Can Headphones/Earbuds Damage Your Hearing?

Your whole life you have been listening to music through headphones or earbuds, not really knowing the actual consequences or harms they cause towards your ears. I like to listen to my music very loud, whether I am at the gym or even just walking from class to class with my earbuds in. Recently my ears have been very sensitive to the level of noise I have been listening to my music at. Which brings me to the reason why I chose this topic, to see if there is a possible correlation here.

According to”The Huffington Post¬†headphones are not nearly as damaging to the ears as earbuds.”Everyone who can hear has eardrums and by putting this loud music directly into your ears it vibrates the eardrum which ends up damaging areas of the ear that transfer the sound to your brain. Loss of hearing commonly happens when the hair cells in our ears are severely harmed.(Huffington,2013)

Simplified View of Ear Structure

This diagram of the ear above shows exactly how sound enters and travels through the ear. Also back on what I said before about the hair cells, as displayed in the picture, the most delicate and most inner part of the ear lays the hair cells.

Headphones compared to earbuds I would think are not as bad for your ears. Since headphones cancel out all outside sounds I would feel that that is beneficial to your ears since they will not have to put up with the outside sounds going on around you and the music that you are currently blasting. In comparison to the earbuds they are totally opposite of that, they are deeper in your ear and are not noise canceling.

In conclusion, listening to music at a loud volume can cause severe hearing damage. According to “The Huffington Post you should not listen music for more then 60 minutes at a time.” In other words I think that its all in moderation, if you are careful with the amount of loud music you listen to you should never come across obstacles such as hearing loss later down the line.

3 thoughts on “Can Headphones/Earbuds Damage Your Hearing?

  1. Anna Strahle

    My dad has always yelled at me over the years for listening to music too loud because it could damage my hearing. I would always agree with him, but never really follow through with my promise to turn it down, and continue to blast the headphones at full volume. Also, music has always been a part of my daily routine, and I spend a lot of time doing homework, walking, and exercising while listening to my favorite artists. The loudest an MP3 player can reach (what I listen to) is 105 decibel. The recommended level is only 85 decibels, which is 100 times less powerful than the 105. There is obviously a large difference, and many adults between the ages of 20-69 can no longer hear extremely high pitch sounds due to loud noises in their earlier years. Obviously, it would be a good idea for me to listen to my music at a much lower volume and even less frequently.

  2. Alexander Mark Schaefer

    Every time I listen to music it’s loud. I really didn’t think of the pros of wearing headphones over earbuds though. If i’m at the gym or in public I use my earbuds, and if i’m warming up or in my room I use my headphones. I always noticed the fact that my headphones are quieter than my earbuds. I believe that headphones are better for your ears after reading your study, because there’s no way that apple ear buds are louder than Beats. I’m going to look into this more to see how detrimental to my hearing wearing earbuds is.

  3. Katharine Marie Sayer

    Hey Jacob,
    If you’re anything like me, you always have your headphones in. In fact, I’ve been listening to music since 1:30 pm. That’s a good 2 1/2 hours, right? This post makes me acknowledge how loudly I actually play my music. Fortunately, I wear headphones rather than earbuds, and I never physically felt my eardrum vibrate before, but I can totally see how/why that can happen. I didn’t know the difference effects headphones vs earbuds actually had to ones ears. discusses signs that one might be running a risk of hearing loss. Check it out.

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