6 Ways Your Phone is Hurting Your Health and Happiness

Back away from the smartphone. Research suggests that it could be doing more harm than good.

child-smartphone
Photo by Eric Fowke/Getty Images

More than 1.8 million smartphones are sold daily and the average American spends well over three hours a day on the phone. We stay plugged in while we eat, sleep, and even while we use the bathroom. It's safe to say we're addicted to our phones. But staying connected at all times is taking a serious toll.

Texting destroys your posture.

"Text neck" is a real condition, and it's not pretty. Peering down at your phone while you text, read, or surf the web puts an unnecessary strain on your spine, according to recent research published in the National Library of Medicine. When standing upright, the average head places 10 to 12 pounds of force on the cervical spine, but just a 15-degree tilt increases that weight to 27 pounds, and a 60-degree one to 60 pounds. The extra spine stress can lead to earlier wear and tear on your spine, and even require surgery in the worst cases.

Your phone could be making you sick.

If your phone is basically your fifth limb, even those who wash their hands regularly could be carrying around a lot more germs than they think. The Wall Street Journal conducted an experiment in which it tested eight random phones from its office. Every single one carried high levels of a bacteria suggesting fecal contamination. Many phones even carry more germs than a toilet seat.

Those earbuds might be damaging your hearing.

Turn down the volume. Thirty-five percent of adults and almost 60 percent of teenagers listen to personal music devices at loud volumes. When more than 30 percent of Americans older than 20 have suffered some loss of high-frequency hearing, those are scary numbers. Whether or not cranking the tunes will actually affect your hearing depends on the individual. Some people have more sensitive ears, and those earbud listeners could notice hearing loss after listening for only a couple hours each day, Time reports. While it all depends on your phone's volume and how you're personally affected by sound, the safest bet is to turn down the music.