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Benefits and Pitfalls of Headphones

Benefits and Pitfalls of Headphones

Pros and cons of using headphones while exercising

At the gym, you may notice two types of people: those who put on their headphones immediately and those who don’t. It’s essential to understand that there are pros and cons of headphones while exercising, mainly concerning performance. Nevertheless, the decision to wear them or not is solely the individual’s choice.


Working out can be challenging, especially when it comes to staying motivated. However, those who use wireless earbuds or over-the-ear headphones often find that listening to upbeat music helps them feel inspired. By wearing headphones while training and playing energizing music, you can reduce stress and get into the right mindset to tackle your workout. Having a positive attitude will help you enjoy your training and move closer to achieving your goals.

Reduce fatigue
During your workout, you might feel like quitting when faced with challenges. But, you can try listening to your favourite playlist to distract yourself from the discomfort and exhaustion. Focus on the music and push yourself through any doubts that may arise.

Improved performance
Listening to music while exercising can boost your performance. This is because music can help you power through aerobic workouts and add extra repetitions during strength training. Research has shown that listening to your favourite music can also make your workout feel less demanding by reducing your perceived exertion level.

When someone wears headphones, it usually means they prefer to be alone. Many people use their workout time to de-stress and stay focused, and headphones help them do that by blocking out distractions and avoiding small talk. While socializing can be beneficial, it’s not always possible to fit it in during a short workout. In these situations, staying focused is key to completing the workout in a timely manner.


When you’re listening to music or podcasts with headphones, it can help you focus on your favourite tunes or professional development. However, it’s important to stay alert in certain environments, like busy roads, gyms, or hiking trails. According to a 2019 study by RealWire, 37 million Americans believe that they’ve put themselves in danger while wearing headphones while walking, jogging, or cycling. Even more concerning, 26% of those individuals admitted to repeating this behaviour despite being in a dangerous situation. It’s always best to be careful and keep at least one ear open in these types of situations.

The distraction of headphones takes the focus off your surroundings and yourself.

Your inner ear has two primary responsibilities:

  • allowing you to hear and
  • assisting with your balance.

Playing loud music can harm your balance and be dangerous while exercising or trying to beat your personal record. It can also harm the cochlea in your inner ear, which creates nerve impulses in response to sound vibrations, causing you to lose your hearing.

Maintaining ear cleanliness is crucial for heart health. Infections can affect the small artery responsible for blood flow to the ears, which can lead to the heart. To avoid this, it’s important to clean your headphones regularly after use. To clean earbuds, use a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to clean around the listening area. Use a toothpick to remove anything stuck to the front casing. For headphones, you can use a cloth with hand sanitiser to clean around the area.

Earbuds and headphones have become very popular, mostly because of Apple and Beats. Good quality ones can cost from $90 to $250. There are many designs to choose from, and people usually pick what they like best. But if you buy a cheap imitation brand, it might only work for 5 to 10 times before breaking down.

Lost and Found
When using earbuds, it’s important to remember that they are very small. For example, the 2nd Generation AirPods measure only 0.65 by 0.71 by 1.59 inches. At Duke Rec & P.E. Facilities, earbuds and headphones are the most commonly lost items. They are often misplaced while using cardio equipment or falling out of the user’s ears and getting stuck in machines. Unfortunately, even the “Lost my AirPods” App can’t help in these situations. To increase your chances of recovering lost earbuds or headphones, it’s a good idea to link them to your phone or other technology. Additionally, consider labelling them with your contact information so they can be returned to you if found.

Tips for using headphones while exercising

  • If you are going to wear them, keep the volume to a manageable level
  • Match your playlist to your mood; it will make a positive impact on your workout
  • Make sure you find a pair that feels comfortable in your ear
  • Know your environment and use them when it is safe to do so

So what’s best for me?

The goal is to improve your health and fitness, so choose what works best for you. You can even switch it up periodically, depending on your mood. As the hip-hop duo “Black Sheep” once said, “The choice is yours!”

Here is an article from Hearing Australia on the safe use of headphones.


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