The Dangers of Headphones and Earphones

Every parent should be responsible for the health of their children's hearing. Find out why in this article.
The Dangers of Headphones and Earphones

Last update: 28 September, 2019

Sometimes parents aren’t always aware of the dangers of letting their children use headphones. Since they sometimes just want to get them out of their hair, they don’t monitor the volume levels of the music their children are listening to, how long they’re listening for, and other extremely important aspects. Read on to discover the dangers of headphones and earphones in the following article.

While you don’t need to go to extremes and prohibit the use of headphones completely, you do need to teach children what the limits are, so that they can look after their own health. Of course, this isn’t something that should only be mentioned once, but rather something you must keep a constant watch on to make sure they’re following your instructions.

The dangers of headphones

The smaller the child, the smaller the ear canal. This means that a healthy volume level for a baby isn’t the same as that of an adult. Obviously, an adult will always have a much more developed, more “tolerant” ear than a 4-year-old child.

A study in the Netherlands showed that there’s a direct relationship between the use of headphones and hearing loss in children. Incredibly, this loss can be up to 14%.

It also showed that the smaller they are, the more vulnerable they are to suffer hearing damage at concerts or sporting events, for example. Therefore, the use of headphones in children should be kept under supervision. Every parent should be responsible for the health of their child’s hearing.

How do the problems begin?

These days, most children have constant access to technology. The most common items are often some sort of music player and a set of headphones or earphones to go with it.

In order to prevent them from flooding the house with the sounds of their video game or their favorite songs, parents are increasingly asking them to put their headphones on.

But, by doing this, they’re in danger of creating a more serious problem. Children are left to their own devices (literally!) and don’t bother about keeping the volume low. On top of that, their parents often don’t even register just how long their children are listening to music or noise for.

The Dangers of Headphones and Earphones

There’s a very easy way to know if the volume of the music is too high: if you can hear the noise yourself in the room despite them wearing headphones. It’s imperative that you teach children to adjust the volume if you want them to use headphones or earphones.

You can also encourage them to listen to music at an acceptable volume without headphones from time to time.

Dangers of using headphones in children

1. Damage to the ear’s hair cells

Most earphones that come with mp3 players are poor quality, and not only do they fail to block ambient noise, but they play the bass poorly. Both factors make listeners increase the volume even more, and impair their auditory health further.

The high volume ends up damaging the hair cells until, eventually, they die. Unfortunately, these cells lack the ability to regenerate. Once they’re gone, they’re gone forever.

For this reason, you need to invest in good-quality headphones to give them a good listening experience. In addition to this, you should also teach them not to use earphones as a way of cutting out ambient noise.

2. Hearing loss and poor academic performance

When there is hearing loss, this can have an impact on the child’s academic performance. You’ll need to take your child to a hearing expert for a diagnosis and then follow their instructions. We shouldn’t take this issue lightly, as damage can become irreversible.

The Dangers of Headphones and Earphones


Finally, we’d like to mention that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends limiting listening time to one hour a day. Like us, the WHO recommends that the best way to prevent problems is to minimize exposure time, adjust the volume to an acceptable level, and use high-quality headphones.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.