Is noise cancelling bad for your ears? Here’s the thing

Noise-canceling headphones are designed to cancel out external noise. This is great for people who work in noisy environments, like construction workers or factory employees. It’s also good for travelers because it helps them sleep through the sounds of an airplane cabin or busy airport terminal.

However, many people ask themselves “is noise cancelling is bad for your ears”.

The short answer?

No, they aren’t, but let’s check why and how you can keep your ears safe.

are noise cancelling headphones bad for your ears

How does noise cancelling work?

Noise cancelling works by creating a sound wave that matches the noise in your environment. The headphone then plays this opposite sound, which cancels out the original. This is called active noise cancellation and it uses batteries or a power source to work.

There’s also passive noise canceling, which doesn’t require power but sometimes it’s not as effective as it relies on the materials used to absorb and block exterior sound. That’s why it’s also called noise isolation and here’s a comparison between isolating and noise cancelling.

It’s important to note that noise cancelling only reduces outside sounds, it doesn’t eliminate them completely. This is because your ears are still exposed to external noises. For example, if you’re trying to sleep on an airplane with noise-canceling headphones or earbuds, you’ll still hear some of the engine roar, but much quieter.

Also, if the sounds you’re trying to block aren’t constant or low frequency noises (like voices), noise cancelling technology won’t work very well.

But are noise cancellation headphones bad for your ears?

No. Noise-canceling headphones are safe to use and won’t be damaging or harmful in any way. However, you can still damage your hearing with these devices if the volume isn’t kept at a reasonable level. If you’re listening to music on high volumes through noise cancellation earbuds or headphones, then there’s a chance of hurting your ears without even realizing it!

In fact, it doesn’t matter if your headphones have noise cancelling technology or not. If you’re listening to music at very high volumes, you’re still going to risk damaging your ears.

In fact, noise cancelling headphones could be beneficial for your ears as they block ambient noises, thus reducing the need to listen to music at high volumes.

They can also be great for focusing or if you work in super noisy environments such as construction sites or night bars where music is pumping loud for hours during the night. Isolating headphones would work better in that case though.

is noise cancelling bad for your ears - isolating headphones for construction

So, what can you do to protect your ears?

Now that you know noise cancelling headphones are not bad for your ears, you can start looking into other ways to protect them.

1. Protect your ears from loud noises

If you’re constantly exposed to noisy environments like airports or construction sites, noise cancellation earbuds or headphones might be a great option! They will still let in some ambient noises so that you remain aware of your surroundings and don’t get hit by cars when crossing the street.

But they also reduce external sounds, allowing you to enjoy music at lower volumes or simply be relaxed without hurting your ears over time. Overall it’s better than blaring loud songs on regular earphones when you can’t hear properly because of all the noise around you.

2. Keep that volume down

Noise cancelling earbuds or headphones are great for reducing outside sounds, but you still need to be careful with your listening volume. If the music is too loud and if you listen to it way longer than what’s considered safe, then there will be damage done over time with or without noise cancellation technology.

It might not happen right away because our ears can get used to a certain volume level, which means they don’t detect it as loudly anymore – this is called auditory fatigue. This doesn’t mean it’s any safer though! Your hearing could already suffer from serious long-term effects without feeling pain in your ears at all.

is noise cancelling bad for your ears - turn volume down

We recommend keeping those volumes between 70% and 80% in any device (that’s why your computer and mobile phone have safe limits in the audio settings) when using noise cancelling earbuds or headphones. The recommended levels for safe listening are 60 dB or lower.

Conclusions – Is noise cancelling bad for your ears?

So here’s a quick recap: noise cancelling technology won’t do any harm to your ears. However, you still need to take precautions when using headphones and earbuds with or without this technology.

There are other ways to protect your ears, such as limiting the amount of time you’re exposed to loud noises and using foam earplugs if necessary. Don’t forget that hearing loss is permanent! The damage done by high volumes will stay with you for life so it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to protecting your ears.

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