Earbuds & Hearing Loss Find Answers

Today’s smartphone-connected earbuds or headphones may not expose your ears to extreme sounds like power equipment or professional subwoofers, but they’re far from harmless. Keep reading to learn more about the connection between earbuds and hearing loss.

Schedule a free appointment today and begin your journey to better hearing.

man and child fixing window
man and child fixing window

Will Earbuds Damage My Hearing?

Did you know that exposure to loud noises is one of the top causes of sensorineural hearing loss, which accounts for 90% of cases of hearing loss among adults? Consider the following statistics:

About 25% of all workers have been exposed to hazardous noise, with 14% (22 million) exposed in the last year.
53% of noise-exposed workers report not wearing hearing protection.
Nearly 50% of persons aged 12-35 years could be exposed to unsafe noise from personal listening devices, and 40% in this age group could be exposed to potentially damaging levels of sound at entertainment venues.

Unfortunately, far too few people take the time to protect themselves from hearing damage. In fact, the rate of hearing loss among teenagers has risen as much as 30% since the 90s. Experts believe that the regular use of headphones—earbuds in particular—is to blame.

Headphones vs. Earbuds: Which Is Worse for My Hearing?

The anatomy of the inner ear is delicate and can be damaged by any directed sounds that are too loud, including pleasurable sounds such as music played on headphones or earbuds.

In most cases, earbuds do more damage to the ears than headphones because of their ability to place sound waves so close to the delicate hairs of the inner ear. Many earbud models are unable to cancel out exterior or environmental sounds, which prompts the wearer to turn up the volume on their device. Over time, this can be a very harmful habit.

How Do I Prevent Hearing Loss From My Headphones?

Limiting exposure to high volume is critically important for preventing hearing loss. When you’re cranking up the volume on your smartphone with your headphones plugged in, does your device ever warn you not to exceed a certain point? If it does, listen to your phone. After all, it’s called a “smartphone” for a reason. Most devices can reach a maximum of 120 decibels, which is well beyond the 85 decibels that can cause damage.

Not sure if you have hearing loss? Click the link below to take the next step with our free online screening.

audiologist using a computer

Take the Next Step

Don't wait any longer to begin your journey to better hearing. Beltone is ready to help you hear what matters the most to you.

Schedule a free hearing screening with a Beltone hearing care professional to explore your options.

Types of Hearing Loss

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss (sometimes called nerve-related hearing loss) is the most common type of hearing loss among adults.

Conductive Hearing Loss

A conductive hearing loss is often temporary and can sometimes be corrected with wax removal, medication or surgery.

Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss is precisely what it sounds like: a mix of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.

Causes of Hearing Loss

Age-Related Hearing Loss

Along with exposure to loud noises, the natural aging process is the most common cause of sensorineural hearing loss.

Medication & Hearing Loss

Prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications that cause either hearing loss or tinnitus symptoms are called ototoxic medications.

Meningitis & Hearing Loss

While meningitis doesn’t always result in hearing loss, people who have had meningitis are at a much higher risk.
two men sitting outside
two men sitting outside

Understanding Hearing Loss

Hearing loss—or hearing impairment—is a reduction in your ability to hear. It can happen gradually or relatively quickly. At Beltone, we want to help you understand hearing loss and find the right solution.

woman looking out of the window
woman looking out of the window

Impacts of Hearing Loss

Untreated hearing loss has been linked to dementia, depression, falls and other serious health conditions. It can also leave people feeling isolated and make it difficult to participate in once-loved activities. Addressing hearing loss is an important part of maintaining good health.

man holding onto his ear
man holding onto his ear

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a common medical condition associated with hearing loss that is often experienced as ringing, hissing, buzzing or roaring in the ears. If you are experiencing these symptoms—intermittently or constantly—a Beltone hearing care professional can help you get relief.