Parenting Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for parents, grandparents, nannies and others with a parenting role. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Are there any health risks in earbuds?

Assuming moderate use (say, no more than 1-2 hours a day) of music that is not overly loud - e.g. no heavy metal but some classic rock on their MP3 players - is there any health related reason to force children to listen to music from a speaker vs earbuds?

Just to clarify - these are their separate personal earbuds at home; so there's no hygienic concern at all.

Merely physical effect on the ear from the earbud being there; or effect on hearing.

share|improve this question
Heavy metal is not the problem, per se. It's the volume. Loud Bachman Turner Overdrive is much more dangerous for the ears than soft Black Sabbath. – Dave Clarke May 21 '14 at 14:19
You do not mention loudness apart from "not overly loud". That should be "as loud as a spoken conversation, and not much louder". Hearing loss from headphone use is totally avoidable - quiet music and short sessions. – DanBeale May 21 '14 at 20:31
There might be a way to control the maximum volume on whatever devices they are using. So you can set the max to what you think is good, and not allow them to turn it up higher. (iPods have this feature, but I'm not sure what else does) – Bobo May 29 '14 at 0:32

The rule of thumb for traditional headphones is that if you as a parent can hear the music your child is listening to, it's too loud and your child should turn the volume down before they start damaging their hearing.

Earbuds leak less sound, though, so you have a harder time policing the volume level. By the time it gets loud enough for you to hear, your child may already be damaging their hearing.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.