How much Headphone use is too much? (Side Effects, Guides)

The most common question about headphones is how much headphone use is too much? Let’s see about it with relevant questions like side effects, per day limit to wearing, brain damage, Ear damage, can use for sleeping, etc.

How much headphone use is too much

How much Headphone use is too much?

The only problem with the headphone usage is that adults and children tend to use it longer and set it at a louder volume. Let us understand the two major factors that make headphone usage extreme.

Loudness level

The threshold of headphone usage depends on the loudness level. Many doctors and experts claim that if you want to listen for long hours then a loudness of 60 dB to 80 dB is the optimum level. In general, whatever may be the device you are using the headphone with, keep the volume at half of the total volume available.

Hearing through headphones for long hours should be done only with a lower volume setting. Because the headphones are in near proximity to the ear canal and hearing at a louder noise level for long hours damages the eardrum. Therefore, optimizing the loudness and duration is crucial to avoid too much headphone usage.


As for the duration, you can follow the 60-60 rule. The rule states that you should set the volume at 60% of the maximum level and hear it for 60 minutes. Then you must take a break from your headphone and relax your ears. Anything above this limit is considered unhealthy for the ears.

If you are setting a louder level of volume, then you should reduce your hearing time with the headphone. When the setting is on max, then you should only spend 5 minutes hearing at that level. Anything exceeding these limits is considered too much headphone usage.

How long should you wear headphones a day?

Headphones can be worn only for one hour per day at a volume setting of 60%. This is the recommended duration from the World Health Organization. This may seem impractical because many people now depend on the usage of headphones. But this is the best recommended duration to keep up your auditory health.

The duration is set to a maximum of one hour per day due to the increasing number of people with hearing loss. Among those people, about 1.1 billion are from the age group of 12 to 35 with the risk of the condition. Therefore, it is best to keep the usage of headphones to one hour. If you would like to use it for longer hours then take a break every one hour and use it at the lowest possible volume.

Read:How to Fix a Broken Headphone Cable?

What are the side effects of using headphones?

Prolonged usage of headphones may lead to the following side effects:

  • Head Ache and Migraines
  • Ear pain
  • Accumulation of Ear wax which may lead to infection
  • Tinnitus
  • Hyper sensitivity to normal sounds which is called as Hyperacusis
  • Dizziness
  • Ear infections
  • Noise induced Hearing Loss

Among these, there are certain effects that lead to mental health problems. For example, tinnitus may lead to a disturbed mind and hyperacusis may lead to anxiety. There are reports of people starting to get vertigo with prolonged usage.

Many people start to lack focus on what they are doing after increased usage of headphones. The side-effects of prolonged usage are very severe and it is best to avoid long hours of hearing with headphones.

Are headphones bad for your brain?

No, headphones do not affect the brain in any way. Rather they are harmful to the ear and the auditory nerves. They get damaged with excessive usage eventually leading to hearing loss. This may have only an insignificant effect on the brain.

There is no direct effect on the brain with the usage of headphones. Even the latest Bluetooth headphones which work via radio waves, do not have a significant effect on the brain. It is very well under the limit fixed by the WHO. So, with any type of headphones, the brain isn’t affected in any way.

Read: How Bluetooth headphone noise cancellation works?

Is it bad to wear headphones to sleep?

In general, yes, it is bad to wear headphones to sleep. Because, first of all, it affects your sleep without your knowledge. Your ear and body will be continuously working if you are hearing something with a headphone. This leads to poor deep sleep and you may feel tired even after 8 hours of sleep.

Apart from this, earwax production is increased when you have closed your ears with a headphone. This may lead to infection eventually. Practically, it will be quite uncomfortable to sleep with headphones on.

This interferes with your sleep cycle and the whole body gets tired without proper sleep. Therefore, it is best to remove headphones before sleep and yes, it is bad to sleep with them.

Read: How to use Headphone Amp with Audio Interface?

How can I use headphones without damaging my ears?

With certain guidelines, you may reduce the effects of headphones and use them for a long period. First of all, try to set your volume level to the lowest audible setting. Ensure that the volume level is comfortable. Take short breaks for every one hour of headphone usage.

Apart from this, you can try using over-the-head headphones which don’t get very close to the ear canal. There are also noise-canceling headphones that can help you to filter the noise and use it with a lower volume setting. With such techniques, you may be able to use them for long hours.


Headphones give you privacy and let you hear the things you like very closely. It gives a better hearing experience than any other mode. But everything has limits and headphones also should be used within their limit to avoid major effects like hearing loss.

Scroll to Top