Hearing Loss by Headphones: 3 Ways to Protect Your Ears - Hear More Associates


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Most people have a pair of headphones or earbuds to drown out the noise of their surroundings. Aside from allowing them to enjoy good music, it also prevents them from hearing loud noises that can distract them from their tasks. However, if you’re not careful about your listening habits, using headphones or earphones can lead to noise-induced hearing loss.

A pair of headphones can help you escape the noise of reality, whether you’re waiting for your coffee or dining by yourself at a restaurant. You can listen to your favorite artist’s albums to keep you motivated at work or listen to a podcast about interesting news and other topics. Very few people think they will experience hearing loss due to wearing headphones, but unfortunately, it’s a staggering reality. Over one in four adults in the US experience signs of noise-induced hearing loss. For this reason, you need to develop healthier listening habits to care for your hearing.

Habits to help care for your hearing 

We’re not telling you to stop wearing your headphones—that would be a much shorter article that most people will vehemently disagree with. Instead, we’re giving you a chance to adjust your listening habits to protect your hearing as much as possible. This can help you strike a balance of enjoying the pleasure of listening through headphones without damaging your hearing.

In this article, we’ll share three ways you can protect your hearing while wearing headphones.

Stick to headphones over earbuds

Headphones are bulkier than portable earbuds that can comfortably fit in your pocket. However, headphones provide a longer distance between sounds and your eardrums, giving them a crucial advantage over earbuds on how they can affect your hearing. This minimal change in design may have some drawbacks in listening quality and portability, but it inflicts less damage to your ears in the long term.

Purchase noise-canceling headphones

Most people prefer earbuds over headphones because they provide higher quality audio. This is because the buds’ silicone or hard plastic can block most of the noise around you. In contrast, typical headphone designs allow sound to escape freely and even let noise slip in. Thankfully, you don’t have to blast the volume just to hear better through headphones. Instead, you can purchase noise-canceling headphones that are specifically designed to seal your ear from external sounds. These products come in passive and active models that directly or indirectly cancel out external noise, improving your listening experience.

Adjust your listening habits

If you don’t want to buy a new pair of headphones, you can change your listening habits instead. Taking regular breaks from wearing headphones will drastically lower your chances of getting headphone-induced hearing loss. For every 30 minutes of listening through your headphones or earbuds, take 5 to 10-minute breaks. Additionally, you can set a volume limit on your device to avoid putting too much strain on your eardrums. Setting it at 65% volume is the safest option—this minimizes the risk of long-term exposure to loud noise.


There’s nothing inherently wrong with using headphones, especially if you want to stay entertained during a long commute or plane ride. However, being mindful of how it can potentially harm your hearing and developing healthier listening habits can go a long way in preventing long-term damage. 

If you need a hearing specialist in Massachusetts, our team at Hear More Associates is ready to help. We care for our patients by making sure that they can catch hearing loss early with proper preventive measures. Schedule an appointment by contacting us at (781) 863-8282.

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