Will Loud Volume Damage Your Headphones? Answered

If listening to music is one of your favorite hobbies, you must be aware that loud volume can cause damage to your hearing abilities. While loud music can be helpful to cut background noises or increase your excitement levels, this kind of practice is unhealthy for your ears.

However, loud volume is not only bad for your ears but also for your headphones.

Will loud volume damage headphones?

Yes, because loud volume can cause excessive heat in your headphones drivers that can burn the driver coils. Once this happens, it will damage drivers and reduce their lifespan. The circuitry, an internal part of your headphones, will short-circuit when subjected to high volume and make them unusable.

In this article, we’ll learn about the damages of loud volume, how to prevent it, and how to check for the symptoms.

How loud is too loud for headphones?

According to the World Health Organization, any sound less than 80 decibels isn’t considered a risk. An average headphone is capable of producing sound at a range of 75 decibels to 136 decibels. So if you are listening to music above 80 decibels, it can cause irreparable damage to your ears and headphones.

But, it also depends on how long your headphones are being subjected to loud volume. Protecting your headphones simply means protecting your ears from loss of hearing. WHO recommends that the safe level is 80 decibels for 40 hours a week. So make sure you aren’t listening to music for more than 6-7 hours a day.

What damage can loud volume cause to your headphones?

Listening to loud music is always bad for your headphones. Here is what damage loud volume can cause to your headphones.

  • Your headphone drivers can overheat
    If you are listening to music at a loud volume in a regular manner, it can cause the internal components of your headphones to overheat which can damage the drivers. Ultimately, it will affect the sound quality of your headphones.
  • The Voice coil can break
    The voice coil is a cylinder-shaped coil of wire that receives electricity from the amplifier. The voice coil reacts with the speaker magnet, which causes the cylinder to move up and down. The speaker cone is connected to the cylinder, which creates air pressure as it travels, thereby producing sound. When subjected to loud volume, the voice coil in your headphones can break and make it futile.
  • Internal components can get damaged
    Your headphones are just not an empty piece of plastic. They have tiny internal components that are sensitive to loud volumes. If your headphones aren’t built to sustain high volume for a longer duration, the internal components can get short-circuited and become useless.
  • The diaphragm can break
    To move the air, the diaphragm vibrates, creating sound waves that your ears can hear. It generally features a thin membrane with different materials hung at the edges to enable vibration to pass through. Loud volume can cause the diaphragm to break and damage your headphones.
  • Your headphones can blow
    In the worst-case scenario, your headphones can catch fire and eventually blow, causing severe burns to your ears. While this case is extremely rare, it can happen due to the overloading of the amplification circuit. Since headphones are made of plastic, they can easily catch fire and burn.

How to protect your headphones from getting damaged?

Now that you know what damage loud volume can cause to your headphones, there are certain tips you can follow to avoid that:

  • Always keep your volume at moderate levels
    Unless you are listening to music in an extremely noisy environment, there’s no need to keep the volume at max. This will prevent any kind of potential damage to your headphones over time.
  • Use headphones with a noise-cancellation feature
    If you are forced to work in a noisy environment, use headphones with a noise-cancellation feature. These headphones are built to cut any background noise that can reach your ears. In that way, you won’t have to keep the volume at max and thus can ensure the longevity of your headphones.
  • Use headphones with a built-in volume limit feature
    Some headphones are manufactured with a volume limit feature that doesn’t allow you to raise the volume after a certain limit. This feature can come in handy if you are habituated to increasing the volume every time.

How do different types of headphones handle the loudness?

Headphones are of different types – noise-canceling headphones, earbuds, earphones, and regular headphones. Each of these headphones has different ways of handling the loudness. Let’s have a look below.

  • Regular Headphones for music
    Regular headphones, either wireless or wired, don’t have extra features to limit the volume or cut any background noise from reaching your ears. In that case, you might get tempted to increase the volume and cause damage to your headphones over time.
  • Noise Canceling Headphones
    Noise-canceling headphones prevent any kind of background noise in your environment from reaching your ears. It can help you resist the urge to raise the volume in a noisy environment. This way, you can keep your headphones and ears safe.
  • Earphones
    You don’t need to raise the volume as music can be heard more clearly than in headphones. Listening to loud music, however, above 80 decibels in these earphones can cause serious damage.
  • Earbuds
    Like earphones, they are too close to your ears but can be dangerous if you are listening regularly at high volume. Earbuds, in fact, are more prone to damage from high decibels than standard headphones due to their design and the fact that they sit so tightly in your ear.
  • Studio Headphones
    Studio headphones can handle loudness better than all other headphones since they are built to last long. They are used by professionals mostly for recording or mixing. They’re designed to withstand the rigors of field recording. They have tunings that try to render the source audio as closely as possible. Studio headphones also include user-replaceable components, so if something breaks, you can get a replacement from the manufacturer, and switch it out yourself.

How to check if your headphones are damaged?

If you aren’t sure whether your headphones have been damaged already or are going to, you can do some checks to find that out:

  • The first sign is a sudden decrease in the sound quality, like a loss of bass, which means your headphones are showing signs of damage.
  • The second sign is an unbalanced sound in both headphones. If that happens, one or both sides of your headphones might be about to lose their audio.
  • Another sign is a disturbance in the audio signals, like a buzzing sound.

If you are seeing these above symptoms on your headphones, there’s a good chance they have been subjected to a loud volume for a longer period of time. In that case, you should immediately get them checked by a professional.

The Takeaway

Summing up, loud volume can cause damage to your ears as well as your headphones. It’s easier to get carried away and get excited while listening to loud music. But if you want your headphones to last long, it is not recommended to do so.

Lastly, by following the above tips and precautions, you can avoid your headphones from getting damaged due to loud volume and keep them in good condition.

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