Earbud Overuse: The Silent Plague on Hearing and Focus

Most of us spend lots of time each day with earbuds pumping sound into our ears, whether grooving out during a workout or getting the day started with a podcast.

While these small sonic feeding tubes might provide soothing sounds to our thoughts and moods, they can also cause hearing impairment. Is it wrong to use earbuds every day?

In-ear gadgets are rarely a problem when used properly. However, long-term earphone use, such as wearing them all day, can compress earwax, making it less fluid and more difficult for the body to release. Compress the earwax to the point that the body starts to inflame.

However, it is feasible to avoid this with a little forethought and work. Continue reading to learn more about the effect of earbuds overuse.

Athletic man wearing wireless earbuds in his ears while out in the city

What happens when you wear earbuds for too long?

In-ear devices are rarely problematic when used properly. However, long-term earbud use, such as wearing them all day, may;

  1. Compressed the earwax, rendering it less fluid and more difficult for the body to remove naturally.
  2. Condense the earwax to the point of causing inflammation; white blood cells migrate to the location. As a result, attracting a lot of cells in the obstruction.
  3. If the level is adjusted too high, it can harm your hearing.
  4. Earplugs trap sweat and moisture, making them more susceptible to bacterial and fungal diseases.
  5. If the pads of the earbuds are not cleaned properly, or if they are contaminated with bacteria or infectious agents, they will reduce overall ear hygiene.
  6. Obstruct airflow and prevent wet earwax from drying out. When earwax remains sticky for an extended period, it promotes earwax build-up.

How do earbuds affect your health?

It’s not simply about the amount of noise. The time you spend each day using headphones or earbuds to listen to electronics can also lead to hearing problems later in life.

Also, headphones and earbuds can influence hearing loss in children and young adults.

Children, teenagers, and young adults also listen to music at volumes exceeding the worldwide recommended public health limit for many hours daily.

Studies have proven that high noise levels can affect hearing loss in the future.

So children, teenagers, and young adults are more vulnerable if they listen to music at volumes that surpass the public health limit of 70 decibels.

It is the average recreational noise exposure per day set by The National Institutes of Health (NIH)Trusted Source.

 Again, according to research, it has been proven that about half of adults aged 12 to 35 are at risk of hearing loss due to continuous and excessive exposure to loud sounds, such as music played on portable audio devices.

There are some ways to protect your hearing and set healthy noise limits.

“First and foremost, stick to the 60/60 rule,” referring to maximal volume and time percentage. It also recommends using older, larger headphones that sit over the ear hole rather than earbuds inserted straight into the ear.

Also, Moderation is crucial whether using headphones or earbuds. It is preferable to prevent hearing loss by simply avoiding excessive usage of listening equipment.” ​​​​

What are the side-effects of overuse of earbuds?

Here are eight issues that can arise if you use earbuds for an extended period.


How often do you use earphones to listen to music? If more often than, note that loud noise can cause increased pressure in the ear canal, you should limit its use. As a result, you will become dizzy.

Hearing impairment.

You risk injury if you keep your headphones left in for a long period of time. You’ll be shocked to find that using earphones to listen to music while driving might result in either temporary or permanent hearing loss.

Hair cells become less sensitive and bend down abnormally in response to vibration. There could be temporary or permanent hearing loss as a result.

Ear pain.

If you use earbuds that are not properly fitted, this issue may arise. Or do you frequently wear headphones? If you’re doing it improperly, it could cause pain or discomfort in your inner ear.


Loud noise from earbuds can harm the hair cells in your cochlea, resulting in a raring or ringing sound in your ear or your head.


Tinnitus patients are prone to developing hyperacusis and heightened sensitivity to even environmental sounds.

Hearing loss from noise (Non-Induced Hearing Loss)

A lot of noise makes it difficult to relax. NIHL can be caused by a loud noise from long-term use of earbuds.

Sticky ear

Do you use earphones to listen to music when you’re working or traveling? Then, be aware that prolonged earphone use may result in ear wax formation, raising the possibility of ear infections, hearing impairment, or ringing in the ear.

Ear infection

Earbuds are plugged directly into the ear canal and obstruct the airway. It will increase the risk of ear infections. Using earbuds causes bacteria to develop and remain on the earbuds. It can also infect the ear if the dosage is increased. 

As a result, avoid sharing earphones because bacteria from your ear will be transferred to the person you share your earphones with, thus infecting the person as well.

Notes! Earphones should be limited to one hour every day. So limit the hours of usage of earphones so as to avoid ear irritation or hearing loss.

How to reduce the risk of damage from earbuds

Turn down the Volume

Sounds are measured in decibels. Even after prolonged exposure, hearing damage is unlikely if the sound is below 60 dB.

However, prolonged exposure to loud sounds above 85 dB might cause hearing loss. While it is difficult to determine the decibel output of gadgets, the best practice is to keep the volume at 50% and reduce listening time to avoid hearing damage.

Take Regular Breaks

Long periods spent listening to loud music through earphones can cause irreversible damage to the ears. As a result, it is good to always take a break between uses to allow the ears to get a good rest.

Every 30 minutes or 60 minutes take a 5-minute or 10-minute break.

Instead of earbuds, use headphones.

We frequently confuse the phrases headphones and earbuds, but they are not interchangeable. Earbuds are little, rigid plastic or silicone devices worn in the ears.

On the other hand, headphones are devices worn over the ears and cover most of the ear. Headphones create a space between the ear canal between the sound and the eardrum.

Final Thoughts

When utilizing earbuds, the principles listed above are critical to remember. Again, to avoid ear infections, it is also important to avoid sharing earbuds with others and sanitize them daily.

Again, if you use your earbuds properly, you won’t need to be concerned about damaging your ears. Now you may enjoy your music without being concerned about the dangers of earbuds.

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