AudioAudio: Guides

Can Headphones Cause Hearing Loss

can headphones cause hearing loss

You are aware that listening to loud music might harm your ears. But how loud can you turn up the volume of your headphones before the risk of hearing loss increases?

A good set of headphones and a solid playlist might serve as the ultimate focus tool for simple pleasure. However, it points out that the same thing you resort to headphones for “the sound” may be the thing that keeps you from hearing in the future.

There has always been a danger of noise-induced hearing loss in some occupations, such as the armed services and construction. Nearly one in four US individuals now exhibit symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss, and this number is rising among young people.

In this article, the main topic that will be discussed is: can headphones cause hearing loss? We will also look at simple measures to protect your hearing while still enjoying music through your favorite headphones.

Can Headphones Cause Hearing Loss

The World Health Organization (WHO) disclosed some concerning news about hearing loss. It is estimated that 1.1 billion young individuals are in danger of potentially permanent hearing damage as a result of excessive noise pollution.

According to WHO, noise-induced hearing loss is caused either by:

  • Eight hours of continuous exposure to moderately strong noise – 85 dB.
  • Short-term loud noise exposure – 15 minutes of listening to sounds exceeding 100 dB.

So why are youngsters so vulnerable to noise-induced hearing loss? While the WHO lists risk factors such as pubs, clubs, and music venues as causes of hearing impairment, the most common concern is listening to loud music with earbuds on a smart device.

So, in light of these facts, the simple answer is yes, headphones can cause hearing loss. It can be permanent if you are not careful. But how does it happen? Read on to find out!

How Do Headphones Cause Hearing Loss?

Although your ear is a complex mechanism, the sound is produced as a sensory reaction in your brain as a result of the vibrating of small hairs within a chamber in the inner ear. Friction between different surfaces produces air movement, which forces these hairs to vibrate in various ways, producing varied sounds.

Loud music amplifies the power of these vibrations. If the vibrations are too strong for too long, the hairs cannot handle the load and cease operating correctly. Two things can happen based on how much you listened to music and how loud it was.

  • The hairs might be damaged and lose sensitivity, but they can regenerate with time. That’s why you might find it extremely difficult to hear when exiting a noisy environment, but your hearing will gradually return to normal. The hairs are overburdened, but they will recover in time.
  • If too much harm is caused, which can be the result of loud and constant music on your headphones, the hairs are well beyond restoration. They can lose their capacity to vibrate with noise and become worthless. This is when we suffer from noise-induced hearing loss. Your hearing is permanently damaged.

Next, we look at the signs of hearing loss.

Signs of Hearing Loss

If you or your kid exhibits any of the following symptoms, get medical attention immediately:

  • In the ear, there is ringing, roaring, hissing, or buzzing.
  • Trouble comprehending speech in loud or acoustically bad environments.
  • Sounds that are muffled and the sensation that your ear is clogged.
  • Listening to the radio or television at a larger quantity than usual.

Regrettably, the sort of hearing loss induced by excessive exposure to extremely loud noise is permanent. Thus, avoidance is essential.

Hearing aids and implants can assist in amplifying sounds and trying to make them easier to listen to, but they only compensate for damaged or non-working components of the ear. So what can you do to avoid this situation?

How to Prevent Hearing Loss Using Headphones?

When you are worried about hearing problems, you may take a few easy precautions to lessen your risk of hearing loss from headphones.

1. Turn Down the Volume

It’s really that simple: just turn down the volume on your headphones or earbuds.

Turning down the level on your gadgets is the single most important step you can make to safeguard your hearing.

Noise-induced hearing loss is generally caused by exposure to extremely loud noise. You can protect your hearing by limiting your exposure.

2. Set Controls on Phones

Many smartphones enable you to set a max capacity so that you don’t mistakenly exceed a safe level.

Search for this function in the settings menu, or seek it up online if you can’t locate it. An android user can simply press the volume up and down button and open the volume settings as shown below. Make sure the music limit is not in the red zone. Anything below the red zone is safe.

volume on phone

This is an excellent approach for parents to control how their child listens to music in general.

3. Use Noise-Canceling Headphones

Noise-canceling headphones are all the fad nowadays. Most individuals use headphones at maximum volume to “drown out” other sounds. Noise-canceling headphones are an excellent method to reduce the volume on your gadgets while also protecting your ears.

These headphones shut out extraneous noise, allowing you to listen to music or watch movies at a reduced volume without being distracted.

4. Use Over-the-Ear Models

Over-the-ear headphones are usually recommended by audiologists and otologists over in-ear or earbud-style devices.

Over-the-ear headphones enhance the space between your eardrums and the speakers, reducing the possibility of hearing loss.

5. Take Listening Breaks

If either of the above options is not available to you, taking breaks from headphones can help avoid headphone-induced hearing loss.

The longer you listen to loud sounds, the more likely it is that your ears will be damaged. Consider taking a 5-minute or 10-minute break every 30 minutes or every 60 minutes.

Adopt the 60/60 rule to be extra safe: Hear at 60 percent of your device’s max volume for 60 min, and afterwards, take a rest.

Earbuds Are Especially Dangerous

Most folks persist in using wireless earbuds despite the harmful consequences because they find them to be convenient. The ability to listen to music or other sounds without bothering those around you is one of the key reasons why people wear earbuds.

Background noise can be reduced by wearing headphones. This implies that you might be able to identify specific instruments and pick out subtleties in the song.

However, earbuds are especially hazardous to your hearing. This is due to the speaker’s proximity to your eardrum. Furthermore, the wireless earbuds are often of lesser quality, imposing an increase in volume to hear the bass and make out the lyrics above the background sound.


Losing your sense of hearing from headphones and earbuds is a real thing. However, it is simple to avoid hearing impairment from headphone usage.

If you don’t want to permanently harm your hearing, all you have to do is to adopt the above prevention steps to make wise decisions and safeguard your ears.

Being aware is a tremendous tool. If you are always thinking about safe methods to appreciate music, you will avoid a lot of harm to your senses.

About author

A finance major with a passion for all things tech, Uneeb loves to write about everything from hardware to games (his favorite genre being FPS). When not writing, he can be seen in his natural habitat reading, studying investments, or watching Formula 1.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *