The Hidden Danger of Headphones


Adam Fletcher, Negosentro |  We have talked many times about all the ways headphones improve the overall quality of our everyday life. Even though it is clear that they have great benefits for the entertainment portion of our life, it seems that we overlook several possible hidden dangers of using headphones. Ranging from the general health issues to some less known and not so obvious problems, the threats that emanate from the everyday use of headphones cannot be ignored.

The first and foremost issue people usually face while using headphones is that of hearing loss or complications with hearing. With the rising popularity of in-ear budget headphones, the majority of people who listen to music on their commute or in free time receive the audio directly into their ear. This, combined with the fact that most people listen to music with the volume all the way up, results in an alarming possibility of damaging one’s hearing. According to one study, around 90 percent of people tend to turn up the volume in already noisy surroundings, such as subways or busy streets. This brings the music, or whatever it is they are listening to, to an unhealthy level of 100 to 120 decibels, which is as loud as a rock concert, and in cases of prolonged exposure can lead to damaged hearing. The reverberations caused by the audio waves coming from the earbuds can sometime damage the eardrums and cause pain and discomfort. The simple solution would be limiting your headphones volume to sixty percent, and you should be safe and pain-free.

Another not-so-rare problem is the problem of “numb” ears. Namely, people who have to wear headphones as a requirement for their job, for example customer support staff or online tutors, often complain of numbness in their ears and pain in their auricles (the outer part of the ear). This problem is easily solvable by purchasing headphones with nice head support, so they don’t rest on your ears, and with cozy, foamy parts that will cover your ears without causing any discomfort.

Unfortunately, the list of possible health complications doesn’t stop there – if you are using headphones, especially earbuds according to, you are risking possible ear infections! That’s right, an ear infection might spring up in your ear canal due to the constant blockage of the canal. Also, this way there is no air passage, so you are essentially risking a chronic bacterial infection if you use earbuds every day…

A similar problem might happen if you share your headphones with other people. Giving one of your earbuds to your loved ones or friends so you can enjoy your favorite songs at the same time sounds romantic and fun, but if you forget to sanitize the earbuds afterwards, it could be a problem. Fortunately, there is an easy solution for this, as many stores have disinfectants that can help you clean and sanitize your headphones! Even with all these precautions, don’t forget to change the earbud caps every few months, since it is just much more hygienic and safer that way.

The least common, but also one of the scariest problems that can happen due to extensive use of headphones is the dizziness! Believe it or not, but some people develop slight dizziness or vertigo if they use their headphones for a long time without taking breaks to rest your brain and ears. By listening to music so much, people build up the pressure inside their ears and temporarily lose their capacity for balance. As we said, it is not a common occurrence, but it still might cause you discomfort if you are a big listener.

Aside from all these possible health issues, there are numerous dangers of using headphones which are more related to social and physical areas of your life. It goes without saying that these issues as not as important, but they can still have negative consequences and undesirable impact on your life.

The biggest concern that involves the use of headphones is that of ending up in a traffic accident! There are numerous examples where people get hit by a car or a motorbike, all because they are unaware of their surrounding due to sound-cancellation headphones! Even with normal headphones, you may become oblivious to your environment if you get too caught up in a song you are listening to… There are many laws in every country which explicitly forbid wearing headphones while crossing the street or while driven. Many options circumvent these regulations, such as Bluetooth headsets or even Bluetooth headphones. If you opt for this solution, never use both headphones so as to minimize every risk in edgy traffic situations.

However, the law does not say anything about wearing headphones while jogging, which is one of the most common situations in which we reach for our headphones! What might seem like the best motivational method to enduring long jogs or the best way to get hyped for a hard training session, is actually often distracting us from the signs that our body is sending to us! According to one study, people often disregard the uneven rhythm in their breathing or in their steps which is a common sign of exhaustion, because they are too immersed in the music they are listening to.

Finally, one of the hidden dangers of headphones that we never tend to think about is the danger of no social interaction. It might seem silly at first, but in the world of smartphones and gadgets, true opportunities for human contact outside of the virtual world arise rarely. And in those rare moments, we often overlook another human being because we are simply closed-up behind our (no matter how enjoyable) impenetrable musical wall. Can you remember the last time you talked to someone on subway or on the bus station? Now can you remember the number of time you were waiting there with your headphones on? It’s impossible that is just a coincidence! Also, people are often put off by other people’s lack of care for their environment, especially if there is music blasting from your headphones so loud anyone can hear it. In most cases, we don’t even catch these patterns in our behavior, but if we simply turn down the volume and once in a while take the headphones off to check out the people around us, we will seem much more friendly and sociable.

We know that music fans and headphone lovers will probably be a bit upset to read this article. However, this doesn’t mean you have to let your favorite gadgets go – you simply need to be aware of potential issues and health hazards and act accordingly. Don’t forget to occasionally rest your ears, keep your favorite headphones clean and sanitized and try not to listen to music so loudly that you lose track of time or your environment! If you take these pieces of advice into consideration, we have no doubt there are many years of problem-free listening of music ahead of you!

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