Risks of Using Headphones? How much do you use them daily?

Hi MPUers, I’ve been using Airpods Pro for a while now, and I absolutely love them! They’re so convenient and portable, and they allow me to enjoy my favorite music on the go. However, I’ve been reading some rumors about the potential risks of using in-ear headphones too much, especially when it comes to hearing damage. I usually use them 4ish hours a day with 50% volume.

  • Are there any precautions that I should be taking to protect my ears, or any alternatives that would be safer for my hearing?
  • How many hours do you use them every day?
  • Are over the ear headphone better/safe than in-ear?

I would really appreciate any insights/advice on this.

I’m not a doctor, so please remember that when you read this. I’m a guy with constant tinnitus and I wear hearing aids. I’m not sure where the tinnitus came from but I do know that we used to play music really loud, and I worked summers in a railroad yard.

My opinion is that headphones are not more or less safe than earbuds, it’s what’s coming through them that will hurt you.

You really should consult a professional.


Apple is able to track the noise your AirPods are producing via Apple Health.
This is not a substitute for an advise by an medical specialist, but could get you maybe some insights.


It’s about the volume, not about the kind of device. I listen to music and podcasts for hours upon hours every day. Listening to anything too loud for an extended period of time will cause hearing damage. Listening to anything at a safe volume will not hurt your ears no matter what device you’re using nor how long you use it.


Several years ago I saw an ear/nose/throat doctor for tinnitus, and I asked him about my excessive use of earbuds. I wear them for several hours each day, listening to mostly podcasts and audiobooks, but occasionally music as well. Back when they were wired (and harder to lose) I even slept with them in. The doc told me he didn’t have any concern about in-ear headphones, and that they were unrelated to my tinnitus.

That said, remember that the plural of anecdote is not data.


I had to look this one up and it turns out to be a rather disputed quote. (Many references to be found on the web. I give only one below.) It has been used with and without the word “not.” I suppose people tinker with the quote depending on how they feel about anecdotes. :slightly_smiling_face:

The plural of anecdote is data, after all (Revolutions)

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Since I got a set of AirPod Pros, I’ve found that I tend to listen at a lower volume than with regular headphones or earbuds because I don’t have to bump up the volume to get over the ambient noise.

I recently had a hearing test that found that I have hearing loss in my left ear. It may have come from attending loud concerts when I was younger, but mowing the lawn with over-the-ear headphones surely didn’t help.

Maybe a better quote would be “the plural of opinion is not data” then?

ETA: Fun find on that quote, by the way. I love to learn about stuff like that!

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It is interesting. Based on which scientific data was that information of this doc?

What is a “safe volume”, and on which scientific data are you basing this information?

He’s a board certified ENT specialist. I’m not privy to his training and he didn’t share any published studies with me, but I trust his education.

If you’re asking about my specific brand of tinnitus, it’s caused by a nerve in my inner ear that’s migrated too close to an artery and that lets me now hear my blood flowing. It’s an age-related thing, I’m told.


I’ve spent the last six months using some over the ear headphones from Soundcore. They aren’t noise cancelling, but they might as well be. I can now walk past loud vehicles and not have to turn up the volume. In fact, I think they allow for a lower overall volume.

I wear them during my daily 90-minute morning walk and also for 1-2 hours of gaming almost every day, plus other times randomly. I need to recharge them maybe once ever 3 weeks.

I do think there is a behavioral risk to owning headphones or ear pods that make it easy to listen to audio a lot more often, even if trying to be careful with volume.

Just know yourself, and maybe find the lowest setting you like in Settings > Sounds > Headphone Safety > Reduce Loud Sounds.

“Noise is a significant source of hearing loss”. Volume.

At 105–110 dB "The maximum volume level for personal listening devices; a very loud radio, stereo, or television; and loud entertainment venues (such as nightclubs, bars, and rock concerts): Hearing loss possible in less than 5 minutes.


It is even not necessary the (too high) Volume, even a “bad” frequency could cause Ear-Damages!

My use varies from very little to 4-5 hours a day. I only set the volume high enough to clearly hear voices on podcasts, TV, or movies. For music I never listen at high volume. At my advanced age I do suffer from significant high frequency hearing loss. Anything above 12k hz mostly inaudible. I can’t hear the alarms on appliances like the refrigerator door being left open or the dishwasher finishing.

Today I was planting some new landscaping and listening to podcasts with a set of Beats Flex. I could hear the podcast fine and could still notice cars coming down the street.

I have the Noise app on my watch as a complication. We’re watching TV at a comfortable volume and the commercials are peaking at about 57db which is very safe.

Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts.

Any way to track the number of hours we use headphones? I’m in Apple ecosystem but didn’t find a way to do it.