Technology-Related Health Risks
If you’re like many people, technology is a big part of your life. Every day, you use a computer for eight hours or more at work, then go home and log on again for entertainment or other purposes. You likely listen to music on your iPod during your workout or commute. You might send numerous text messages to stay in contact with your family and friends. And, you probably find yourself checking your email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social networking accounts … well, constantly.
In many ways, the widespread use of technology has made life easier and more enjoyable. However, it has also introduced some new health risks. Everyone seems to have an opinion on this topic, and rumors abound. Sometimes, it’s difficult to separate fact from fiction. Here’s what you should know:
- Listening to music through earbuds can impair your hearing. Loud sounds can cause irreversible damage to the delicate hair cells in the inner ear, which can result in permanent hearing loss and ringing in the ears. To help protect your hearing, you can wear noise-cancelling headphones, which reduce background noise, and thus the need to crank up the volume. Also, follow the “60/60” rule: Keep the volume below 60 percent, and limit your listening to 60 minutes per day.
- Laptop use can have a negative effect on male reproductive health. Some laptop computers emit excessive heat as well as radio-frequency electromagnetic waves. When held on a man’s lap, a computer can increase the temperature of his sperm by up to four degrees, which can compromise both its motility and quality. While working on a laptop, it’s best to place it on a desk or table.
- Typing and texting can cause hand pain. But, contrary to popular belief, carpal tunnel syndrome – a condition in which excessive pressure on the nerves in the hand can lead to numbness, pain, and loss of function – has not been proven to be associated with typing or texting. To help prevent and alleviate hand pain while typing, you should always maintain good posture. You can also try using an ergonomically designed keyboard and mouse.
- Staring at a computer screen for a long period of time can irritate your eyes. However, there is no evidence that damage will occur to the lens, retina, optic nerve, or any other internal aspect. To prevent eyestrain and enhance your comfort while working at a computer, it’s advisable to take regular breaks and look away from the screen periodically throughout the day.
- Cells phones release radiofrequency energy, which is a type of electromagnetic radiation. While certain forms of radiation have been linked to cancer, and research continues on the type of radiation emitted by cell phones, it is believed by most experts to be safe.
If you have questions about this or any other health-related topic, or if you would like to see a doctor, please contact or visit South Tampa Immediate Care. Our walk-in clinic is conveniently located on South Howard Avenue in Tampa, FL.