Earphones vs. Headphones: Which Causes More Damage to Your Ears?

Old Woman Wearing A Hearing AidAging isn’t the only cause of hearing loss. The nature of your surroundings and activities can cause hearing loss, especially if there’s a lot of noise. But nowadays, people always have something in or over their ears.

Headphones and earphones make noise closer to human ears, most of the time for extended periods. This can cause noise-induced hearing loss which can happen to anyone regardless of age, says Otofonix.com. And this can happen on one ear or both, and temporarily or permanently.

How Noise Damages the Ears

When any level of noise travels to the ears, hair cells in the inner ear receive them. These hair cells that wave back and forth convert noise into messages sent to the brain. The brain then interprets the messages to understand and identify the noise.

If loud noises enter the ear, these hair cells can bend and break. This will lessen the nerve fibers that send messages to the brain. In the end, this will cause hearing loss. The decibels and the length of exposure time determine the damage caused by noise.

Sounds at 85 dB and below are safe. Examples of noises within this limit are heavy traffic, a vacuum cleaner, and a crowded restaurant.

How Loud Is Too Loud

Because earphones are hooked inside your ear, they can cause more damage than headphones. When you play music at the same volume, earphones can play them seven to nine levels higher than headphones.

There are two kinds of headphones used to enjoy music without harming your ears: noise canceling and noise isolating headphones. Both shield the ears from different frequencies of sound that can create unpleasant noise. They can be a bit pricey, so it’s best to follow these two rules of thumb.

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Health experts made a 60/60 rule of thumb where you should listen to music at 60 dB for 60 minutes. Another rule of thumb is if you can’t hear anything around you, you’re playing your music too loud.

Whether you prefer one device to the other, it’s best to observe safety nets to protect your ears from damage. Practicing this can save you in the long run so you can keep enjoying music.