Are Earbuds Really Bad for Your Ears?

If you have ever removed your earphones only to hear ringing sounds, you know how scary it feels to think you might have damaged your ears forever. This is when you start to worry that the damage might be irreversible and your ears will never go back to normal again. So you begin to wonder if your earphones are to blame for what has happened – and then the ringing stops and you completely forget about it until it happens again and the cycle restarts.

Young woman listening to music on headphones

Getty Images / Moment / Fiordaliso

 

So are earbuds actually bad for you? The answer is more complicated than just a “yes” or “no”. First, we need to understand that the human ear can safely listen to sounds up to 70 decibels, and headphones can reach a volume of 115 dB. Listening to sounds above 70 dB for a prolonged period of time is what causes hearing damage – so what truly matters is how loud your music is and how much you listen to it.

 

Nowadays, most devices allow you to set a limit for the maximum volume you want your music to be played through your earbuds. Limiting the volume of the sounds coming out of your headphones or earbuds to 70 dB or lower is a great way to ensure your ears won’t suffer the consequences of your music-listening habits in the future.

 

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