Are earbuds damaging to your ears? A simple answer to this question is NO. Although there don’t harm your ears, they can create some safety concerns for your ears. In fact, it is not them rather how you use them is to blame for different safety concerns.
Safety Concerns Caused by Earbuds
Likewise, their improper use can lead to the following issues:
1: Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is featured by completely or partially inability to hear in either or both ears. Loud noise exposure is one of its main reasons. The former leads to damage to hair cells. These cells are responsible for transmitting sound from the ears to the brain. To be more specific, the connection between headphones and hearing loss depends on how long you listen and how loud volume you listen. In addition to experiencing hearing loss, it may cause ringing experience or other noises after you pull out your earbuds. If this condition continues for a long time, it may be tinnitus.
2: Ear Infection
An ear infection can occur when your middle ear is infected by a virus or bacteria. It may involve fluid buildup and inflammation in the middle ear, making it very painful. For this to avoid, you must clean your earbuds regularly. Otherwise, headphones can introduce bacteria to the ears once you place them directly in the ear canal.
Furthermore, they also inhibit the air passage in the ear resulting in a breeding ground for bacteria to thrive. These factors can cause more serious infection by transferring bacteria to more sensitive parts of your ears. Besides that, when you share your earbuds, they can transfer bacteria from one person to another. In this scenario, the chances of a more serious ear infection are obvious.
3: Pain in the Ear
If you use the earbuds wrongly or they are not the right size, it may cause pain in your ears. This pain can also radiate to surrounding areas of the ears such as the head, and the jaw. As far as their size is concerned, most brands follow the one-size-fits-all approach. But humans have different ear sizes and shapes.
In addition, they are also made of hard plastic that can cause chafing on your ears if there is no cushion. Thus, earbuds of the wrong size can push the plastic to your ear cartilage and skin that causing unnecessary and avoidable pressure. Therefore, tiny earbuds are best for regular use because they don’t put extra pressure on your ears. Thus they don’t become the cause of pain in your ears. Besides that, the structure of your ear cartilage cannot hold your earbuds for a long time. You may feel pain after the use of a few hours.
Vertigo means feeling off-balance or dizzy. Problems with the inner ear are one of its main causes. The inner ear also ensures our sense of balance. Two major structures in the inner ear regulate our mechanism. These structures are the vestibule and semicircular canals. The inner ear conveys to the brain even the slightest head movement. Any damage to it can lead to issues or delays with the transmission of signals from the ear to the brain. And listening to music for a long time at high volumes can cause vertigo.
How to Avoid Damage to Ears by Using Earbuds Properly
Although improper use of headphones can cause some safety concerns, they mostly stem from their wrong use. It means you can avoid these issues by taking care of safety concerns. By following the below-given steps, you can prevent them.
1: Use Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Extremely loud sounds from the surrounding can damage your ears. But by using noise-canceling earbuds, you can cancel or reduce these harmful or damaging background noises. For noise cancellation, you can choose from two options; Passive noise cancellation and active noise cancellation (ANC). It is wise to use active noise cancellation headphones if you are constantly in a noisy environment. With this type of earbuds, you don’t need to raise the volume while using these headphones to listen to your music above the noise. Plenty of active noise cancellation headphones are available in the market. You can buy any of these to perfectly accommodate your needs.
2: Play Your Music to No More than the Safe Level
Another important thing that you can follow to safely use your earbuds is to play music at a safe level. Even modern earbuds and headphones show signs of warning when you play music too loud. You must not ignore these warnings. Actually, they show you are playing beyond the 85Db threshold. If not checked properly, some earbuds can go as high as 136Db. However, if you want to avoid these things, you can choose volume-limiting headphones. With these devices comes built-in resistors which help you never go beyond the safe limit even when you play at maximum volumes.
3: Let your Ears Rest
Listening to music at a safe level is not enough. In fact, the World Health Organization recommends listening to music at 85Db for not more than 8 hours a day. However, if you cross the limit of 85Db, the threshold time decreases. For example, you can only listen to music at 100Db for up to 15 minutes in a day. If you remedy this, you can use the 60-percent-60-minute rule. This keeps telling you how long and how high you should listen to music per day. By keeping your earbuds at the 60 percent volume mark, you can use them for up to 60 minutes a day.
Now, if you listen above the recommended 60 percent volume, your listening time also goes down. Similarly, for listening for more than 60 minutes, you can lower your volume than 60 percent.
4: Don’t share your Headphones
No matter whether you know the person you are sharing your headphones with, you are not aware of how much he/she takes care of her hygiene. You can end up infecting your ears. Contaminated earwax can travel from one ear to another with earbuds. In addition to transferring bacteria, sharing earbuds can also share yeast and other disease-causing germs. Therefore, you must not share your earphones with anyone.