How Long Should You Keep Headphones on Per Day?

The statistics of people on the verge of losing their hearing ability isn’t exactly a good one. Perhaps the older people’s effort in asking teens to cut down their headphone use may hopefully start paying off. This wouldn’t of course be of much help if the average healthy listening time is not adhered to.

So, is there a limit to wearing your headphones a day? The answer to the question on how long you should wear your headphones per day is best provided professionally by WHO, which advises 1 hour per day for listening volumes not exceeding 60%.

A lot of headphone users even go beyond the specified healthy listening duration and volume threshold too. They wriggle at the pleasure minimized listening volume levels and time cost them. Belong here? Find out why and how you can adhere to the specified safety level without actively missing out on the fun.

How Long is too Long for Headphones?

The duration of sound levels you’re exposed to should matter to you if you care about the risk of ear damage. Simply stated, heightened sounds with less exposure are prone to damage your ears. Occupational Safety and Health Administration(OSHA)  mandates all employers to provide hearing protection for employees that are constantly exposed to 85dB for more than 8 hours.

Now, this may sound like a long time to have that much noise. What makes it quite ironic is that headphone used at only slightly higher sound levels exposes the user to ear damage in less than an hour.

Essentially, listening at a comfortable level would be innocuous for an unlimited amount of time, though it is key to balance the duration of use with the loudness of exposure. To offer you more insightful help on your quest to salvage your eardrums, consider these safety guidelines:

  • The louder the volume, the less time you should spend listening. Want to know why? Again it’s straightforward- Exposure to high levels of sound for prolonged periods can damage your ears.

So, if you have bought headphones with a high decibel level, cut down your use until your ears adjust to them. Most audiophiles prefer opting for headphones with high decibel levels, not considering what effect that wind has on their ears if not used rightly.

  • If you can, take occasional breaks during your listening time where you don’t have the headphones on at all or lift them off your ear with your music still on, so your body can recover.
  • Different music styles or genres differ in terms of the potential damage they can do to your ears. Some music styles can play at volumes that won’t cause damage to your ears, while some at that same volume would be a huge risk. So, listening to upbeat music at elevated volumes may be doing huge damage to your ear.

How Do I Set the Safest Volume for my Headphone?

Due to most devices’ ability to go as high as 120 decibels, which is like hosting a party in your ears, hearing loss can occur after about an hour of listening or more. How do you know your music is loud at an unsafe level? If you can’t hear anything happening around you, like a friend asking you a question a foot away, then your music is too loud.

Audiologists caution you don’t turn your volume up beyond 60% of the maximum volume while using your headphones. In addition to that, your listening time shouldn’t exceed 60 minutes per day. A good balance would be, the louder the sound, the shorter you should listen.

By this, if you turn up the volume to the maximum, the specified safety level matched to that would be 5 minutes per day.

To aid you, you can use equalizers for tone-balancing. This allows you to adjust the amplitude while still enjoying music at a lower volume. The treble, the bass, as well as high or low frequencies can be adjusted so you can listen without blasting out your eardrums.

For headphones, it would depend on the type and the environment you’re located in for setting a safe volume level. To determine a safe listening level, turn up your headphone to your preferred volume. Take them off your ears and hold them out in front of you.

If you can still hear your music clearly, you need to turn the volume down. To get an undisturbed result, you may need to carry this out in a serene environment. If you’re using open-back headphones, try having a conversation with someone close by.

If the music doesn’t disrupt the clarity of the conversation, your listening volume is healthy. When using your headphone for a professional application, an audio limiter may come in handy. It helps you stay protected from the effect of long-term hearing.

This, however, doesn’t change the rules – 60 minutes per day, never exceeding 60% of the maximum volume.

How Does High Volumes Expose Me to Hearing Loss?

You may be wondering if the sound isn’t supposed to be a tool for communication and awareness of our surroundings. True, sound is a crucial mode of communication that also keeps us aware of our environment.  However, the inner ear is essentially sensitive to the balance of sound that it is exposed to.

There are thousands of auditory cells in the ear, some of which have hair-like structures whose function is to transmit sound from the ear to the brain. The overwhelming volume of sound can cause these cells to become damaged permanently. This, in turn, disrupts the mechanism of sound transmission.

Damage may also happen via the link between the hair and nerve cells, which can be disrupted by excess sound even if the hair cells are still functional. Hence, one thing is quite obvious: High levels of sound are harmful.


Headphones volume should never be increased beyond 60% of the maximum volume, nor should they be played for more than 60 minutes per day at such volumes. Experts designate this as the 60/60 rule. Noise-canceling headphones help you enjoy music at safe volumes that wouldn’t pose any sort of threat to your ears. Also, you should follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for safe use of the product or brand. This is because certain features built into it require certain kinds of adherence.

Recent Posts