These little-known risks of headphones on your health

These little-known risks of headphones on your health

Widely used on a daily basis, headphones nevertheless present risks to your health. Dr Gérald Kierzek explains the consequences that their use can have.

Faced with extensive daily use of headphones, it is important to remember the dangers associated with this object. Contamination, hearing safety… Dr. Kierzek explains the risks you run into when using your headphones.

Risks of contamination

According to the study “A Comparative Analysis of Bacterial Growth with Earphone Use”, carried out by Manipal University in India: “Frequent and constant use of headphones increases bacterial growth in the ear and sharing headphones could be a contamination factor“.

According to Dr. Kierzek: “The ear is a dark, moist environment with dead skin. It is therefore conducive to the development of internal bacteria in the ear. On the other hand, it is not the headphones which bring the bacteria but rather the contamination by them, particularly when sharing the object. However, there is no need to worry because these are non-pathogenic saprophytic bacteria, such as staphylococci or streptococci.“. Indeed, the germs that proliferate in your ear while you listen to music are the same ones that live there normally. Your ear is therefore capable and accustomed to dealing with them!

Dr. Kierzek adds: “To avoid the risk of contamination, there are good reflexes to adopt. Among them, we advise not to lend your headphones and to clean them from time to time“.

Risks to your hearing

The more serious hearing risk constitutes the second danger of wearing headphones. According to Dr. Kierzek “To avoid this risk, it is important to follow the earphone safety recommendations and alerts on your phone. This includes not putting the sound at more than 60% of maximum volume. In addition, it is necessary to take breaks and limit long-term exposure“. The doctor adds: “Too high a volume over the long term can lead to presbycusis“. This phenomenon corresponds to a physiological decrease in hearing abilities and can cause progressive and irreversible deafness.

Risks to your safety

Finally, the last danger to consider according to Dr. Kierzek is the isolation that wearing headphones creates. The latter explains: “This risk concerns the safety of the person who finds themselves cut off from their environment. On the other hand, some headphones have a noise cancellation function which accentuates the feeling of isolation. This situation can be particularly dangerous“. This is the case when you cross the street and you don’t hear the cars coming.