Headphone Equalizer: Can an EQ Cause Damage or Ruin Them

You are a headphone owner, and your headphone’s sound is too loud or too low for your liking! This volume issue is a common problem not only with headphones but also with many other electronics. Some of these volume problems are factory defects, while others need some adjustments on your device. 

However, whatever the issue with the volume of your headphones, there are several ways by which you can solve them, one of which is to use equalizers (EQ). But you might have heard the many controversial discussions about headphones and equalizers. Which now leave you thinking if it is safe to use EQ with your headphones without ruining them. 

 The safety of using headphones with EQ depends on their usage. EQ by themselves can’t damage your headphones; use them wrongly, and you will damage your headphones, use them properly and enjoy the benefits of EQ., so whether or not EQ can ruin headphones depends on your usage. 

Now that you have your headphones and want to enjoy them, we have provided you with all you need to know about headphones and equalizers in this article. Stick around for a moment and learn more.

What is an equalizer?

An equalizer also called “EQ,” is an audio filter that isolates specific frequencies and boosts, decreases, or leaves them the same. You can find equalizers on a variety of electronic gadgets. 

What does an equalizer do?

An equalizer, rather than being a volume fader, which allows us to alter the overall level, allows us to turn up or down various frequencies and parts of the sound.

There is a basic note for every instrument. It features overtones in addition to the fundamental note.

The color of the audio transmission is changed using an equalizer. It could improve the clarity of vocals by increasing the treble frequency range. Enhancing the lowest frequencies could make a music sound “heavier.”

It can remove specific sounds from a recording, such as a fluorescent lighting fixture’s high-pitched buzz.

Can equalizer ruin headphones?

This question is very controversial, but we have the information we provide here to demystify the controversy. There is a LOUD YES and a BIG NO to answer this question.

Yes, headphones EQ can ruin them. But how?

 Headphones come with a prescription on the volume limit ( maximum volume). The limitation on volume is to protect both the headphone user and the headphones. Therefore, an equalization boost can potentially ruin your headphones if the audio you listen to is extremely loud and close to surpassing the headphone’s volume limit. 

The extra decibels produced by an EQ boost could potentially damage the headphones. An EQ boost can increase the overall volume of the music to the point where it exceeds the loudness limit of the headphones, causing them to blow.

However, listening to music at a normal volume will not ruin your headphones. This situation is rare (headphone damage by equalizer). Yes, it is rare because no human ear will be able to listen to volumes capable of ruining a headphone without first damaging the ear. And no one will intentionally want to blow their eardrum. 

How can you use headphones equalizers without ruining them?

Remember, we said it is rare but not impossible for your headphones equalizer to ruin them. So, we have decided to offer ways by which you can use the EQ but not damage the headphones.

Understanding what an equalizer accomplishes is helpful, but it isn’t enough to begin utilizing one. So, here are some tips that can help you use your headphone’s EQ correctly.

We advise that you read the four steps below before making any adjustments to your equalizer to learn how to use it properly to get the results you want.

Recognize the changes you’re making.

Instead of tweaking sliders at random, consider what you want to accomplish with the EQ. Are you in need of some bass? Is there anything in the song that is too piercing? Understanding what needs to be changed is a good place to start.

You can simplify things by focusing on the frequencies that each instrument uses.

A bass, for example, can be found on the frequency spectrum between 16 and 256 Hz. The bass will become more impactful and strong when you increase the lows. The same may be said for increasing any frequency. Cutting has the opposite effect by lowering the overall level of sounds in that range.

Identify and eliminate the problematic frequencies.

Cut the bits you don’t like instead of overriding unpleasant frequencies. You can lessen the frequency of the sound issue by locating it and reducing it to make all other noises more discernible.

Note: To determine the troublesome frequency, raise each frequency one by one. Take note of how the sound varies as the frequency increases.

Also, figure out which frequencies make the unpleasant sound stand out more, and then cut them off.

 Make use of filters.

Filters can help you get rid of distracting sounds in your audio. For example, if you captured a low rumble from a passing automobile. A high-pass filter will apply to everything below your set cut-off frequency.

The same is true when utilizing a low-pass filter to remove high-pitched ringing noises. Anything above the cut-off frequency is suppressed, thereby removing the undesirable noise.

Boost only when necessary.

A frequency can be made louder by increasing its frequency. This is useful for amplifying clear sounds, but it can be harmful if used excessively. The sound is distorted when a frequency is increased too high.

This will produce sound flaws, maybe making it sound worse. Always strive to trim before boosting, according to the EQ rule. 

Of course, your preferences will play a role in all of this. If you think the bass needs to be boosted, go ahead and do it as long as it sounds good.

Make use of EQ presets.

Software equalizers frequently use presets. They’re equalizer settings that have been pre-programmed for a specific kind of music. Presets are a great way to modify the sound of your music while you’re on the go because not everyone has time to discover the exact settings.

Presets, as useful as they are, aren’t always perfect. Presets aren’t perfect for every case because they only offer extremely general modifications.

Equalizer settings that have been fine-tuned will always be superior.


Headphone equalizers by themselves do not have any damaging effect on the headphones. Equalizers help to adjust the headphones’ volume.

But if you abuse the equalizers, you can cause potential damage to your headphones. However, this situation can be rare since your ears can readily detect whenever the volume is too loud.

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