Hearing Loss – Are Earbuds a Contributing Factor?

Hearing loss is a common occurrence among the general population because it is not often at the forefront of our minds. Though it can be caused by many factors, including your local environmental soundscape, infections, or standing too close to speakers at a concert, earbuds are one of the top causes of hearing damage in the United States. If you use earbuds, read on to learn whether or not you are at risk.

May Cause Damage

Earbuds can damage your hearing. With the wide usage of smartphones as the main source of music listening, earbuds are used more than ever before. Sound levels above 85 decibels cause hearing damage. This is true no matter what the source of sound is, including earbuds. Most people do not know how to monitor the levels of their earbuds. Because earbuds are placed directly in the ears, there is a higher risk of causing damage to the eardrum.

Signs of Hearing Loss

About 36 million people have hearing loss in the US. Many people do not realize they have it because it often happens over time, so their ears acclimate. If you find that you often ask people to speak louder or if you have trouble hearing consonants, then you may have damaged your hearing. Another sign you may have lost some hearing is if you often turn up the volume of the television or radio or if sounds start to seem muffled. Don’t wait until you aren’t hearing well. Get your hearing tested by an audiologist as part of your annual physical.

How to Safely Use Earbuds

There are safe ways to use earbuds. For children, earbuds with built-in volume limits are available for purchase. This is a great choice because it is difficult to monitor the volume of a child’s earbuds or headphones. Even though these earbuds are designed for children, this is also a smart option for adults. Sometimes, people in an urban area turn up the volume of their earbuds due to competing outside noise. This is very dangerous and will easily cause hearing damage. Using noise-canceling headphones will help outside noises from leaking in and will make it easier for you to hear your music.

Keep in mind whether your hearing is damaged from natural causes, environmental causes, or earbuds, hearing does not regenerate. It is better to be safe and to prevent damage.


If you enjoyed this article, check out some of the other articles in our health section!

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