high as possible so I can concentrate on what I’m playing.
I am resisting this urge and will be looking to invest in noise cancelling headphones instead.
· Do not max out the volume
Listening to music at full volume through headphones can have noise levels as high as 110 decibels. A plane taking off is 120 decibels!
The NHS recommend to make sure the volume is no higher than 60% when listening to music through headphones.
· Set a volume limit
If you listen to music via your iPhone then you can set a volume limit in your settings. Go to Settings>Music>Volume Limit and either manually set the volume limit or turn the EU Volume Limit on.
· Limit how long you wear headphones
The longer you wear headphones, the longer you are potentially causing damage. That and the bacteria are increasing in your ear!
Try to limit wearing headphones for one hour at a time, max. Then give your ears and hearing a rest! Let them recover.
Luckily the longest gym sessions I do are one hour, so I’m never wearing my headphones for longer than this. My ears then have 1-2 days break until I wear the headphones again.
There’s a 60/60 rule I’ve seen on the internet that recommends wearing headphones for no longer than 60 minutes at 60% of the max volume.
· Get your ears and hearing tested
If you are concerned about your ear health or hearing, then have your ears tested. If you regularly wear headphones then you may consider this too.
The earlier any sign of hearing loss is detected, the sooner you can do something about it and seek any professional help that’s required.
Wearing headphones can be an enjoyable experience so long as we follow a few simple guidelines to protect our hearing and ear health.
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