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How Can Prolonged Use Of Earphones Or Headphones Impact Your Ears?

Use Of Earphones Or Headphones: An Overview

The use of technology in our daily lives is on the increase more so over the last decade or so to the extent that a lot of things can be done with just a click of a button. Right from transferring money to buying things ranging from expensive jewelry to a thing as small as groceries can be done using technology. One such invention of the advancement of technology is the introduction of headphones or earphones. These are basically small speakers, which can be put directly to the ears and you can listen to your favorite music station at any time without disturbing others.

While introduction of earphones or headphones is good in certain ways that the quality of the music that you hear is definitely better and also you are not disturbing others, but like the saying goes that “excess of everything is bad” prolonged use of earphones or headphones has its own ill effects, which may range from impaired hearing to as serious as complete loss of hearing along with several types of ear infection. Apart from this, the new type of earphones that has been recently introduced fixes directly into the ear canal. These types of earphones are called noise reducing earphones or headphones.

While these types of earphones or headphones cut off all background noises and you just hear what comes out of the speaker of the earphones or headphones it leaves no passage for air to pass through the air canal, which may increase the chances of infection. This article gives a brief overview of how Prolonged Use of Headphones or Earphones can Impact the Ears.

How Can Prolonged Use Of Earphones Or Headphones Impact Your Ears?

How Can Prolonged Use Of Earphones Or Headphones Impact Your Ears?

Below mentioned are some of the negative effects of prolonged use of earphones or headphones:

Hearing Loss or Hearing Impairment: When we use an earphone or headphone the audio goes directly to the ears and if the volume of the audio increases by about 85 decibels, it may adversely affect the ability of the ears to listen properly and may lead to hearing impairment or in some cases complete hearing loss. An audio with volume of greater than 100 decibels playing for even 20 minutes in an individual can cause severe hearing impairment. So, it becomes necessary that if you use an earphone or a headphone to keep the volume low. It will not only make the music more melodious, but will also protect the ears.

Ear Infections: Ear Infections are quite common in people who use earphones or headphones, especially if they are sharing it with other people. The sharing of earphones or headphones is quite common and everybody does it once in a while, but if it is done consistently and with different people then it may put you at risk for an ear infection. Bacteria present in ears of your friend may easily find a way to your body through the earphones or headphones resulting in an ear infection. Hence, it is recommended to not share your earphones or headphones and even if you do make sure that you change the ear buds when you get it back.

Lack of Air Circulation: As mentioned above, some types of earphones or headphones fix directly to the ear canals. These are known as noise reducing earphones or headphones. While the quality of the audio may be much better than regular earphones or headphones, but these block the circulation of air to and from the ear canal, which increases the risk of ear infections.

Ear Wax: Prolonged use of earphones or headphones tends to produce more ear wax in the individual, which may result in complications like tinnitus, ear infections, and even hearing impairment.

Ear Numbness: Studies have proves that people who use earphones or headphones for prolonged periods of time listening to loud music end up having ear Numbness which is yet another negative impact of Prolonged Use of Earphones or Headphones. This numbness may clear after the audio stops playing, but doing it chronically may lead to severe hearing impairment

Ear Pain: This is yet another negative effect that Prolonged use of Earphones or Headphones has on the ears. This is quite a common complaint of people who use earphones or headphones constantly for prolonged period of time. They may also complain of some buzzing sound in the ear as well.

Effects on Brain: Prolonged use of earphones or Headphones can also impact the functioning of the brain. This is because of the electromagnetic waves generated by the earphones or headphones. Not many cases have been found of such, but studies have shown that people with prolonged use of earphones or headphones tend to complain of brain related issues more than the common population. This is because the inner ear is directly connected to the brain and even a slight infection or damage to the inner ear may result in negative impact on the brain causing serious health issues.

Accidents: One of the most common negative affect of earphone or headphone use is that when people use these gadgets the noise from outside gets blocked and as a result they are not able to hear any sound from outside like a car blowing horn, which may lead to serious car and other road accidents. This has been seen in many cases across the United States where teenagers seriously get injured due to a road accident since they were not able to hear what was behind them due to the earphones or headphones.

How To Use Earphone Or Headphone Without Affecting The Ears Negatively?

Despite having quite a few ill effects if earphones or headphones are used wisely, then it is a great gadget to have. Below mentioned are some tips on how to use your earphones or headphones wisely without putting yourself into any health hazards.

  • Try and avoid using noise reduction or tiny earphones, which directly fix to the ear canals and instead use the big ones which can still play good music, which will be pleasing to your ears and not cause any ill effects.
  • Try and not share you earphones or headphones with anyone.
  • Ensure that you change the ear buds of the earphone or headphone at least every two months.
  • Never use earphones or headphones when driving, walking on a busy street, or doing other form of traveling.
  • Try and listen music on an earphone or headphone on a low volume so as to eliminate the negative impact of using the earphones or headphones.


  1. Mayo Clinic – “Hearing loss: Mayo Clinic Radio Health Minute” Link: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hearing-loss/expert-answers/hearing-loss/faq-20458594
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – “Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention” Link: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/hearing_loss/default.html
  3. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) – “Hearing Protection” Link: https://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Hearing-Protection/
  4. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) – “Noise-Induced Hearing Loss” Link: https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/noise-induced-hearing-loss
  5. Harvard Health Publishing – “Listening to music through earbuds” Link: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/listening-to-music-through-earbuds
Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 5, 2023

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