6 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Keep Your Earphones Plugged In For A Long Period

Whether you are sweating it out at the gym or travelling, earphones often make for the best of companions. After all, music makes even the worst of situations bearable, doesn’t it? But, did you know that this love for music can also have some terrible consequences, especially when it is blasting through the earphones? Keeping your earphones plugged in for long periods can be quite damaging to your ears. Wish to know how? Read on to find out.

Earphones Can Cause Hearing Loss

Yes, you read that right! If you continue to use your earphones at a high volume for long periods, you can suffer from partial or complete hearing loss, which is also referred to as noise-induced hearing loss. Here’s why:

‘When sound waves reach your ears, vibrations are created in the eardrum. The small bones in your ear transmit these vibrations to the cochlea, which is a fluid-filled chamber in your ear lined with thousands of small hair. Once the sound vibrations reach your cochlea, the fluid inside vibrates, causing the hair to move. If the volume is high, the vibrations get stronger, causing the hair to move more often,” says Dr. Kalpana Nagpal, ENT Specialist, Apollo 24|7.

The hair cells can take a while to recover from extreme vibrations caused by loud noise, resulting in a temporary loss of hearing. Prolonged exposure to loud noise can also adversely affect the hair cells’ sensitivity to sound vibrations. Moreover, these cells can suffer severe damage and cease to function normally, causing permanent loss of hearing.

Other Harmful Effects of Using Earphones

In addition to causing hearing loss, the following are some of the major ways in which using earphones for hours can harm you.

  1. Ear Infections

Since earphones are plugged directly into your ear canal, they block the passage of air. “Consequently, keeping them plugged in for long periods can increase the risk of ear infections. Moreover, it causes the growth of bacteria, which can stay on these devices and transfer to anyone else using them,” adds Dr Nagpal.

  1. Dizziness

Dizziness is another side effect of using earphones for longer durations. This happens because continuous exposure to loud noise can increase pressure in your ear canals, making you feel dizzy.

  1. Earwax

Keeping earphones plugged in creates a barrier, which prevents earwax from getting out naturally, increasing the production and accumulation of earwax. Excessive earwax can lead to several issues such as dizziness, pain, itching, vertigo, and tinnitus.

  1. Hyperacusis

Exposure to loud noise for a long duration can lead to the development of a condition called hyperacusis, which makes one highly sensitive to even normal environmental sounds.

  1. Tinnitus

“Loud noise can cause damage to the hair cells in the cochlea, resulting in a loud ringing or roaring noise in your ear and sometimes even in your head. This is medically called tinnitus,” believes Dr Nagpal.

What Can You Do?

It is understandable that in today’s time, it isn’t possible to quit using earphones altogether. So, all you need to do is to limit the usage to not more than one hour every day. “If not, try to remove them every 30 minutes and let your ears breathe. While using them, do not increase the volume to more than 70-80 decibels,” opines Dr Nagpal.

Also, it is advisable to use noise-cancelling headphones instead of in-ear earphones or earbuds. If you experience any signs of hearing loss, like difficulty hearing at a low volume or buzzing in your ears, consult a doctor right away.

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