Do Earphones Damage Ears?


Ruler's of Penmai
Jul 5, 2011
Earphones might prove dangerous when misused.
Whether you enjoy music at home or on the go, it's more than likely you use headphones or earphones to listen to your tunes. Listening to music with these accessories will not cause any serious damage to your ears, as long as you keep your music player's volume in check. When you don't follow basic safety precautions as you use your earphones when listening to music, you may end up with some form of ear damage that could ultimately lead to permanent hearing loss. According to a 2008 article in Time, more than 30 percent of Americans who were older than 20 years of age had lost some high-frequency hearing.

Negative Effects of MP3 Player Earbuds
Depending on the MP3 player, one way you can listen to the audio coming from your audio device is through earbuds. While earbuds are convenient and portable, they also pose significantly more risk to your ears than headphones, as they nestle in much closer to the eardrums and amplify the volume at a higher level.

According to, when earbuds are placed in the ear, normal levels of music are amplified by up to 9 decibels. This is a significant increase, especially since 85-decibel audio can begin causing ear problems.

Negative Effects of MP3 Player Background Noise
The damaging effects of earbud use are magnified by the fact that it can be difficult to drown out background noise from a public place or moving vehicle when listening to music. Thus, you may be tempted to turn up the volume to be able to hear the music over the din, thus posing even more danger to your ears in the long run.

Negative Effects of Lengthy Listening
Even if the volume is turned down on an MP3 player, hearing loss can still occur due to lengthy listening times. You may enjoy listening to music or podcasts on your way to work, which could mean a one- to two-hour commute on a train or subway. According to, listening to 90 minutes of audio at a time at 80 percent volume is the limit for safe listening---even then, hearing loss might still become an issue for listeners with sensitive ears.

Negative Effects of MP3 Player Battery Life
With the advent of rechargeable batteries replacing regular AA batteries, you can now listen to your MP3 player for hours at a time. suggests using a 60-60 rule, which involves listening to music at 60 percent volume for only 60 minutes at a time, regardless of how long the battery lasts. This can also save the battery life of your MP3 player, since multiple charging sessions after draining the battery, in addition to listening at high volumes, can reduce battery life over the long haul.

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