Health Risks Associated with Headphones

Headphones are great for listening to music so as to not disturb other people around you. Headphones are also used with telephones for a hands-free talking. Many benefits can be gained by the use of headphones, but the down side to headphones is the health risks that are associated with headphone usage.

Damage to the hair cells in the inner ear are one health risk associated with headphones. Loud and excessive noise directly in contact with the ear damages the hair cells in the inner ear causing permanent hearing loss.

Tumors are another health risk associated with the excessively loud noise of headphones. A study published by the Journal of Epidemiology found that several years of being exposed to dangerously loud noise increased a person’s risk of developing a tumor that could result in hearing loss. The tumor is slow growing and will over time put pressure on the cranial nerve. The cranial nerve is what senses sound and aids in balance.

Heart Attacks have been associated with high levels of noise , such as that produced by headphone usage. The European Heart Journal published a study showing that high levels of noise increases a person’s chances of having a heart attack.

High blood pressure is also linked to loud and excessive noise. A study done by University of Michigan researchers found that blood pressure was affected by overall noise exposure. Peaks in noise levels were found to affect a person’s heart rate.

With loud noises being associated with earbuds or headphones that are attached to MP3 players, Ipods and other media devices, younger people are at risk of future problems.

Experts recommend that if you are going to use headphones that you do not exceed 60 percent of the potential volume. Anything more than 60 percent and in excessive of one hour a day is considered excessive and recommended against by experts.

Headphone manufactures have tried to invent safer headphones. One safety measure was a safety circuitry that would limit the output volume or give a warning when dangerous levels of volume was used. These safety measures were rejected by the majority of consumers. The reason for the rejection was the majority of consumers preferred personal choice of volume levels.

One such invention was the Safelite line of cassette players produced by Koss in 1983. The Safelite had a warning light that would notify the user when volume levels were becoming dangerous. The Safelite line was discontinued after only two years because of a lack of interest from consumers.