Can Ear Buds Damage Your Hearing?

Can Ear Buds Damage Your Hearing?

Ear buds are convenient, inexpensive, and ubiquitous: everywhere you look you can see a child, teen or adult using ear buds to privately listen to music or talk on the phone. They are a great way to listen to your own music or entertainment wherever you are.

These little speakers could be damaging your hearing, however. They are essentially tiny speakers in your ears, and when the volume goes up, the noise levels can cause irreversible hearing loss.  Recent studies have shown that 1 in 5 teenagers may already suffer from hearing loss, which is attributed to the widespread use of ear buds.

There are two causes of noise-induced hearing loss: sudden loud noises such as an explosion or a gunshot; or ongoing exposure, such as with loud music or noise in a factory setting. Many children and teens may wear ear buds for hours at a time every day with music playing at high levels.

Since ear buds rest inside of your ear canal, the audio signal is very close to your inner ear, which can boost the noise level by as much as nine decibels. Sound levels more than 85 decibels can result in hearing loss, so this extra nine decibels may push the sound over that limit and begin to damage hearing.

Here are a few ways to guard your hearing while still enjoying your favorite music or entertainment

  • Get tight-fitting earbuds that block out background noise effectively by sealing into your ear. That way you’ll be less tempted to turn up the volume to compensate for other noise.
  • You can even find “custom” ear buds that are made to fit in your ear canal—they have great sound quality and are the best for blocking out background noises.
  • Tell the children and teenagers in your life this information: hearing loss is irreversible, so knowledge is power.
  • Always try to keep the volume level below 60% and listen to earbuds for no more than an hour per day.
  • Wear larger over-the-ear (“earmuff”) earphones with noise-cancelling technology.

Los Gatos Audiology is here to help you protect your hearing and your health. Call today and come in for your yearly hearing exam so you can stay ahead of the curve and protect your hearing, your brain and your health.

We’ve served San Jose and the Bay Area for over 40 years, providing the right solution for Your Life. Your Style.

Los Gatos Audiology 430 Monterey Ave, Ste. 3, Los Gatos, CA 95030

For an appointment please call (408) 354-1312 or visit

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