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Can Long Hours of Headphone Use Cause Tinnitus?

A ringing sound in the ears normally felt after being exposed to loud noise such as in a concert, sporting event, or after being in heavy traffic for long hours is medically termed as Tinnitus. People with hearing deficit also sometimes complain of this problem of Tinnitus. The human ear can bear a maximum of 80 decibels of sound. Any sound above this range starts to damage the ears. This damage becomes more serious if the noise levels are high on a regular basis. Being in a concert is an event which does no occur on a regular basis so that the ears do not get damaged significantly but it can have a lasting affect on the ear. Also, loud noises from traffic jams can be subdued by closing the windows of the car.

Can Long Hours of Headphone Use Cause Tinnitus?

Can Long Hours of Headphone Use Cause Tinnitus?

Headphone is one such equipment which people use almost daily for listening to music or attending calls while driving. Some people have to use headphones as a part of their work if they work in a telephone exchange, call center, or telemarketing. They need to keep the headphones over the ears for long hours, maybe as long as 8-9 hours everyday. The question is whether such individuals can experience Tinnitus?

The answer is definitely it is possible for not only people who listen to music on their headphones but also people who put on headphones as a part of their work to experience hearing loss with resultant Tinnitus. In fact it is more the volume that emanates out of it than actually the headphone which is the main culprit behind people suffering from hearing loss with resultant tinnitus. Putting on headphones at very high volumes results in audio output which is higher than what the ear can take causing damage to the ears.

This does not in any way indicate that you should stop putting on headphones altogether. There are certain precautions which when followed can prevent you from damaging the ears and experience tinnitus. These precautions are especially important for those who nee to put on headphones as a part of their work routine.

Adjust Volume: Whenever you put on the headphones especially for long hours make sure the volume is adjusted at a tolerable level. A quiet ambience at workplace will always help. For youngsters who are fond of listening to music should do so with the volume adjusted so as to not damage the ears or cause Tinnitus.

People attending sporting events at stadiums or attending concerts would be better off wearing ear plugs to prevent the ears. Tinnitus caused by excessive sound exposure like in concerns or sporting events is temporary and tends to fade away once you get back home from the event.

Studies suggest that any noise above 80 decibels damages the ear. A normal conversation produces sound not more than 60 decibels. A busy traffic can cross the 85 decibels mark on some occasions. Listening to music on headphones at high volumes produces sound of more than 100 decibels and increases the risk for hearing loss and tinnitus.

Headphone Selection: Selecting the right headphone is also extremely vital to prevent hearing loss and tinnitus with prolonged use. Headphones with noise cancellation features are best if you have to use them for prolonged periods of time. These headphones cut off any external sounds and drop down the decibel levels of sounds significantly.

Get Hearing Tests Regularly: If you are exposed to loud noises at work or have a habit of wearing headphones for long periods of time then it is important to get your ear tested periodically to make sure that ear has not been damaged, especially if you experience tinnitus after putting on headphones for long periods of time.


  1. MedicalNewsToday – Tinnitus: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
  2. WebMD – Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ears) Causes and Definition
  3. HearingLink – Using headphones and earphones

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 19, 2023

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