Is it true that headphones spoil your hearing? Doctors answer

Are Bluetooth – headphones harmful? While trying to find an answer to this question, we completely forgot about another – are headphones in principle harmful? Indeed, in the search for a carcinogenic nature Bluetooth – radiation and its negative effect on the brain, the topic of deafness for some reason receded not even into the background, but into the background. But the music itself, which affects our hearing, can be much more dangerous than fictional radiation, provoking partial or complete hearing loss. We figure out where the truth is and how to protect your hearing, keeping it healthy.

On-ear headphones

Headphones are said to be harmful. But is it really so?

In recent years, hearing impairment, which in principle was a disease of the elderly, has become much younger. If earlier it was found mainly among people aged 50-60 years, coming across among young people only occasionally, then over the past five years the number of patients aged 15 to 35 years old who need hearing aids has grown by a third.

Headphone Hearing Loss


It doesn't matter if you have wired or wireless headphones – the sound they make can cause hearing loss

Most often, complete or partial hearing loss is a chronic condition. It can be either congenital or acquired due to some other disease such as cancer or diabetes. In second place in terms of prevalence is hearing loss as a result of professional activities. People who work in noisy workshops begin to hear worse and worse over time. Well, and in third place in the ranking of the most popular causes of hearing impairment are headphones.

Experts at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States conducted a large-scale study involving more than 3,500 volunteers, the goal of which was to find out how headphones affect human hearing. Its violations were found in a quarter of the respondents, while the disorder was manifested more often in men than in women. The share of the deaf among young people (category 20-29 years old) was quite high – almost 20%. Almost all of them admitted that they love listening to music at high volumes. And the type of headphones they use doesn't matter. These could be plugs and ordinary headphones.

Which headphones are more harmful

Headphone comparison

It turns out that the type of headphones really affects the development of deafness.

By the way, here is the rating of the earbuds according to the intensity of damage they cause to your hearing (from most to least):

  • Earbuds. These are headphones that fit directly into the ear canal, blocking the passage of external noise using silicone seals called ear pads. They put the greatest strain on the hearing and the nervous system.
  • In-ear headphones. These are the headphones that fit into the auricle, but do not penetrate into the ear canal. Before the advent of plugs, they were considered the most harmful, because they transmit a sound signal directly to the ear, exerting a tangible load on the hearing organs.
  • On-ear headphones. These are the headphones that have two speakers connected to each other by a semicircular bow that holds the headphones on the head. Therefore, in English they are called headphones. In addition to the fact that they do not have absolute noise isolation, the sound from them first collides with the auricle and, as it were, dissipates, and only then passes into the ear canal.

What happens if you listen to music on headphones at maximum volume

Music in headphones

The louder the music in your headphones, the worse your hearing

It is indicative that people with hearing impairments independently provoke its further deterioration. The fact is that hearing problems prevent people from hearing sounds at frequencies of 3, 4 and 5 kHz at a volume of 15 dB. To hear them, you need to make the sound louder. But the louder the sound, the sooner the hearing will degrade. It turns out a vicious circle, from which you can no longer get out, especially if you are used to listening to music, but louder.

High volume is not a very universal indicator, which for many is just an empty characteristic. And, meanwhile, hearing impairment can lead to prolonged listening to music at 65 dB. This is roughly the level of a loud conversation. But since most people prefer to increase the playback volume up to 85 dB, it is not surprising that music lovers lose hearing much faster than those who do not listen to music or listen, but at relatively safe volume levels.

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