Every headphones user reached a point where he thought about how safe it is to use them. Are over ear headphones bad for you? Probably, you’ve listened to music for too long and got worried. Or, you’ve heard one of those guys that preach how bad headphones are for you.
Either way, it’s a good question to ask. Here’s the thing. The fact that you are asking the question means you already know the answer.
Anything can be bad for you if you use it too much, moderation is the way to go.
So, basically, the question is, how to use your headphones? There are some rules to follow, let’s get into it.
Harmful effects of headphones
First of all, let’s not be one of those guys that condemn technology. Headphones are a good device and they have a serious function. I think of them as a tool.
The problem is not the headphones, people who overdo stuff are. As I said, this applies to anything in life, you must know when to stop.
What do I mean by overdoing it? Well, there are two ways headphones can be bad for you. Listening for a long period of time and listening while the volume is too loud.
Now, some say that the amount of time only matters if you’re using the headphones with the volume too loud. I don’t think this is always the case, we’ll see about that in a minute.
When you expose your ears to loud noises, there is a risk that your hearing may be damaged. The higher the decibels, the shorter the amount of time it takes to damage your inner ear.
You may have noticed that some smartphones warn you that increasing the sound volume may be bad for you. Either by a notification or by the status bar changing colors. Many users ignore this warning.
Actually, that warning is a way for the company to protect itself legally. In case you decide to sue the company if you get noise-induced hearing loss.
Whatever the reason is for the company warning you, don’t ignore that warning. You must be asking yourself, for how long can I listen to loud music?
Well, it depends on how high the volume is. Anything above 60% will damage your inner ear in under an hour. I would say 80% for 30 minutes is too much.
What happens is, when the decibels are too high, the hair tissues in your inner ear get hurt. The inner ear is used for transmitting sounds to the brain. Hurting your inner ear badly results in noise-induced hearing loss or NIHL.
So, can you use your headphones for a long period of time with quiet sound volume? The thing is, your inner ear may not get hurt but there’s still pressure on your ears.
You may have noticed that after using your headphones for 3 hours, your ears hurt. Sometimes you even get a mild headache. Of course, with comfortable earphones, you can use them for a long amount of time.
Don’t think that earbuds are any different. They are just as bad for you, in fact, they are worse. The same rules apply for earbuds, they can cause the same damage as headphones can.
However, earbuds are worse at noise-canceling. That means that you’ll need to raise the volume a lot more often. So, you’ll need to use the earbuds less than you’ll use the headphones.
Let’s find out how long can you listen to headphones, precisely.
How to use earphones without damaging ears
Doctors thought about it, did some tests, found the answer. They concluded that the best way to use your headphones is 60% volume for 60 minutes top. After that, rest at least 2 hours. (Source)
As I said, raising the volume means listening in shorter periods. You do the math.
Now that we gotten that over with, you may be thinking, what about sleeping?
Is it bad to sleep with headphones in
You may be one of those people that like to fall asleep with headphones in. I must admit, going to sleep with headphones in can be an amazing experience. Some make this a routine.
However, that may be bad for you. Basically, the same rules apply for sleeping too. Loud sounds can damage your inner ear when you’re sleeping too. It’s not like it’s immune to it when the body is asleep.
So, is listening to really quiet music when you’re sleeping bad for you?
Essentially, it’s not. The music won’t hurt your inner ear while you’re sleeping, assuming that you don’t sleep for more than 10 hours.
However, when you sleep, you roll around, and that puts pressure on your ear. This can hurt your ears too. You’ll wake up feeling uncomfortable.
Sleeping with your over ear headphones only works if you sleep with your face looking upwards. If you turn around a lot in your sleep, I don’t recommend sleeping with headphones in.
It’s the same with earbuds too. Also, earbuds can get out of your ear and hurt you somewhere else. You may break them too.
However, manufacturers made headphones designed specifically for sleeping. So, if you’re a fan, you can get one. Keep in mind, that it’s not safe when your brain is unaware of outside noises.
Let’s see a headphone for sleeping model.
Safest headphones for your ears during sleep
The SleepPhones AcousticSheep Wireless are great headphones for sleeping, but they are quite expensive.
They give off a really good feeling that will make you sleep better. In addition, these are wireless headphones, you don’t have to worry about your phone too. Also, they have an interesting design.
Check them out, see if you like it.