Prolonged Use of Headphones Harmful

Prolonged Use of Headphones Harmful  Prolonged Use of Headphones Harmful

Today, 1 in 5 adolescents in the country has some form of hearing impairment and the rate is significantly higher than it was in the 1980s and 1990s. Experts believe the reason is due to prolonged use of headphones.

The Non-Communicable Diseases Management Center at the Health Ministry says in the past decade, the rate of damage resulting from inappropriate use of headphones has increased by 30%, the Persian language weekly ‘Salamat’ reported.

“We should increase people’s awareness on auditory health, said Dr. Saeed Masoudiyan, head of the ministry’s Hearing Health Department.

There are two problems which put the youth at risk; one is the use of earphones for a long period of time, and the other is substandard quality of headphones that are mostly smuggled into the country, he said.

“The devices reproduce sounds at dangerously high decibels. This can damage the auditory nerves and cause early presbycusis or hearing loss.”

“As smuggled headphones are cheaper, people prefer to buy them,” he said, warning that poor quality earphones could cause irreparable damage.”

Most headphones today can produce sounds up to 120 decibels. “At that level, hearing loss can occur in just an hour and 15 minutes,” he maintained.

“I warn my patients that if you can’t hear anything going on around you while using headphones, the decibel level is too high.” At maximum volume, listening for only about five minutes a day is safe.

Hearing aids and implants help in amplifying sounds to make it easy for those hard of hearing, but they are merely compensating for the damaged or nonworking parts of the ear, Masoudiyan pointed out.

 Other Effects

Millions of people across the world suffer severe hearing impairment for various reasons, one of the most common being inappropriate use of earphones.

Hearing loss is not the only harmful effect of exposure to high sound levels. Listening to loud music through headphones over long periods of time may cause emotional disorders and sleep problems. It can also increase blood pressure and anxiety.

Nearly 360 million suffer from moderate to severe hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization. While that number includes unavoidable factors, such as aging, genetics, birth defects, infections and disease, about half of the cases are avoidable.

The WHO has launched the ‘Make Listening Safe’ initiative, to encourage manufacturers to create audio safety features on devices and educate consumers on how to use them.