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Are Headphones Safer Than Earphones?

Headphones are great tools for any work that calls for close audio monitoring.  But let’s face it; headphones are also great for listening to audio alone without disturbing people. It is literally a great escape for most of us.

Earphones also pretty much work the same way, except they are a lot smaller and more convenient to carry around as compared to headphones.

However,  it is not very good to be in headphones or earphones for long hours.

Therefore, this post will discuss which are safer between the two.

Without wasting too much time let’s get into it.

So, are headphones safer than earphones?

They both can damage your hearing when you play and listen to loud audio through them for long periods of time. Earphones are more likely to do this quicker because you literally have to plug them inside your ears. However, this is not to say you should play loud audio through headphones. They are just as dangerous.

Hearing loss

According to the CDC; Hearing loss is defined as a decrease in your ability to hear or understand speech and sounds around you.

Hearing loss can happen when any part of the ear or the nerves that carry information on sounds to your brain do not work in the way they’re supposed to.

In some cases, hearing loss can be a temporary thing. However, it can become permanent when vital parts of the ear have been damaged beyond repair. Furthermore, Damage to any part of the ear can lead to hearing loss.

Loud noise is particularly harmful to the inner ear also known as the cochlea.                                                                                           

A one-time exposure to extreme loud sound or listening to loud sounds for a long time can also cause hearing loss.

Loud noise can damage cells and membranes in the cochlea.

Listening to loud noise for a long time can overwork hair cells in the ear, which can cause these cells to die.

The hearing loss progresses as long as the exposure continues and theres a possibility that harmful effects could  continue even after noise exposure has stopped.

Damage to the inner ear or auditory neural system is generally permanent.

Which is why it’s best that you avoid playing and listening to loud music either through earphones or headphones.

If you opened this post to get an idea of which listening device is safer for louder noises then I’m sorry to tell that both can be damaging.

You’re better off listening at safe volume which I’m going to cover in my next point.

Recommended level

Most experts recommend keeping sound levels at somewhere between 60 and 85 decibels to minimize the damage your ears are exposed to.

This is why it’s key that, listening to music at around 100 decibels, should be restricted to only around 10 to 15 mins.

However people are different, and these general recommendations won’t work the best for everyone.. because the listening threshold is different for each and every individual.

Its therefore wise to discover and  know your safety levels so you protect your hearing.

Ear phones

By letting your earphones stay plugged in your ear for a long period, you run the risk of eventually harming yourself.

Most people find it shocking that loud and unsafe listening habits through earphones can lead to permanent or temporary hearing loss.

But this is the simple truth.

Your hair cells tend to lose their sensitivity because of vibration which bends them down a lot.

This can easily cause temporary or permanent hearing loss.

In addition, Earphones directly plugged into the ear canal basically block the passage of air.

This can lead to ear infections, furthermore, use of earphones leads to the growth of bacteria which stays on the earphones. This bacteria can infect the ear if the usage increases.

Therefore its wise to limit how loud you play your headphones and how much time you spend using them.


Many devices like headphones for example headphones, allow outputs to go much higher than 85 decibels (dBs), which can be a problem because many listeners, especially younger ones, don’t realize the long-term damaging effects.

So they go on blazing music at high volumes through their headphones which is not the way to go.

Like I earlier mentioned, playing earphones loud may lead to hearing loss because they are inserted inside your ear but it’s good to also understand that just because you wear headphones over your ears doesn’t mean they won’t do damage.

They are just as bad as earphones if used in an inappropriate manner.

Which is why both earphones and headphones can only be deemed safe if they’re being used moderately, that is, for using them for short periods of time and using only 50 to 60% of volume.

It shouldn’t be difficult to play headphones at low volume levels because they basically block out outside sound which means, you can use them at a low volume without worrying about hearing noise from the environment.

Are Headphones Safer Than Earphones?
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