Is listening to music using earphones bad?

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When I listen to music , my mother scolds me and tells me to take my earphones off and listen to it without them. What would happen if someone uses earphones regularly?

Mahesh Godavarti

Nothing will happen as long as the volume is set to the right level. This is something people do not realize that they have the set volume level too high without realizing it.

This bit is pure guess, but seems reasonable. Sound travels to the bones in your ear from multiple sources, one is through the ear canal/ear drum and one through the bones in your head. With ear buds the only source of sound is the ear drum and you might crank up the volume to get the same level of listening experience. But this can be damaging to the ear drum as it experiences higher amounts of air pressure than it would normally.

The thing with earphones is that people around you cannot tell how loud your music is (if they can hear the music then it is definitely too loud!).

Your parents may also be concerned that you are listening to something they may not approve of (have no knowledge of).


Relevant passages:

Compared to traditional-style headphones that rest over the ear, earbuds can have a higher output level of sound by about 7-9 decibels. An audiologist at Wichita State University who pulled earbuds off students to find out how loud their music was discovered that most students were listening to music at 110-120 decibels, well over the recommended volume. At that level, loud noise can cause permanent hearing loss after just an hour and 15 minutes. With numbers like these, it’s no wonder that the number of teens with hearing loss has jumped 33 percent since 1994, according to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

So what to do if you want to preserve what hearing you may have left? If you are going to use earbuds, the American Auditory Society’s rule of thumb is 60/60 — to not listen for more than 60 minutes at a time at 60 percent of the maximum volume.

If you want to go one better, you can even opt for better quality noise-canceling headphones that go over the ear. Since these headphones work better at blocking out outside noise, you won’t have to listen to your music as loudly. Find out more on how to preserve your hearing even — and especially — if you’ve already experienced some hearing loss.