image of kid with headphones

Whether you are jamming to your favorite tunes or catching up on your favorite TV show, earbuds are great little devices to have around. But did you know that they can damage your hearing as much as the noise from chainsaws and motorcycles can? While chainsaws and motorcycle engines create up to 100 decibels of sound, an mp3 player at only 70% volume can reach 85 decibels of sound. Now, imagine pumping up to full volume and listening for hours – you may be putting yourself in real danger of permanent hearing loss.

Hearing loss from earbuds is called noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), a condition becoming more and more common among children and teens. It happens when damage is done to the cochlea, a part of your inner ear. Because NIHL happens gradually, a lot of people don’t realize they have hearing loss until it’s too late. Here are some signs to look for:

  • Ringing, buzzing, or roaring in your ears
    after hearing a loud noise
  • Muffling of sounds


Luckily, NIHL is not inevitable and 100% preventable. Just remember the 60/60 rule:
Listen at no more than 60% of the top volume, and limit the time you have earbuds in your ears to 60 minutes.

If you believe you or a loved one has signs of hearing loss, speak to your doctor as soon as possible.

Adapted from