You really should use over-the-ear headphones — here’s why

Audio / Fitness & Health

Earbuds add about nine decibels to sound output because they sit closer to your eardrum compared to over-the-ear headphones.

Earbuds are more portable and lighter than over-the-ear headphones, hence why many people prefer them. It doesn’t hurt that you can buy earbuds from various brands in your choice of attractive colors.

However, it’s time to consider permanently trading those audio accessories for over-the-ear headphones. Hearing loss can happen when an extremely loud sound tears your eardrum. Mostly though, it occurs through nerve damage, sometimes in less than a minute at high decibel levels.

The damage to the nerves we’re concerned with here happens over time as you listen to music or other audio content. Some smartphones go as loud as 120 decibels, and listening to one album at full volume could cause noticeable hearing loss.

Earbuds add about nine decibels to sound output because they sit closer to your eardrum compared to over-the-ear headphones. Plus, over-the-ear headphones usually block more environmental noise than earbuds, causing people using earbuds to listen to things more loudly than they otherwise might.

Duration of loud noises also plays a role in determining the extent of hearing loss. That’s why the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends only listening to audio with portable ear accessories for an hour per day and not letting the volume level get above 60 percent of the maximum. Many smartphones have on-screen warnings that pop up when you listen too loudly, and it’s wise to heed them.

Now, let’s look at some of the best over-the-ear headphones that help you enjoy tunes while safeguarding your hearing.

1. Mpow 059 Wireless Headphones

The stainless steel slider on the headband of these over-the-ear headphones let you get a snug fit. It should permit listening to music at lower volumes, lowering the risk of hurting your hearing.

Also, this model offers passive noise cancellation. Most people usually prefer active noise cancellation due to the way it adjusts to the environment, but considering the budget-friendly price of these headphones, you’ll likely be pleased with the performance.

If you like options when listening to your music for pleasure or to purposefully boost productivity but hate running out of battery life, rest assured that these options have Bluetooth functionality but provide up to 20 hours per charge. The foldable design and included bag maximize portability as well.

Price: $34.99 and up depending on the color

2. Bose QuietComfort Wireless Headphones II

Bose is one of the most recognized names in audio accessories. Made with advanced active noise-canceling technology, these choices make it easy to tune out the world around you without cranking up the volume too high and increasing the likelihood of hearing loss causing disruptive symptoms. Use the integrated switch to adjust the amount that the feature takes effect.

Besides listening to music with these accessories, it’s possible to use them with the Google Assistant and interact with a compatible device by only using voice commands.

Due to the way they include impact-resistant materials, you can feel confident about taking them wherever you go and knowing they’ll stand up to your busy lifestyle. Plus, components like the corrosion-resistant stainless steel help the headphones look great through years of use.

Price: $349.95

3. AKG K72 Closed-Back Studio Headphones

An innovatively designed acoustic chamber that sits between the earcup and headband hinge ensures music gets delivered to your ears and doesn’t leak out from around the sides of these headphones. Also, the open style of the self-adjusting headband makes this model impressively lightweight, while the breathable material of the earcups keeps you cool during warm days.

Price: $49.00

4. Sony 1000XM2 Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones

The high-tech active noise-canceling technology inside these headphones adjusts according to your altitude and the atmospheric pressure. This feature makes the headphones great for using while flying and creates excellent listening experiences every time you use them.

Check out the complementing app and use it to alter some capabilities of the headphones, such as an Ambient Noise Control. It makes it easier to hear things in your environment that you wouldn’t want to miss, such as announcements about arriving trains or flights.

You can talk to people without removing your headphones, too. Placing your hand over the outside of one of the earcups turns the sound down in an instant and makes conversations more comfortable for yourself and the person addressing you.

Besides offering 30 hours of battery life per charge, these headphones have a fast-charging feature. After connecting them to a power source for just ten minutes, you’ll have enough juice to listen for over an hour.

Price: $349.99

Based on this list and the research above, it should be evident that there are compelling reasons to break your dependence on earbuds and make the switch to over-the-ear headphones — which have plenty of perks in their own right.

Hearing loss is not something that only affects older populations, and you can proactively reduce your risk of experiencing it by using headphones and remaining mindful of the volume level and listening duration.

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