Music with headphones: how to protect your hearing (Topic)

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Music with headphones: how to protect your hearing


Many have heard stories of how professional musicians, after many years of work, began to experience hearing problems. Genesis soloist Phil Collins, famous rocker Ozzy Osbourne, USA pop stars Dima Bilan and Bari Alibasov - all of them and many others felt the consequences of active creative activity.

For some reason, we don’t think that something like this can happen to us. Of course, if your profession involves music or involves working in a noisy environment, the risk of hearing damage is much higher. However, in addition to them, all those who do not part with headphones are at risk.

Favorite music can harm your hearing due to high decibels (volume level) and duration of listening. Any noise between 85 and 90 decibels is bad for the human hearing system. Its negative effect is amplified at times if the music is played continuously for several hours.

What do doctors think

European experts adhere to the 60/60 rule and recommend listening to music no more than 60 minutes per day at a volume no more than 60% of the maximum possible. Experts at Harvard Medical School in the USA have a slightly different opinion. They believe that it is perfectly safe to listen to music in any amount if its volume does not exceed 50% of the maximum. As for loud music (80% of the maximum or more), listening to it should be limited to 90 minutes a day. The highest possible volume will cause permanent hearing damage within 5 minutes.

USA doctors are more inclined towards European standards and do not recommend exceeding the loudness threshold of 70%.

But how to determine this threshold? After all, different devices have different volumes, not to mention the fact that different types of headphones have their own special characteristics. Where is this optimal 60-70%?

Easy ways to find out if your headphones are playing too loud

Measuring instruments that will accurately calculate the number of decibels are not necessary, but very desirable if you already experience hearing problems or are seriously afraid of damaging it. The methods presented below are very subjective and do not pretend to be highly accurate, but they will give you a good idea of how much you harm your health and disturb others.

  • Put on your headphones and turn on the music. Can you hear what's going on around? Can you hear conversations and car noise? If not, then the volume should definitely be turned down. This is a conditional indicator, but it should be observed at least for safety reasons, otherwise if a concert is playing in your ears and a car is rushing from behind, the consequences can be sad.
  • Play music at the volume you usually listen to, and put the headphones aside at arm's length. Can you hear sounds coming from them? If you can barely make out them, that's okay. But if you can hear them clearly and even make out the lyrics in the song, this volume is not safe.
  • Put on your headphones and turn on the music. Ask someone to sit next to you and tell them how much they hear your music. It's okay if the sounds barely reach the person sitting next to you.

How to protect your health without denying yourself pleasure?

To limit the volume of your music, you can use the software settings of your audio players. All modern players for Android and iOS warn the user about potential harm when trying to turn the sound to the maximum.

In addition, there are special applications such as Volume Limiter ( Android ) or Volume Sanity ( iOS ). They will come in handy if you realize that you have poor control over your desire to turn up the volume. Set a threshold in the application settings, and it will not allow you to exceed it.

What should children do?

For children, there are special headphones with a maximum volume of 90 dB. Of course, even such a loudness can harm a child's natural hearing aids, but how long he will listen to music in these headphones depends on his daily activity and upbringing.


At what volume to listen to music is your choice. But do not forget that damaged auditory receptors are not restored. Tinnitus and ringing in your ears, dizziness and nausea are the first signs that you have gone overboard with decibels.

If hearing impairment is added to them, you have a direct road to a doctor. Damage to the auditory system is usually irreversible. In such a situation, it would be good to keep what is left. And this, of course, is the case when it is easier to prevent trouble than to deal with the consequences.

The Topic of Article: Music with headphones: how to protect your hearing.
Author: Jake Pinkman