Headphone Impact


Headphones are an amazingly convenient and necessary thing! Watching movies, listening to music, audio books, educational material, talking to someone on the network and over the phone ... This gadget is actively used in the subway, airplane, gym, pool, jogging, lecture halls, on excursions and, of course, at home ...

They have firmly entered our lives, and we will have to put up with it. Therefore, let's consider what you should pay attention to when it comes to choosing headphones for children and adolescents.

Headphone design: what's the worst?

A huge number of headphones have been developed: professional concert, gaming, waterproof, sports, etc. All these devices are designed to transmit sound, but they have completely different concepts.

If you select headphones for your child only for listening to audio files, then first of all pay attention to their design.

The main types of headphones for ordinary users (non-professionals):


Currently, the number of young people with hearing loss is increasing. These people constantly listen to music through headphones, and hearing loss in them occurs very quickly, as in older people, and destructive processes in the organs of hearing appear and this leads to complete hearing loss. It is forbidden to constantly listen to music through headphones if your hearing is dear to you. There is no warning on the players that their use destroys the hearing, negatively affects health, this can only be read in the instructions.

People with headphones are advertised everywhere, and they are happy to listen to music. The sound wave injures the eardrum and adversely affects its condition.

Headphones - tablets cannot isolate a person who listens to music from the sounds of the outside world, and therefore they make the sound so loud that people who stand nearby listen to their music, this music sounds so loud. And these sounds are especially negative effect, lead to hearing loss and deafness. In the ear canal there are glands that produce sulfur and the headphones close and press on the skin of the ear canal and this sulfur begins to be produced in large quantities and sulfur plugs and a change in the microflora of the auricle are formed, which is a favorable factor for infection.


The middle ear is injured, and even the eardrum may collapse. Hemorrhages may occur.

Our body can defend itself from short, loud noises, and their long action reduces hearing. With a short loud action, hearing decreases temporarily and a slight degree of decline. With the frequent and prolonged action of noise on the hearing, the hearing is destroyed and it cannot be restored.

Headphone manufacturers and advertisements convincingly insist that there are safe, modern earbuds that don't break the ear. This is advertising and more. All headphones destroy hearing; only some headphones destroy hearing more quickly, while others are slower.

The result of a long and loud noise is ringing and constant tinnitus, which can gradually lead to hearing loss. Statistics say that many people with hearing loss are people 30-40 years old. Noise, ringing in the ears is a serious sign that turns into a permanent decrease in hearing.

A sound wave enters the ears and destroys the auditory ossicles. Mechanical vibration goes into the cochlea and turns into an electrical impulse that goes to the brain. Hearing centers are located in the temporal lobe. A loud sound negatively affects the state of health - headaches, heaviness, ringing in the ears and head, noise in the ears and head, increased blood pressure, irritability, weakness, fatigue. Strengthening the process happens with a weakened body, stress.


A healthy ear can hear 10-15 dB. Whisper in 20 dB, calm conversation - in 30-35 dB. A 60 dB cry brings annoyance. Destructive sounds from 90 dB. And a rock concert of 100-120 dB is a traumatic action for the hearing. Such a sound can be obtained in the headphones. This can damage, reduce hearing, or lead to deafness.

Sound above 90 dB destroys cells in the inner ear, in the cochlea, and sensorineural hearing loss occurs.

Scientists around the world have officially proven the harm of headphones. Studies have been conducted for 10 years and scientists have identified hearing diseases caused by loud music that is heard through headphones.

The negative effect of the headphones harms the body causing headaches, dizziness, noise, ringing in the head. Especially destructive headphones affect children - they get tired quickly, they find it difficult to learn, irritable, negatively affect their emotional state, decrease concentration. Headphones negatively affect the brain - headaches, increased tone of the vessels of the brain, sudden changes in pressure. In the ear canal there is pressure that constantly presses on the eardrum.

When music sounds loud for several minutes, hearing loss will not occur. The body has protection against short loud sounds, but there will be a decrease in hearing with prolonged exposure to loud music. First of all, the perception of low frequencies will worsen. A person ceases to distinguish between birdsong, hissing and whistling sounds. First, the perception of low frequencies decreases, then high and hissing sounds. Ears cease to hear birds singing, rustling leaves.


Do not use headphones.

People listen to music when walking, when traveling to work, playing sports. Older people listen to music loudly, which is especially dangerous for people of respectable age.

People who ride the subway and listen to a screaming player - these people, decided to lose their hearing. Your hearing is dear to you, it is better to abandon the use of headphones forever.

If you want to buy a player for your child, think about whether you want the child to have serious consequences - damaged his hearing?


Consultation with an otolaryngologist (ENT doctor) is required.

Your doctor will test your hearing using speech and tonal audiometry and diagnose your hearing loss.

Depending on the state of hearing and the cause of hearing loss, medication is prescribed.

If necessary, additional methods of diagnosis and treatment are used.

Hearing restoration team using self-healing techniques

How a man survives with headphones in a city. Man is constantly in two worlds: the body in real space, and hearing in virtual space. These spaces do not intersect and the brain cannot adequately assess the environment that surrounds it and decide. A bus rides on him, in headphones he is on stage next to a rock band.

When crossing the road, remove the headphones, in a dangerous situation you can quickly react. You will have perfect hearing if you stop using your headphones. If you constantly listen to loud music, then the rumor will get used to it over time and there will be a desire to constantly make music louder.

More about work:

In the finished research biology project "The influence of headphones on human hearing" the author conducted a survey to determine the percentage of young people who use headphones, made recommendations on the use of headphones without harming their own health. In the work, the author summarized theoretical information about what is a harbinger of lowering the threshold of hearing, and gives advice on how not to lose hearing.

Table of contents

1. From the first headphones to the droplet headphones.
2. Headphone specifications.
3. Types of headphones.
4. Studies of the influence of headphones on a person’s hearing.
5. The use of headphones by youth.
6. Recommendations on the use of headphones.
7. Harbingers of lowering the threshold of hearing.
8. How not to lose your hearing?


In the 80s and 90s it was considered prestigious to have a player, and not everyone could afford to buy it, today everyone has mobile phones, game consoles, players. They have become more compact, more economical (the time of continuous operation has increased many times), their memory allows you to store tens of hours of music.

Thus, players for many people have become a familiar attribute of everyday life, from schoolchildren listening to music in between classes, people who want to take time on public transport on their way to work, to older people who listen to the radio or are nostalgic for the songs of their youth. Frequent use of headphones affects a person’s hearing? If it does, then how?

Relevance. We made observations and found out that this problem is relevant for our lyceum, since most of the students began to use headphones for listening to music very often in recent years.

In the lyceum we go already in the headphones, listening to our favorite tune. We used to greet each other during meetings, but now we greet each other with a nod of the head, or a wave of the hand. We talk a little at breaks, our ears are covered with headphones - droplets.

Our interest in preparing this research project is caused by a desire to find out how headphones influence a person’s hearing and how to maintain good hearing? Research on this topic in our lyceum has not been conducted.

Problem: Many students use headphones, but do not know what they can expect in the future.

Hypothesis: Headphones negatively affect the human body.

Goal: To draw the attention of students and their parents to the problem of the negative impact of headphones on the human body.


  1. To analyze the scientific literature on the research problem.
  2. Find out the effect of headphones on human health.
  3. Carry out a practical study to determine students' hearing acuity.
  4. Develop health saving recommendations for students.
  5. At classroom hours and a school-wide parent-teacher meeting, introduce students and parents to the results of the study.

Research methods

  • Search
  • Research
  • Statistical

Research stages

  • Study of literature on the problem of research
  • Literature analysis
  • Questioning
  • Conversation with the doctor - otolaryngologist of the district hospital
  • Micro research
  • Making recommendations

From first earphones to droplet earphones

In 1958, he, together with Martin Lang, introduced a new phonograph model. But, unexpectedly, aviation headphones became a real hit, with the help of which the phonograph capabilities were demonstrated.

The first stereo headphone model - the progenitors of DJ headphones had the name SP-3, after the release of these headphones, John Koss became the founder of the personal music listening industry. Modern youth cannot imagine their life without music "on the run”, DJ headphones and a telephone headset.

Seeing the great future behind this technical invention, enterprising Japanese, improved Koss headphones, made innovations in the shortest possible time, developed copies. In the following years, headphones were constantly improved externally and from a technological point of view, but still remained bulky and uncomfortable. They became more comfortable and attractive with the advent of a small player in 1980.

First, lightweight open headphones were invented, fastened with a thin narrow metal strip, then they abandoned this strip and developed headphones that were not connected at all by the headband-rim, but fastened with a clip behind the auricle, like hearing aids. The apotheosis of miniaturization was the in-ear headphones, which “plug” the auricle like “ear plugs”.

Wireless radio headphones that appeared in the 90s made it possible for a person not to be attached to the audio system, it became possible to move around, enjoying your favorite tunes. Small, comfortable headphones, with a pleasant design, have become the dream of every teenager.

Headphone Specifications

The main technical characteristics are: frequency range, sensitivity, resistance, maximum power and distortion percentage.

Frequency response. This feature affects the sound quality of the headphones. Headphones with a large diameter membrane have enhanced sound quality. The average frequency response of 18 Hz is 20,000 Hz. Some professional headphones have a frequency range from 5 Hz to 60,000 Hz. The widest claimed frequency range for some models reaches 5 Hz - 125 kHz.

Sensitivity. Sensitivity affects the sound volume in the headphones. Typically, headphones provide a sensitivity of at least 100 dB, at lower sensitivity the sound may be too quiet (especially when using headphones with a player or similar devices). Headphones - "liners»With a small diameter, the membranes have a low-power magnet.

Impedance. It is important here that the value of the headphone impedance module matches the output impedance of the sound source. Most headphones are rated at 32 ohms. Headphones with a resistance of 16 ohms have increased radiated acoustic power. To reduce the acoustic power (which increases the safety of working with headphones), professionals use headphones with a maximum resistance value.

Maximum power. Maximum (passport) input power determines the sound volume. Distortion level. Headphone distortion is measured as a percentage. The lower this percentage, the better the sound quality. Headphone distortion of less than 1% in the frequency band from 100 Hz to 2 kHz is acceptable, while 10% is acceptable for the band below 100 Hz.

Types of headphones distinguish

According to the type of transmission of the electrical signal, they emit wiredand wirelessheadphones.

Wired - This is a classic version. Here, the wire can exit either from both headphones, or from one (in this case, the second wire usually passes through the entire headband and adjoins the first at the output). Choose wired headphones is not difficult, their range is huge.

IN wireless headphonessignal transmission is carried out by means of an infrared channel, a radio channel or a digital channel. In them, the sound quality is much worse than in wired ones. In wireless headphones, in comparison with their wired counterparts, lower dynamic and frequency ranges, more sound distortion and noise. In addition, they are noticeably heavier, as the wireless models have a built-in battery to power the sound receiver. Therefore, wireless headphones are justified only if the use of wired headphones is not possible.

By type of external construction.

According to the type of external design, the headphones can be waybills, plug-in or monitor.

Overhead the earphones fit snugly, the speaker is located outside the auricle

In-ear headphones (earbuds) are placed in the ear canal. Such headphones are often bought for use on the street, in transport, since they can be easily hidden at any time, they do not interfere with wearing a hat.

Monitor headphones fully embrace the ear, designed for very accurate sound reproduction. With these headphones, the sound quality is close to the level of professional audio systems.Unlike other types of headphones, the sound from the monitor headphones enters the auricle and does not tire your hearing. They are considered to be the most comfortable.

Headphones of acoustic type.

Closed Headphones fully able to isolate ears from external noise. The design of this type of headphone is such that the speaker is completely closed. Closed headphones are convenient to use in noisy rooms, in transport. They protect your ears from extraneous sounds, while music flowing from the headphones will not interfere with the people around you.

The disadvantage of closed headphones is the distortion of sound due to the resonance of sound waves with the rear wall of the headphone housing. In addition, absolute isolation from the sounds of the outside world is dangerous on the streets of cities filled with vehicles. If there are slots and various gaps in the headphone housings, due to which there is no complete sound insulation, then this audio equipment is referred to as a headphone open type. Due to the presence of holes in the rear walls, open headphones reproduce fewer spurious waves, so the sound in them is softer and more natural. In open headphones, the effect of "barrels" disappears.

Headphones by mounting method.

According to the method of attachment, the headphones are divided into those that are attached using:

special bowvertically connecting the right and left ear cups - a classic mount, occipital arch, which connects the headphones to each other, around the back of the neck, specially provided clips or earhook, no mount at all - the headphones are held in the ears due to the ear pads themselves, which are inserted directly into the ear canal.

By the number of channels:

  1. stereo - signals are transmitted to each speaker through separate channels,
  2. monophonic - have two loudspeakers with a common signal.

Studies on the impact of headphones on human hearing

Now more and more often you can see teenagers with headphones through which they listen to music. Sometimes this music is heard by people around. It seemed like a harmless hobby, listening to music, or it might all end in complete deafness.

Constantly listening to loud music through headphones inevitably leads to hearing loss. Unfortunately, there are no formidable inscriptions on the players that their use causes irreparable harm to health. This is stated in instructions that are not readable or read inattentively.

Why are headphones so harmful? People of various professions use headphones: these are radio operators, sound engineers, and dispatchers. But, despite the fact that they spend many hours in a row on their headphones, their hearing does not deteriorate as radically as their fans. The fact is that portable sound reproducing devices spawned a whole new class of headphones that fit inside the auricle.

Like other types of "portable" headphones, the earbuds are open type, because it is believed that they do not interfere with the penetration of sounds from the outside world into the ear. In fact, many models have more in common with closed headphones, because they almost completely hermetically isolate hearing organs from the outside world. The fundamental difference between the earbuds and other types of headphones is that they bring the sound source closer to the inner ear.

The human ear is a very sensitive organ. We can distinguish sounds that have a frequency of sound from 16 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Such frequencies cause eardrum vibrations. In turn, the auditory nerves transmit a signal to the brain. Nature has provided a mechanism to protect the inner ear from damage. Loud sounds, especially those that do not stop for a long time, tire the muscles and they cease to protect the inner ear.

Loss of sensation occurs in the inner ear when a sound wave, passing through the fluid in the ear cochlea, overexcites and kills sensitive hairs. When damaged sensitive hairs responsible for a particular segment of the frequency range, a person can no longer hear the sounds of the corresponding frequency. Being on the leading edge of the sensory zone of the inner ear, the sensitive elements responsible for high frequencies suffer primarily, therefore it is not surprising that hearing problems usually begin to appear at high frequencies (3-6 kHz).

Doctors believe that the quietest sounds that a healthy ear can catch are 10-15 dB. Whispers are estimated at 20 dB, normal conversation - at 30-35 dB. A scream with a sound pressure level of 60 dB already leads to discomfort, and sounds with a power of 90 dB or more are really dangerous to hearing. When a person abuses headphones and turns on a very loud sound, the middle ear is injured, the eardrum may burst and hemorrhage in the hearing aid may occur. In addition, the auditory analyzer is depressed in a person and the nervous system is shaken.

Therefore, the result of loud listening to music through headphones can be not only hearing loss, but also excessive irritability. Sometimes unreasonable fatigue and weakness may appear. Nature provides protection only from short-term loud sounds, while prolonged exposure inevitably leads to hearing loss

Their opinion coincides with the opinion of Siemens specialists. They note that after short-term exposure to high levels of noise, the hair cells of the inner ear are regenerated, and hearing acuity decreases only temporarily and slightly. With repeated and prolonged exposure to noise, these auditory sensory cells are damaged more seriously, and their recovery becomes impossible. Inevitable age-related hearing changes begin in a person after thirty years. However, degradation of the organs of hearing began to occur in people who have not yet reached this age. The reason for this is the passion of contemporaries, especially youth, for listening to music through headphones.

Dr. Brian of Harvard Medical School has conducted a study on the impact of various types of headphones on consumer health. The scientist came to the conclusion that, as a rule, the smaller the head phones, the higher the sound pressure level, regardless of the set volume values.

Compared to large headphones, in which the ear is completely enclosed, earbuds such as, for example, supplied with AppleiPod players increase the sound pressure level by an impressive amount. Large headphones are the safest, another source notes, they concentrate the sound and do not lead to amplification. Sound is an oscillation of an elastic medium that propagates in space, therefore, the louder the sound, the greater the pressure exerted on the sensitive elements of the human auditory apparatus.

The sound pressure generated by portable equipment in the area adjacent to the eardrum is from 70 to 120 decibels. Accordingly, the higher the sound volume, the less time is required to damage the hearing.

Some sound pressure levels

It should be noted that hearing impairment caused by mechanical damage cannot be treated.

Listening to music at high volume can cause loss of sensation of sensory hairs and the so-called "tinnitus". It is important to remember that hearing loss under the influence of noise is usually irreversible, since atrophy of nerve elements underlies this phenomenon. Modern medicine does not have remedies that can restore dead or even dying nerve cells.

The reason for the so-called tinnitus or tinnitus is that the damaged sensory element of the inner ear begins to send nerve impulses to the brain all the time, regardless of whether there is sound or not. This disease consists in a loud ringing or hum (depending on the frequencies for which the damaged sensory cells are responsible) in the head.

Experts sounded the alarm: now we have a prototype of a once typical American teenager who does not part with headphones. Our generation is already sleeping in headphones. At us, more and more schoolchildren and students suffer from hearing problems. If we discard all kinds of injuries, then the noise load (discos, portable playback devices) is the main cause of hearing damage.

Using headphones with youth

Studies in the field of human hearing have shown that using headphones when playing sports is dangerous. With intense physical exertion, blood flows from the head to the loaded limbs, and the ears become much more vulnerable to loud sound. Experts say that when playing sports, the risk of receiving an acoustic injury doubles. But many of us do not take off our headphones in physical education classes.

Journal "Health"Notes that the otolaryngologist of Moscow Kristina Anankina told that young boys and girls began to come more often to the reception. The situation is especially worsening, as emphasized in the same magazine, using headphones in vibrating vehicles. In combination, these 2 factors provoke acute hearing loss. Its main danger is that it occurs overnight, but it is very problematic to cure it.

We consider it correct to say the first deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Health: "It is necessary to carry out explanatory work, to educate the culture of people. Young people should understand: the louder to listen to music in childhood, the more you become unavailable in old age. ”

Another risk factor is the passion for computer games: when playing, the guys put on their headphones to better hear virtual shots and explosions, and thereby put their ears in jeopardy.

Players and discos for teenagers are especially dangerous. Scandinavian scientists have come to the conclusion that every fifth teenager does not hear well, although he is not always aware of this. The reason is the abuse of portable players. The sound volume of the player is comparable to the level of a turbojet airplane taking off at 100m. Healthy eardrums can tolerate the player’s volume of 110 dB without damage, for a maximum of 1.5 minutes.

Microexamination No. 1

purpose of work: Determine the number of students who have a player.

Working process:

We conducted a survey among students of lyceums 1 and 2 courses.

Number of students having players or cell phones with headphones. Among the 100 students, players were among 95 people, that is, headphones became an integral part of the daily life of our school students. Consequently, 95% of lyceum students with regular use of players by the age of 30 can experience hearing loss

To solve the tasks carried out a survey.

Questionnaire questions.

  1. What are headphones and what are they for?
  2. How often do you use headphones in your life?

  • How much time, on average, do you spend on headphones per day?
  • What feelings do you have after you take them off?
  • Do you think headphones are harmful or beneficial?

Here is what we got:

1. What are headphones and what are they for?

Headphones - This is a device for listening to information, in order not to disturb the people around you. - 25 people.

Headphones - an acoustic device for listening to sound files - 18 people.

Headphones - a portable device for converting a digital signal into an audio signal - 12 people.

Headphones - This is a device for converting electric waves into sound -20 people.

Headphones - an audio device designed to listen to audio recordings, when using which the sound is directed to a specific listener - 25 people

Headphone usage time:

  • Less than an hour - 35%.
  • 1 hour - 9%.
  • 2 hours - 22%.
  • 3 hours - 13%.
  • More than 6 hours - 21%.

How do you feel after you take off your headphones?

  1. Nervous sensations: pleasure, calming - 21%
  2. -4% dullness of hearing and deafness
  3. Pain and tinnitus – 4%
  4. Headache - 3%
  5. Nothing - 68%
  • Do you think headphones are harmful or beneficial?

The desire to withdraw into oneself, to separate from the crowd is typical for youth of all generations, headphones contribute to this desire: to be alone, being among people. This is probably why 56% of the survey participants knowing about the harmful effects of headphones on their bodies, yet 44% of all respondents spend an average of 1 hour to 3 hours daily using headphones. 21% of students use them for more than 6 hours. The question is, "How do you feel after you take off your headphones?"Showed that after removing them, 11% experience one or another deviation in their health.

Microexamination №2

Hearing acuity - this is the minimum volume of sound that can be perceived by the subject’s ear. A normal hearing is one in which the ticking of a medium-sized watch is heard at a distance of 10-15 cm.

Test "Determination of hearing acuity"

Equipment: mechanical watch, ruler.

Operating procedure:

  1. Move the clock closer until you hear a sound. Measure the distance from ear to watch in centimeters.
  2. Put the watch tightly on your ear and take it away from you until the sound disappears. Again, determine the distance to the clock.
  3. If the data matches, it will be approximately the correct distance.
  4. If the data do not match, then to estimate the distance of hearing, you need to take the arithmetic average of two distances.

Table 4. Assessment of test results:

A normal hearing will be one in which the ticking of a medium-sized watch is heard at a distance of 10-15 cm

Subject No. L1, cm L2,cm (L1 + L2)/2 results
№1798below normal
№8141715,5above normal
№13898,5below normal

Conclusion: Of the 24 students, 91.7% have normal hearing, and 8.3% have hearing loss.

Harbingers of lowering the threshold of audibility

When listening to music using headphones, you need to remember that over time, your hearing sensitivity begins to dull. The ears adapt to the loud sound, and the listener can feel a drop in volume, although in fact the position of its control has not changed. In this state, it is very easy to give in to desire and increase the playback volume to a level at which listening becomes risky.

Acoustic injuries are not always the same. Hearing injuries have a cumulative effect, that is, they can accumulate over time and appear at the most unexpected moment without special warnings. We recommend that you pay attention to the following symptoms, upon detection of which you need to urgently consult a doctor.

The main symptoms of diseases related to hearing damage:

  1. Ringing or tinnitus.
  2. Difficulties in understanding human speech.
  3. Noticeable muffling of sounds.
  4. Difficulties in understanding speech in noisy places or rooms with poor acoustics.

Remember that after listening to loud music through headphones for a long time, you may temporarily lose the ability to perceive quiet sounds, and this can be dangerous, for example, for motorists or cyclists. All people who prefer listening through headphones are more or less at risk of hearing damage, so we recommend that you check it periodically.

How not to lose your hearing?

If you still decide to continue to use headphones with a player or phone, be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules of auditory hygiene.

Remember to prevent hearing loss:

  • in a noisy place you should use cheap "ear plugs",
  • Do not make loud music in the headphones, trying to drown out the external noise, and a little increase in volume, you can get a dangerous level of 110 dB for your health,
  • use closed headphones to avoid reaching a dangerous volume,
  • let your ears rest and choose 40 to 60 minutes, not more, while listening to music. Otherwise, your hearing will not have time to recover.
  • If you constantly listen to the in-ear earphone in one ear, rearrange the earphone in the other ear once per hour.
  • If possible, switch from in-ear to on-ear headphones.
  • Once every two hours, take a break for a period of fifteen minutes to half an hour. - When talking, remove the headphones from your ears and turn off the player - so you let the other person know that you are completely absorbed in the conversation and not be distracted.
  • Do not twist the cord around the neck too tight.
  • Do not put wires under clothing: they emit radio emission, which has a harmful effect on the body, especially when in direct contact with the body.

How not to lose your hearing.

  1. Properly choose the brand of headphones when buying,
  2. Reduce the amount of time you use your headphones; otherwise, use your hearing aid with age
  3. Do not make loud music in the headphones, trying to drown out the external noise, and a little increase in volume, you can get a level of 110 dB dangerous to health,
  4. Use closed headphones to prevent reaching a dangerous volume,
  5. Let your ears rest and choose 40 to 60 minutes to listen to music, not more.
  6. Do not thread wires under clothing: they emit radio emission that has a harmful effect on the body, especially when in direct contact with the body
  7. Relax in nature ("listen to the silence»)
  8. When listening to music through the in-ear headphones, use both ears in turn.
  9. Discard the in-ear headphones by replacing them with overheads.
  10. Check your doctor’s hearing periodically.
  11. After mental work, in no case, do not listen to loud music (especially rock), as the bass negatively affects a tired brain, and some of the new information is lost.

In my work, I tried to analyze the effect of headphones on a person’s hearing and I think that it is necessary to tell and explain to children and parents that improper use of headphones causes irreparable harm, and each of us can and is even obliged to take simple precautions.

Human ear - the only organ with which we can hear sound needs protection from sound pressure. Changes in sound pressure created by headphones harm our body unnoticed by us.

This hypothesis was also confirmed in our micro studies, during which we found that headphones negatively affect human health.

I made the following conclusions:

  1. Loud sound affecting the inner ear when using headphones is one of the most important problems. Its harmful effect on the body is imperceptible. Violations in the body are not detected immediately. The human body is almost defenseless against sound. Modern medicine does not have remedies that can restore dead or dying nerve cells.
  2. Even a low volume level interferes with concentration during mental work.
  3. Do not use headphones in the Lyceum.
  4. After mental work, in no case should you turn on rock loudly, since bass negatively affects a tired brain, and some of the new information may be lost.

Headphone damage: human hearing

In the modern world, headphones play an important role. They are used by various age categories, pursuing all kinds of goals - entertainment (listening to music), training, communication. People use headphones at home, at work, in public transport and elsewhere. But is such an invention safe and does it affect a person’s hearing? For those who almost never part with such a convenient addition to gadgets, it would be useful to learn about the dangers of headphones.

Headphone design differences

All headphones are classified by design:

  • plug-in (inserts),
  • vacuum (intra-channel),
  • overhead
  • full-sized
  • monitor.

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Absolutely all earphone models have an impact on a person’s hearing, but the degree of impact can be different. The clear leaders in this matter are plug-in and vacuum ones. Moreover, the most harmful are intra-channel. They "seal" the entire ear canal and provide reliable isolation from external noise. At the same time, sound vibrations from the headphones are sent directly to the eardrum and have the maximum effect on it.

Closed-type on-ear headphones are considered safer because they are much further from the funnel that separates the ear canal from the middle ear. And also they protect well from external noise, but need to increase the volume level to the maximum. Audiologists do not advise listening at high volume to such headphones for more than 120 minutes a day.

Any noise whose power exceeds 80 decibels adversely affects the condition of the inner ear. With the constant use of in-ear headphones for the past 5 years, there is a high probability of encountering noticeable hearing pathologies.

What happens to the ears

Ear physiology provides protection only from episodic loud sounds. If prolonged exposure to high decibels occurs, then hearing will be reduced guaranteed.

After the episodic effect of high decibels on the hairs covering the cochlea (spiral organ of the inner ear), they are quite easily restored, and hearing loss is temporary and insignificant.

In the ear there are special muscles that, with strong sound vibrations, strain and restrict the movement of the auditory ossicles. In doing so, they protect particularly sensitive auditory cells. But these muscle fibers can not withstand a loud sound for a long time.

If the effect on them is more than 60 minutes, then their protective mechanism is significantly weakened. Therefore, listening to loud music for many hours a day will inevitably reduce hearing acuity.

With a systematic and prolonged exposure to noise on the hairs covering the cochlea, more serious damage occurs, and their regeneration becomes impossible.

Otolaryngologists and audiologists claim that geriatric hearing changes start at the age of 30 years. But prolonged exposure to high decibels guarantees a sad prognosis at an earlier age.

Under the influence of prolonged and loud noises, patients develop subjective tinnitus. This is a specific ringing or an obsessive tinnitus (the sound resembles a bell ringing), heard only to this patient. Often patients of 30-40 years old turn to such a complaint to otolaryngologists.

Tinnitus is not the ultimate pathology, but in most cases a dynamic decrease in hearing acuity begins with it. Bad habits, constant stay in a state of stress, and lowered immunity can accelerate this process.

The rules of auditory hygiene

A noise level of 40-60 decibels is considered safe for the ear. In this range is ordinary conversational speech. But this does not mean that users will now completely abandon the headphones. So that they do not provoke hearing loss, it is enough to observe some precautions:

1. Do not use any headphones, but especially vacuum ones, for more than 60 minutes in a row and more than 120 minutes per day.

2. Try not to exceed the volume threshold of more than 60 decibels. As a rule, this makes up about 60% of the player's capabilities.

3. Audiologists and otolaryngologists recommend abandoning vacuum headphones in favor of overheads, since the former can not only provoke hearing loss, but also irritation and inflammation of the skin of the ear canal. Especially this type of headphone is not suitable for allergy sufferers and diabetics.

4. If you want to enjoy the surround sound of music through headphones, then at this time it is useful to refrain from taking alcohol, since alcoholic beverages increase the harmful effects of loud sounds on a person’s hearing.

5. You can’t increase the volume of music in order to drown out public transport, otherwise this will lead to the fact that the critical mark of 80 decibels will remain far behind, and the hearing organ will receive irreparable damage.

Headphones are a very useful invention, but in order to protect your hearing, regardless of the model used, you need to learn how to use them correctly.

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Alarming statistics

Dry WHO statistics show a serious global problem. About 10% of the world's population suffers from hearing impairment or deafness. According to studies conducted by WHO experts, about a third of deaf and hearing-impaired people in the United States received these problems as a result of exposure to loud music, industrial noise, and the sounds of equipment working. The collection of WHO statistics in Europe shows that 71 million people have some kind of hearing problem.

A few years ago, an American researcher Robert Novak from Purdue University said that American doctors began to diagnose young people with a rapid hearing loss at a rate typically found only in elderly patients. In some cases, this lesion is irreversible and leads to complete deafness. In his research, Novak directly linked this trend with the constant use of headphones that play music at a dangerous volume. The study described has caused numerous speculations in the media.

Causes of the problem - hearing damage mechanism

Otolaryngologists and pathophysiologists have found that regular exposure to sound (music or noise does not matter) with a sound pressure of more than 100 dB leads to damage to the hair cells of the basilar membrane, which in most cases leads to irreversible hearing impairment. The basilar membrane is located in the cochlea and is an integral part of the auditory analyzer, since it is thanks to this element that sound waves of various amplitudes and frequencies are converted into nerve impulses, which are transmitted to the brain through the cochlear nerve. As a result of damage to cells (hairs) in a particular section of the membrane, problems arise with the perception of certain frequencies.

It is known that for most people (without hearing loss and hyperesthesia) sound pressure in the range from 70 to 90 dB is considered comfortable for listening to music with headphones. When developing headphones, most manufacturers rely on this data, while making a certain margin in power of sound emitters. It is also important to consider the impedance of the headphone, as sometimes the low impedance of the headphone compared to the amplifier of a player or phone can produce high volume.

At the same time, it is common for people to increase the volume to extreme values, this is especially common when traveling in the subway. As a result of the ardent desire to abstract from the noise of the subway, the conceived user exceeds the permissible barrier of 100 dB, since the noise level in the metro is higher and ranges from 95 to 105 - 110 dB.

Thus, in order to listen to music in the subway or other place with a high noise level, we have to increase the volume above the hearing hazard. Short-term and non-regular increase in volume does not pose serious problems, since the compensatory capabilities of the middle and inner ear can reduce the likelihood of irreversible changes. The constant use of headphones in this mode leads to damage to the basilar hair cells, which exclude the possibility of the membrane returning to normal.

The mythology of the harm of equipment and the reality of human stupidity

Based on a number of studies conducted over the past 10 years, journalists have created a number of speculative publications about the dangers of headphones and their individual types, which draw unreasonable conclusions, and sometimes give ridiculous recommendations for gadget users. Next, I will try to separate the grain from the chaff and give some useful tips on this.

Fiction: Listening to music on headphones results in hearing loss and loss.

Reality: The birth of this myth is associated with the research of several American scientists, in particular the already mentioned Novak. Nowak noticed that the damage to the hair cells of the basilar membrane, usually characteristic of people over 35 - 40 years old, is becoming characteristic of some young people using headphones. However, the media hastened to inflate the sensation that the youth were stalling from the headphones, which is not entirely true and is a distortion of the facts.

As I wrote above, the problems indicated by the researchers are characteristic only in those cases when the sound pressure exceeds the limit of 100 dB, while such an excess occurs constantly, over a long time. This situation is typical for people using headphones without active noise reduction systems and trying to drown out ambient noise using power reserves. They do this all the time.

In fact, it is not the headphones that are harmful, but the habit of increasing the volume until the surrounding loud (over 90-100 dB) sounds are not heard. Over time, the perception adapts to this level of volume, and listening at a lower volume becomes uncomfortable, which further exacerbates the situation.

Fiction: Scientists have proven that in-ear and in-ear headphones are really dangerous - people stall from them

Reality: A study by Dr. Bryan Flygor of Harvard Medical School, published in the December 2004 issue of Ear and Hearing, showed that the level of sound pressure exerted on the ear depends on the type of headphone. So, the smaller the headphone, the higher the sound pressure level at equal preset volume values. The scientist found that plug-in and intra-channel headphones increase the sound pressure level by an average of 9 dB, compared with overhead and full-size.

Fiction: The use of in-ear headphones is unhygienic, leading to the development of fungal and other lesions of the external auditory canal

Reality: As in previous speculations, the conclusion is far-fetched. For the development of infection in the external auditory canal, conditions such as the presence of bacteria, fungal spores, etc. are necessary. (they are full everywhere, and the material of the headphones is not a nutrient medium, as is the material of the ear pads), the presence of entrance gates for infection, for example, trauma, microtrauma, etc., decreased immunity, impaired blood circulation.

Under the described combination of conditions, headphones are not any significant risk factor affecting the development of infection. The infection will quietly develop without them, it is enough to have an immunodeficiency state and touch the ear.

Fiction: Regular use of headphones is crazy and leads to dementia (acquired loss of intelligence)

Reality: Headphones affect our psyche and intelligence no more than any other source of sound in our surroundings.At the same time, the music that we listen to can to some extent affect the psycho-emotional state, which has been known for a long time and does not require proof.

Fiction: Daily use of headphones leads to deafness and hearing loss.

Reality: listening to music requires more sound pressure (70 - 90 dB) than human speech and the natural background noise level for a person (45 - 60 dB).
Prolonged (more than 4 hours per day), daily use of headphones can lead to a marked decrease in hearing. I emphasize, maybe, but in this case it very much depends on the individual characteristics of a particular person. Sound engineers, DJs and some musicians, because of their occupation, spend quite a long time in headphones (6-8 hours), while there is no research that representatives of these professions more often than others suffer from hearing problems.

Conclusions and recommendations

When used properly, the headphones are completely safe and cannot lead to hearing loss, inflammation, loss of intelligence or insanity. At the same time, regular use of high volume in order to drown out external loud sounds (metro, jet aircraft, industrial noise) can lead to irreversible hearing impairment.
To protect yourself from hearing damage when using headphones, it is enough to observe the following:

  • Do not use the headphones in the subway and other places with the same noise level,
  • Do not increase the volume above the level of more than 70-80% (different systems have different amplification options, you can say a few words, if you hear your voice - the volume level is acceptable),
  • Do not listen to music on headphones for more than 4 hours a day,
  • Do not fall asleep in headphones playing music,
  • For noisy places and the subway, try to use headphones with an active noise reduction system.


Watch the video: Is Your Hearing At Risk? Tips to Protect Your Ears (March 2020).