Do you ever ignore the ‘Listening to high volume can damage your ears’ warning before you turn up your music? I do, and believe me, it’s the worst thing to do. With maximum volume, I experienced two ear infections in one week, and temporary hearing loss was the cherry on top. However, I’ve often used earbuds to listen to music, and they easily make my ears ache! But which is more damaging to your ear? Headphones that cover your ears, or earbuds that go inside of your ear? Also, do they both have negative effects on your ears when used with maximum volume?
The way we use our earbuds and headphones matter, especially since we are in control of how loud or soft our volume should be. Listening to music is great, but the louder your listening device is, the more likely people will face hearing damage, mild or severe. According to Dr. David Schessel, the higher the volume level, measured in decibels (dB), the stronger likelihood for hearing damage. Data from Schessel explained that a typical volume for earbud usage is 85 db. However, listening to music for more than eight hours with a higher volume is dangerous.
Headphones vs. Earbuds
So, which gadget leads to higher exposure of hearing loss? Let’s just say headphones and earbuds both have advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a juxtaposition between the two.
Headphones are over the ear, like earmuffs. Meanwhile, earbuds go inside the ear. According to doctors, headphones are the better option compared to earbuds. Unlike headphones, earbuds easily travel through the ear canal and has a higher volume compared to regular headphones. According to HowStuffWorks, headphones and earphones have different sound qualities. While headphones have better sound quality, earbuds do not, which urges people to increase the volume of their devices. Therefore, people may be predisposed to hearing loss. Based on these facts, it can be concluded that earbuds are more likely to cause hearing damage than headphones. However, headphones still has the risk.
Null hypothesis: Earbuds & headphones have no impact on the ears when used with maximum volume.
Alternative hypothesis: Earbuds & headphones can damage your ears when used with maximum volume.
x-variable: Maximum volume of headphones/earbuds; y-variable: hearing damage of the ear
Reverse causation: Ruled out
Third confounding variables: Volume levels controlled by listener, type of electronic device
Maximum volume is dangerous to the ear, simple as that. Headphones and earbuds with different sound qualities forces the listener to increase the decibel levels for satisfaction. However, the higher the decibel level, the higher risk and exposure to hearing impairments. Reverse causation can be ruled out, but we can also consider what type of electronic device is used during headphone and earbud usage. Different types of devices have different volume levels. For instance, according to James E. Foy, MP3 players have more than 120 db.
So, what’s the best alternative? Headphones and earbuds are okay, but the best suggestion is to lower your volume down to prevent hearing loss. In other words, take the warning on your phone a little seriously.