There’s nothing like listening to your favorite tunes. And thanks to headphones and earphones, you can do it anywhere. It can make your commute so much better!
But do you know the health risks? If used incorrectly, headphones and earphones will cause these five unpleasant side effect.
5 Side Effects Of Using Headphones And Earphones
1. Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is the most significant side effect of headphones and earphones. This is because people typically blast music while using these devices. After all, the purpose is to enjoy audio while blocking out the background noise.
Over time, this will destroy the hair cells in your ears.1 These cells are crucial for hearing. But when they’re damaged, your body can’t make more, and you’ll lose your hearing ability.2
To avoid hearing loss, turn down the volume. The people around you shouldn’t be able to hear it. You can also prevent it by reducing the length of time that you use them.3
2. Tinnitus Risk
Listening to loud music with headphones or earphones can also lead to tinnitus. This condition is marked by hearing a sound that doesn’t actually exist. Often, tinnitus involves ringing or buzzing in the ears.
Compared to hearing loss, tinnitus is more common. It frequently affects young adults and can be caused by concerts or bars.
Tinnitus isn’t related to loss of hearing. However, it can be really annoying to deal with.4 Some people find the ringing or buzzing to be extremely distracting, especially if they’re trying to focus.
3. Reduced Visual Perception
It might sound weird, but wearing headphones can limit what you see. According to a study in Scientific Reports, your brain focuses on one sense at a time. When you are listening to sound, your visual perception is skewed.
It doesn’t mean you can’t see at all. Instead, one sense masks the other. Auditory stimuli, like music in headphones, has a strong impact on vision.5 This can be distracting if you’re trying to look at street signs or directions.
4. Safety Risks
When you use headphones and earphones, it’s hard to know what’s going on around you. Sirens, car horns, and oncoming trains will be drowned out by your tunes. This is why it’s risky to walk around while listening to music.
In fact, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, injuries involving headphones and vehicles have tripled since 2004. Of these cases, 75 percent were lead to death.6
You also won’t notice the people around you. Wearing headphones makes you the perfect target for robbers, especially in the crowded areas and at night.
If you want to walk and listen to music, keep it on low or use one earphone.
5. Bacteria Build-Up
It’s no secret that bacteria is everywhere. However, it can accumulate on surfaces like headphones and earphones. This is because they’re continuously placed in the ear canal, which may not be cleaned often. It also promotes bacterial growth in the ear, making you prone to infections.
What’s worse is that we constantly touch earphones with our hands. This can just add to that bacterial growth.
Play it safe by never sharing your earphones. If you must, clean them thoroughly first.7 It’s possible to use headphones and earphones safely. Keep them clean and don’t crank up the volume. By using them responsibly, you can enjoy music and protect yourself.
|↑1||da Silva, Valéria Gomes, Carlos Augusto Costa Pires de Oliveira, Pedro Luíz Tauil, Isabella Monteiro de Castro Silva, and André Luiz Lopes Sampaio. “Amplified music exposure carries risks to hearing.” International Jou.|
|↑2||Hair Cell Regeneration and Hearing Loss. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.|
|↑3||Hearing Loss and Music. MedlinePlus.|
|↑4||Moore, David R., Oliver Zobay, Robert C. Mackinnon, William M. Whitmer, and Michael A. Akeroyd. “Lifetime leisure music exposure associated with increased frequency of tinnitus.” Hearing Research (2016). Harvard|
|↑5||Hidaka, Souta, and Masakazu Ide. “Sound can suppress visual perception.” Scientific reports 5 (2015).|
|↑6||Injuries to Headphone-Wearing Pedestrians Struck by Cars and Trains More Than Triple Since 2004. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑7||Mukhopadhyay, Chiranjay, Soham Basak, Soham Gupta, Kiran Chawla, and Indira Bairy. “A comparative analysis of bacterial growth with earphone use.” Online Journal of Health and Allied Sciences 7, no. 2 (2008).|