BY KILEY FARRELL // MARCH 29, 2015 //

When most people think of unhealthy living, they picture fast food and sitting around on a coach. But few think about the negative impact technology has on our health.

For example, when I step out the door to walk to class, I automatically put my headphones in and crank up the volume to block out background noises. But according to research out of Massachusetts Eye and Ear, the ear buds on headphones have the ability, over time, to cause hearing loss or ringing in the ears when volume is too high.

PHOTO BY PHILIPPE PUT, Creative Commons
PHOTO BY PHILIPPE PUT, Creative Commons

There’s also something now called “computer vision syndrome,” which leads to burning and irritation of the eyes from staring at a computer screen for long periods of time. We become so interested and focused on what we’re reading, typing or even looking at we often forget to blink! That leads to dry eyes, which cause irritation.

Many eye care specialists say that spending hours on a computer screen can take a negative toll on one’s vision, especially in the long run. For example, it can result in straining the muscles in your eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and eye fatigue.

However, there are ways you can prevent all of this from happening. An obvious but helpful solution would be wearing prescription glasses during computer use, adjusting your computer’s contrast so the lighting isn’t so bright, and making sure to take breaks from your computer or any screen you’re staring at. Try two to three minutes for each half-hour on a screen, and 10- to 15-minute breaks for every hour on a screen.

Today’s college students have only known a world with computers and digital devices. How we continue to use these tools, and the technologies of tomorrow, can influence our health just as profoundly as all those late-night pizza orders.

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