4 Healthy Tech Habits You Can Take On Today
Advances in technology make the unimaginable real. Connecting with far away loved ones on Face Time or Skype. Navigating a road trip with Google Maps via GPS, instead of the TripTik you had to pick up at AAA beforehand. Even when we look at today's hearing aids, we see that they are no longer the clunky versions we remember. They are smaller and more discreet – and Bluetooth technology makes it possible to pair them with your smartphones and other personal devices.
As amazing as technology is, however, there are some pitfalls. We’ve all heard about the health risks associated with technology overuse, so adopting good tech habits is a very good idea. In recognition of Better Hearing & Speech Month this May, here are four ways you can make the most of technology in the safest way possible.
1. Turn down the volume
Music or TV doesn’t have to be blaring to be at a potentially unsafe noise level. The NIDCD recommends keeping sounds at 75 decibels or less, especially if your ears are exposed to them for long periods of time. For reference, a normal conversation is about 65 decibels, while an MP3 player at max volume is about 120 decibels.
If you can’t hear well when others seem to be comfortable (watching TV, for example), don’t turn up the volume - please have your hearing tested. The sooner you are diagnosed, the sooner you have access to a better quality of life.
2. Use technology to support healthy habits
Is there anything your smartphone can’t do? Healthy lifestyle apps such as MyFitnessPal, PEAR Personal Coach, Pocket Yoga and SleepCycle can help you count calories, track and motivate you to exercise, even monitor what quality of sleep you are getting.
3. Counteract “text neck”
The average human head weights more than ten pounds, but that’s nothing compared to the pressure it puts on the cervical spine when looking down at our personal devices. Bent over at 60 degrees, that weight increases to about 60 pounds – so it’s no wonder many of us suffer form “text neck.”
Photo courtesy of Dr. Ken Hansraj M.D.
There are some things you can do to help counteract this phenomenon:
Raise the phone to eye level whenever possible
Focus on standing up straight
Take stretch breaks
Change your position
Stay fit - to will help keep your neck strong and agile.
4. Resist the urge to text vs. talk
Texting is convenient, but it shouldn’t take the place of in person conversations. In children, technology overuse is particularly risky because it can rewrite pathways that are still developing. But even for adults, using technology to communicate can get in the way of personal relationships. Sure, communicating via Facebook message saves time, and it certainly has it’s place. But engaging in verbal communication with other people helps stay connected, engaged and emotionally healthy - at any age.