How dangerous are headphones?

Sometimes there can be nothing better than putting in some headphones and listening to your favourite song, podcast or audiobook. However, can listening with headphones for too long lead to hearing loss?

The short answer is yes and if you aren’t careful, headphones can permanently damage your hearing.

Nowadays, nearly everyone has a mobile device that can be connected to headphones.

While it’s great to be able to listen to music whenever you like, experts at House Call Doctor warn too much exposure to loud sound could cause premature deafness.

The World Health Organisation estimates more than one billion young people are likely to lose their hearing from listening to their portable devices.

Although, it’s not just young people who are at risk.

Anyone who listens with their headphones for more than 90 minutes per day has the potential to suffer from premature hearing loss.

House Call Doctor experts say the main risk factor with headphones is volume. Headphones can produce very loud sound levels close to the ear, which over time can cause “noise-induced hearing loss”.

Even headphones on moderate volume can do damage and experts say once hearing damage occurs, it’s irreversible.

Your ears need time to recover, so how long you listen using your headphones is just as important as how loud the volume is.

To avoid permanent hearing loss, you can:

  • Turn your volume down
  • Try noise-cancelling headphones so that audio levels don’t need to be as high to hear the content
  • Use over-the-ear headphones instead of earphones/buds
  • Limit how much you use your headphones.

A good rule to follow is the “60 to 60” guide. This means listening at 60 per cent of your max volume for only 60 minutes at a time.