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Guest Blog: Old Public Health Guy's Plea: Don't Wear Your Headphones All the Time


This is going to sound like just another old guy rant, I'm afraid. But it's not. Or at least that's not all it is: I propose that people stop wearing headphones when they are out in public.

Now I realize that I'm already showing my age and lack of hipness by calling them headphones. The correct term of art is at least ear buds, if not some name I don't even know. But you get the idea: those little speakers on a cord, usually white, that are crammed into everyone's ears as they walk around, sit on the subway or ride in an elevator. They drive me crazy.

First, they're intrusive. I can't sit on a bus anymore without hearing the thumping bass or sizzling cymbals from my seatmate's mixtapes that are leaking out of his headphones.

Second, they can hurt your hearing, especially when you wear them for hours at a time. Young people in my office wear headphones not only when out and about but also while working at their desks. Accumulating evidence suggests that this longer exposure correlates with increased risk of hearing loss. If someone can hear your earphone leakage from several feet away, it's too loud.

More serious than harming your hearing, though, it appears that earphone use in public can actually endanger your life. ' Read the rest at the Huffington Post where it first appeared on January 26, 2012.

More Blog Posts by Douglas Kamerow

author bio

Douglas Kamerow is senior scholar at the Robert Graham Center: Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care, associate editor for The BMJ, and Professor of Clinical Family Medicine at Georgetown University. Previously, he was chief scientist at the non-partisan research institute RTI International. He chaired the CFAH board of trustees from 2007 to 2011. His new book is Dissecting American Health Care.

Tags for this article:
Lifestyle and Prevention   Douglas Kamerow   Promote your Health  

Comments on this post
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Ivette Beechner says
July 19, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Wonderful facts, Cheers..
Thanks! Very good information!

Hayden Currier says
August 22, 2013 at 9:46 AM

You reported that exceptionally effectively!.
Thank you. Great information!

Veer says
September 5, 2014 at 7:03 AM

Its true listening headphones on road, sitting in a bus, or walking around all the time is not as cool as it look like. You are hurting your ears very badly which you will realize after some time but it may be very late to know so please take care your ears and reduce this habit.