Is It Safe to Have AirPods at Full Volume?

Is It Safe to Have AirPods at Full Volume?

 However, have you ever pondered the safety implications of cranking up the volume to the maximum?

It is not safe for your hearing. Prolonged exposure to high-volume sounds can damage the hair cells in your ears, leading to permanent hearing loss over time. This risk isn’t exclusive to AirPods but applies to headphones in general. The danger lies in the volume level and duration of exposure.

Modern headphones, including AirPods, can still experience wear and tear if consistently operated at or near maximum capacity. This can impact the device’s performance and longevity.

To protect your hearing and your device:

  • Adhere to safe listening practices. The World Health Organization recommends the 60/60 rule: keep headphone volume below 60% of the maximum level for no longer than 60 minutes at a time.
  • Be aware of the risks of increased background noise levels in environments like airplanes, which can push you towards harmful sound exposure levels.

Deciphering the Safe Decibel Levels

According to leading government agencies like CDC, NIOSH, and OSHA, limiting noise exposure to around 85 decibels (dB) is recommended for 8 hours. This guideline translates to about 60-65% of the maximum volume on average headphones.

Comparatively, most headphones can reach a maximum of 100 – 105 dB, considerably above the recommended limit. Remember that the decibel scale is logarithmic, meaning even small increases in decibels can represent significant changes in sound intensity.

Therefore, exceeding safe volume levels, even by a few decibels, can increase the risk of hearing damage. Think of it as a “sound dose” that accumulates over time – the more you exceed safe levels, the higher the potential for harm.

Using AirPods Daily: Balancing Safety and Enjoyment

It’s generally safe to use AirPods daily, but there are potential risks to be mindful of:

  • Extended high-volume usage can lead to hearing damage and discomfort.
  • To mitigate risks, take breaks, use proper fitting tips, keep AirPods clean, monitor volume levels, and use noise-canceling features when possible.
  • Be aware of potential risks such as hearing damage, infections, discomfort, radiation exposure, and environmental impact.

By practicing safe usage, you can enjoy your AirPods while protecting your health and minimizing your ecological footprint.

Airpods in Case

A Symphony of Cautious Listening

In the world of sound, it’s all about moderation and mindfulness. Prioritizing your hearing health is the first step towards ensuring that your AirPods or any other headphones remain enjoyable without compromising your auditory well-being.

Here are a few key takeaways to keep in mind:

  • Follow the 60/60 Rule

Set your headphone volume at 60% or lower and limit your listening time to 60 minutes or less daily.

  • Invest in Noise-Canceling Headphones

Headphones that cancel out background noise, such as AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, can allow you to enjoy your content at a lower, safer volume.

  • Take Breaks

Just as your eyes need breaks from staring at screens, your ears need breaks from continuous noise. Give your ears time to rest and recover between listening sessions.

  • Embrace Volume Limiting Functions

Numerous devices offer the option to establish volume restrictions. Utilize this capability to guarantee that you don’t accidentally subject your ears to detrimental noise intensities.

How Can I Measure Decibel Levels on My AirPods?

Open Settings on your iPhone, go to Control Center, add the “Hearing” control, and then access Control Center. Tap the ear icon to see a meter displaying the loudness in decibels (dB) while wearing your AirPods. Aim to keep the levels in the 60s or 70s for safe listening.

Here’s a step-by-step method to measure the dB level of your AirPods:

  • Open Settings: Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.

Airpods Settings

  • Control Center: Scroll down and tap “Control Center.”

Airpods Control Center

  • Add Hearing: Select “Customize Controls” and find “Hearing” in the list of available controls. Tap the green ‘+‘ button by it to add it to your Control Center.

AirPods Customize Controls

  • Access Control Center: Swipe down from the top right corner (or up from the bottom, depending on your iPhone model) to access the Control Center.

Apple - Access Control Center

  • Tap the Ear Icon: Look for the ear icon representing the Hearing control you added. Tap on it.

AirPods - Hearing Control

  • Check dB Levels: If you’re wearing your AirPods, you’ll see a meter displaying your headphones’ loudness in decibels (dB).

Why Are AirPods Hurting My Ears?

While suitable for many, there might be a better fit for everyone’s unique ear shape than the circular design of AirPods. The discomfort can be attributed to how the earbuds are placed, their fit, and the duration of usage. Some common reasons for ear pain include:

Improper Insertion

Placing AirPods too deep inside the ear canal can lead to discomfort, earaches, and even ear infections. The vibrations from the headphones can be too close to the eardrum in this scenario.

Adopt the correct insertion technique. Pull down your earlobe, insert the earbud into your ear, and turn the long side downward to sit alongside your earlobe. The earbud should create a gentle seal between your ear and the ear canal.

Incorrect Size Tips

AirPods come with different-sized tips, but using the wrong size for your ears can contribute to pain. Ill-fitting tips might not sit comfortably, leading to discomfort over time.

Experiment with different sizes of tips to find the best one that suits you. Apple’s AirPods Pro model includes small, medium, and large-sized tips. You can also use Apple’s Ear Tip Fit Test to determine the right size. Additionally, purchasing tips with extra padding, such as foam or silicone covers, can enhance comfort.

Extended Usage

Wearing AirPods for extended periods, typically over 90 minutes, can strain the cartilage in your ears and cause pain.

Take regular breaks from using AirPods. After every 90 minutes of usage, remove the earbuds, gently massage your ears, and let them rest for at least 5 to 10 minutes before reinserting. Longer breaks may be necessary if you continue to experience discomfort.

Ear and AirPod Case

Do AirPods Pro Offer Hearing Protection at Concerts?

While AirPods Pro in adaptive transparency mode does improve the sound quality and reduce the intensity, it isn’t enough for prolonged exposure. The noise-canceling mode effectively lowers sound levels but diminishes the immersive concert experience.

While earbuds like AirPods Pro offer some hearing protection, they may not be sufficient for loud concert environments. Their adaptive transparency mode falls short of providing comprehensive safeguarding.

Noise-canceling modes can help, but they might compromise the concert experience. The most reliable choice remains dedicated concert earplugs, which consistently offer dependable protection in noisy settings.

As earbuds’ active noise cancellation capabilities vary, relying on specialized earplugs for hearing protection is safer. Ultimately, having some form of hearing protection, even if it’s earbuds, is better than none in unexpectedly loud situations.

However, until earbuds are intentionally designed to double as hearing protection, the best bet for concert-goers is to keep a pair of dedicated concert earplugs on hand.

AirPods and VU Meter


As we explore whether it’s safe to crank up the volume on your AirPods, the importance of responsible listening practices becomes crystal clear. Your auditory health is a precious asset, and striking the right balance between enjoying your favorite music and safeguarding your ears should be at the forefront of your mind.

Remember that moderation is key in a world where convenience often collides with caution. While it might be tempting to drown out the world with thunderous beats, the potential risks associated with prolonged exposure to high volumes cannot be overlooked.

By keeping the volume at a reasonable level and taking breaks from your earbuds, you’re taking proactive steps to ensure that your auditory well-being remains intact for years. Your ears deserve nothing less than the best, and your journey to harmonious listening starts with informed decisions and a commitment to cherish the gift of sound.

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