Earpiece is a wireless or bluetooth is a (short-range) wireless standard, which has been improved over the years. Earpiece is a method for data communication that uses short-range radio links or cables between computers and their connected units. Earpiece have become very popular and some people wear it all day long on their ear, these people also hold their cell phone in their pockets or in a belt clipper and by that expose themselves to electromagnetic radiation all day long. This paper seeks to investigate the awareness and usage level of earpiece among secondary school students with the health implications. Students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University high school were purposively selected numbering about 129 for this study. Questionnaires were administered to them. Responses got show that the usage of earpiece among the students are high and that they are largely unaware of the health implications therein. Based on the response, the researcher concluded that earpiece can cause grave damage to the ear of users and even expose them to health hazards like accident hence the need for urgent attention. He therefore recommended that parents, teachers, guardians and even the students themselves must start orienting each other on the need to minimize earpiece usage. He also suggested that punitive measures should be adopted in dissuading usage among adolescents.
Keywords: Earphone, Usage, Secondary School, Bluetooth, Health
The ear is a very sensitive and important organ of the human body that is very important for man’s survival. It is very crucial for communication and any damage to the ear could set a man’s life entirely backwards. With the arrival of music gadgets and mobile phones, earpiece was introduced for people to enjoy music, see movies or discuss with pears over the phone without drawing attention to them or constitute nuisance. However, the usage of this earpiece is clearly something that comes with a warning that people should be careful with the rate of usage and volume of usage to avoid health challenges arising thereof. This warning has not deterred those who abuse the use and for sure, the implications has being consumerate hence this study earpiece usage and awareness of health implications among Unizik high school students.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The auditory system is composed of anatomic elements such as ligaments, tendons, muscles, ossicles, sensory cells and neurons, and it can suffer interference from intrinsic or extrinsic factors such as noise (Carter, William, Black and Bundy, 2014). Noise can be defined as an undesirable sound and its perception could be different depending on the listener. Noise intensity, exposure time and physical characteristics will determine how much it can damage hearing health (Willaims et al, 2014). The intensity, the kind of noise, its duration and quality are determining in the hearing alteration acquisition process (Fritsch, Brown, Shwela and Kephelopoulos (2011).
There is a growing concern regarding the hearing health of the youth, as the indiscriminate exposure to places where there is great noise intensity and the use of portable equipment like earphones could, in a short or long term, bring irreversible damage to the auditory system. Exposure to high level intensity noises can trigger many different symptoms such as: intolerance to intense sounds, dizziness, otalgy (or earache), trouble understanding or hearing words, ringing in the ear and loss of hearing. Besides hearing impairment, there is extra-hearing damage as: sleep disturbances, cardiovascular disorder, stress, fatigue, tension, irritability, inattention, tiredness, nervousness, headaches and high blood pressure.
The use of earphones by young people, as well as the noisy environments attended by them is already considered public health hazard since they jeopardize auditory health. In places visited often by youth like bars, night clubs, dance clubs, gyms, soccer stadiums among others, the intensity of sound is normally greater than a normal noise the ear should carry and individual portable equipment like earphones can be even greater (Gulliver and Williams, 2013).
Hearing problems are no longer a concern only among the elderly, they’ve become a part in the lives of many young people who had portable amplifying equipment for long periods of time in their ears, generally with the volume turned up to high intensity in an attempt to isolate themselves or compete with external noise. Another important factor that triggers hearing alterations is the type of earphones used, once the in-the-ear phones conduct the sound pressure into the middle ear and the inner ear without any protection. Let’s not forget that the human auditory system has limits (up to eight hours of exposure a day to; the need for acoustic rest once the hair cells in the ear are sensitive) which need to be respected in order to avoid future problems (Williams, 2014).
The rate of hearing loss experienced among youths in Nigeria today is quite alarming and most can be significantly linked to earpiece usage when thoroughly investigated judging from the frequency at which they use earpiece.
Hearing loss caused by the constant use of earphones have similar characteristics to the one caused by occupational exposure to noise, in other words, the hearing loss is slow, progressive, irreversible, the sensorineural kind, bilateral, initially attacks the higher frequencies, and later the other frequencies (Keith, 2011). In recognition of the variety of problems facing ear piece usage among the youths, the researcher has set out on this research to identify the dangers of earpiece usage and proffer solutions.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The coming of mobile phones into Nigeria has significantly brought about a lot of development and accessibility to globalization for citizens of the country. With an increasing availability and demand for mobile phones and its movie and music capabilities, the demand for earpiece has increased as well especially among the youths. Concerns are on the rise among the elderly and health practitioners who are disturbed over the dangers of this earpiece usage among adolescents and youths. This is as they argue that the negatives are way more than the positives which are just simply to have a full and personalized enjoyment of one’s music and videos without necessary constituting nuisance to others. With an increasing rate of cancers, deaths, accidents, hearing loss, etc occasioned by this earpiece usage, the concern therefore necessitated that a research into the use of earpiece and its health implications be carried out.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of the study is earpiece usage and awareness of health implications among UNIZIK high school students. The specific objectives are:
- To identify if people use earpiece.
- To examine the health implications of earpiece use among secondary school students.
- To identify how to curb the menace of earpiece usage among secondary school students.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- Do people use earpiece?
- What are the health implications of earpiece usage among Anambra State Secondary School Students?
- In what ways can the menace of earpiece usage be curbed among secondary school students in Anambra State?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
This study will establish the degree of earpiece usage among UNIZIK high school students.
The study at the end of this research will help in identifying the positive and negative effects of earpiece usage on the student and the extent it has affected them. It will also orient them on the dangers of this act.
It will give parents, guardians, teachers and education regulatory bodies clue on how to supervise earpiece usage among the secondary school students.
The research work would be useful for academic purposes as well. Scholars, students and agencies will reference this work in further studies. The study will also open up topics for further research.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research work looks at the way secondary school students in Anambra state use earpiece and how it affects them with emphasis on Nnamdi Azikiwe University High School students.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Earpiece: This is an electro-acoustic transducer for converting electric signals into sounds; it is held over or inserted into the ear, earphone; headphone; phone.
Awareness: This is having knowledge of; consciousness and knowing of an existing situation or thing.
Health Implications: This happens when an individual falls short of or gains due to an activity of; “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
Usage: The act of using an object, an idea or a place and the implications/uility derived from it.