Are Headphones Dangerous?

Last Edited: January 14, 2017 | Published: January 14, 2017 by


Today, headphones are everywhere. With almost every cell phone sold today, you get a pair of earbuds to use. On top of that, third party headphones have never been more popular. But are headphones dangerous?

Headphones have come a long way since the first walkmans started attaching themselves to belts everywhere. Today, there are many different types of headphones ranging from large over the ear models that are best used in studios and in your home all the way to wireless earbuds that are tiny enough to fit inside your ear. With this, have come a few dangers. Let’s take a look at a few dangers you may encounter and what you can do about them before we decide if headphones are truly dangerous to use.

Headphone Dangers

Like anything, there are dangers that come with headphones if you don’t use them properly or properly maintain them. Let’s look at some of the most common dangers you may face when using headphones.


This is a common problem with people that use headphones of almost any type. Often it is caused by listening to music too loud or by headphones that don’t fit properly. When headphones are too tight, they will squeeze your head putting pressure on your ears. After a bit of listening, this will transform from a slight discomfort into a full blown headache. Luckily, this is easy to remedy. Try resizing the headphones, if you can. If you can’t you may need to go on a hunt for new headphones that fit your head and ears properly.


Earaches are pretty common with people using earbuds. They are often caused by earbuds that don’t fit properly but they can be caused by headphones that are too tight, much like headaches. If your ears hurt after using your headphones, then try to adjust their size. If that can’t be done, then you need to start looking for headphones that fit your head and ears properly. Often this is the toughest part about shopping for headphones, but don’t give up. You should be able to find something that fits your ears and head just right.

Ear Infections

This is one problem on the list that isn’t caused by the audio, but the earphones themselves. Usually, this is a bigger problem if you use earbuds, but you can also experience it with over the ear headphones as well. Dirt, grime, earwax and a bunch of other yucky stuff can accumulate on your earbuds. When this happens, bacteria can thrive and grow. When you place them on your ears, these bacteria are then transferred to your ears causing ear infections. I know, it sounds pretty gross.

Hearing Loss

This is by far the biggest concern that all headphone owners should worry about it. The sounds from your headphone blasting in your ear can, over time, damage your hearing. In fact, hearing loss in teens is higher than it has ever been. Most experts believe this is actually do to the increased use of earbuds thanks to smartphones and MP3 players. We all love our music loud, but this loud music booming in our ears is starting to damage our hearing. All headphone owners should be aware of this danger and take steps to avoid hearing loss just because you enjoy music on the go.

Reduce Your Risks

Now that we have talked about the scary side effects of headphone usage, let’s look at what you need to do to avoid these risks completely so your headphone use is completely safe and enjoyable. Most of these are pretty simple and, when you think about it, they are really just common sense.

Clean Your Headphones

If you are getting ear infections and you use headphones, then it’s probably the gross stuff on your headphones causing the problem. Grab some rubbing alcohol and clean those earbuds after every use. If you have to replace the pads, go ahead and do that. You want to stop bacteria from thriving on your earbuds, and the best way to do that is to keep them squeaky clean. If you do this, you will find your ear infections will be greatly reduced or they could stop altogether.

Turn Down the Volume

The volume of headphones can reach the same levels as a rock concert inside your ear. When that happens, you could damage your hearing resulting in hearing loss. Of course, to avoid this is quite simple. All you have to do is turn down the volume. I mean really, do you need a rock concert inside your ear? I didn’t think so. Remember, this problem is increased when using earbuds inside your ear, so if you are trying to drown out the world around you, try switching to a different kind of headphone. Maybe one that covers your ears so you don’t have to turn it up so loud to be able to hear it and enjoy it.

Use Larger Headphones

As I highlighted above, studies have shown that the small earbuds that fit inside your ear actually do more damage to your hearing and cause more problems than the larger headphones that cover your ear. In my opinion, the larger headphones sound better, too. So, if you are worried about hearing problems or you are experience earaches or headaches, try switching to a larger headphone that covers your ears.

I know this sounds a little crazy, as many believe that the larger headphones actually do more damage to your hearing. But trust me, the complete opposite is true. Earbuds can be much harder on your hearing compared to larger headphones. So, if you are worried about hearing problems, switch to something larger. If you are looking for something portable, you don’t have to go with a huge studio headphone, try to strike a balance instead. In the end, your ears will thank you for it.

Use Them Less

The easiest way to stop any of the risks of using headphones is to stop using them. Now this isn’t the best option even though it will work. Of course, stopping your headphone use isn’t always the option. What would you say to a compromise? Try reducing the amount that you use your headphones. When you are in places that will allow you to use speakers, try using them instead. If that isn’t an option, try and go without your headphones, or at the very least, give your ears the occasional break from the constant audio onslaught from your headphones.

By just reducing the amount of time you use your headphones, your body will have a chance to recover and you won’t have to deal with headaches or hearing loss just because you wanted to listen to your favorite tunes.

So Are They Dangerous?

Now that you know the dangers and what you can do to stop them, do you think headphones are dangerous? Sure, there are risks using them if you don’t use them properly, but the most permanent risk is hearing loss. By turning down the volume and using them responsibly, you can minimize that risk.

So are they dangerous? I don’t think so. Like everything, there are risks if you don’t use them correctly. But just because there are risks, doesn’t mean something is dangerous. After all, almost anything can be considered dangerous if you don’t use it correctly. So, be responsible with your headphone use and you probably won’t have much to worry about.

Parting Thoughts

Headphones have never been more popular. Heck, I bet most of you already own more than one pair of headphones. However, just like everything in life, moderation is key. Use them incorrectly, and you could suffer from headphones or even damage your hearing. Use them responsibility, however, and you shouldn’t have too much to worry about it. So don’t worry, you can continue to use your headphones without too much concern. Just make sure you don’t turn that volume up too much, or you could damage your hearing.

What do you think? Do you think headphones are dangerous? Or do you think the risks of headphone usage has been exaggerated? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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