They can. Here’s what you need to know.
Wondering do AirPods affect your hearing? Here’s something that you need to know. But before we jump into the heart of the matter it’s important to note that you shouldn’t take any information in this article as medical advice. Your hearing is precious and if you have concerns about your hearing health or how your specific AirPods use may affect your hearing, talk to your doctor or hearing professional.
Listening To Audio Via Earbuds & Hearing Problems
No matter if you are wearing AirPods, other earbuds, over-the-ear headphones, or just listening to music over the radio loudly, prolonged exposure over time listening to loud sounds can damage your hearing.
This damage comes in many forms, but two of the most common are progressive hearing loss and tinnitus.
Progressive hearing loss occurs over time and is the cumulative effect of listening to loud sounds over a prolonged period – even with gaps in between each listening period. With progressive hearing loss, your ability to hear becomes weaker as time goes on. At first, you might not notice this, but after years you’ll soon realize you can’t hear as well as you used to.
And progressive hearing loss can actually make you listen to music more loudly, which in turn continues to damage your hearing. This is because you may (consciously or not) increase the average volume of the, for example, music you are listening to because it sounds quieter than it used to.
Tinnitus is another horrible hearing condition that results in a ringing in your ears. The ringing may be intermittent or constant, but it’s always emotionally tolling. However, while tinnitus can be caused by exposure to loud noises, it can also be caused by a brain tumor in rare instances, so always have your symptoms checked out by a doctor.
How To Limit The Harm To Your Hearing While Using AirPods
Due to the fact that any earbuds can damage your hearing, it’s important to take precautions when listing with your AirPods in. Common sense applies here: don’t listen to audio via your AirPods (or any other earbuds) too loudly.
The Cleaveland Clinic has an excellent article on how to safely listen to music without damaging your ears. One great takeaway is from audiologist Sharon A. Sandridge, PhD. She notes, “If someone who’s standing an arm’s length away can hear the music coming from your headphones or earbuds, or if you raise your voice to speak to someone while you’re listening to something, it’s too loud.”
How To Check Your Average Volume Level
The iPhone’s Health app has a cool feature (in iOS 14, iOS 15, and later) that allows you to check the average headphone audio levels. This applies to AirPods or any other earbuds or headphones you use with your iPhone. Here’s how to check yours:
- Open the Health app on iPhone.
- Tap the Browse button at the bottom of the screen.
- Tap Hearing.
- Under the “Past 7 Days” heading tap where is says Headphone Audio Levels.
- On. The Headphone Audio Levels, you can tap to see average headphone audio levels by hour, day, week, month, or year.
For reference, the World Health Organization says “the daily recommended safe volume level is below 85 dB for duration of a maximum of eight hours.”
Do AirPods Affect Your Hearing?
They can. But not because there is something inherently wrong with AirPods. Any in-ear devices that emit sound have the potential to harm your hearing if you use them without caution. In other words, if you listen to music or other audio via your AirPods at too loud a volume for too long, you can damage your hearing.
But again, this isn’t AirPods-specific. This is true of any earbud and headphones – or even regular speaker systems. Listening to extremely loud sounds for a prolonged period of time can damage your ears, leading to hearing loss or conditions such as tinnitus.
Remember, you only have one set of ears – so take precautions and protect them.
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.