AirPods Could be Extremely Dangerous to Your Ears. Learn to Mitigate.

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This informative article highlights the possible risks that Airpods may pose to your hearing health. In order to protect your sensitive auditory system, it is crucial to become familiar with proper usage since Apple Airpods account for about 60% of the wireless earbud market worldwide.


Airpods have brought about a revolution in audio experiences, seamlessly connecting us to our devices thus enabling us to effortlessly enjoy music, podcasts, and calls. Nevertheless, along with this unmatched convenience, there are also many potential risks, particularly when used carelessly.


Before learning further about how airpods cause ear damage, Let’s first gain a basic understanding of what airpods are and how they operate technologically. The relatively easy-to-use Airpods have an earbud for each ear (left and right). To help users determine which airpod to insert in which ear, a small “L” and “R” are typically printed on the devices. They also have optical sensors and accelerometers, which can detect motion and whether you are wearing the device or not, respectively.

Loud Volume in Airpods: A Serious Concern

Decibel (dB) is basically a unit used to measure how loud an audio or sound is. Most of the time, your home has a noise level of about 40 dB, which is considered to be normal or safe for your ears. On the other hand, the sound level is generally around 60 dB when you are outside. Once again, there is no danger so there is no need to worry.
hearing loss
  • Decibel (dB) Levels: Normal sound levels at home and outdoors are safe, but exposure to sounds above 85 dB for extended periods can be harmful. Thus, you need to be careful with the audio volume as airpods cause ear damage above this decibel.


  • Impact on Cochlea: Loud noise can damage the hair cells and fluid present in the cochlea, leading to temporary or permanent hearing loss. These tiny hair cells are crucial for sending nerve signals to the brain, allowing us to hear sounds.

Real-Life Incident

A real-life incident in Texas serves as a testimony to the dangerous effects of using airpods as a 12-year-old boy suffered permanent hearing loss when an Amber Alert suddenly played at high volume in his AirPods. 


In fact, the boy was watching Netflix at a low volume only when the sudden alert shattered his eardrums and permanently damaged his cochlea in the inner ear. The boy’s right ear was predominantly affected due to which he even suffered from dizziness, nausea, and vertigo.  As a result, he has to wear a hearing aid for the rest of his life.  His distraught parents even filed a lawsuit against Apple claiming that their airpods were defective.


The couple has argued that Airpod users are at risk of sudden dangerous sounds caused by alerts and notifications. Apparently, these features cannot be totally controlled which increases the level of risk. This tragic occurrence highlights how Airpods can cause ear damage, especially when exposed to intense and loud audio unexpectedly.

Airpods- A Risk to Young People

A study conducted has found that around 17 percent of teenagers in America have some form of hearing loss due to noise. Moreover, recent research also shows that wearing airpods or headphones for too long and at a high decibel has affected and increased the risk of hearing loss in over one billion young people.


The following contains a list of all the issues that you may suffer from due to wrong or prolonged use of airpods:


  • Hearing Loss from Airpods: People who use Airpods for extended periods of time at loud volumes are more to developing health issues and hearing loss. This case is true especially for young people whose auditory systems are still developing. As stated before, long-term exposure to loud audio can cause irreversible damage to the sensitive hair cells that make up the cochlea, which are responsible for carrying sound signals to the brain.


  • Increased Risk of Ear Infections: Improperly fitted Airpods or too much usage can lead to ear pain and create a warm, moist environment within the ear canal, creating the perfect conditions for bacteria growth and ear infections. When Airpods do not fit properly, they can cause discomfort and may even press against the ear canal, obstructing proper ventilation. 


  • Airpods Disrupt Ear Wax Removal: Airpods may obstruct the natural pathway for ear wax removal, leading to the accumulation of debris, bacteria, and earwax impaction which disrupts the hearing capability and general health.


  • Tinnitus Linked to Airpods: Listening to loud music through Airpods for extended periods can trigger tinnitus. It is a distressing condition characterized by continuous ringing or buzzing sensations in the ears. The constant bombardment of loud audio can cause irritation to the auditory system and lead to tinnitus symptoms.


  • Auditory Fatigue from Airpods: Extended exposure to audio through Airpods can lead to auditory fatigue. This is quite a serious condition where the ears become less sensitive to sound, resulting in reduced hearing sensibility. 


  • Long-term Hearing Damage from Airpods: Constantly exposing your ears to loud music through Airpods over time can cause permanent hearing damage that may not be reversible. This is because prolonged exposure to high audio volumes can result in irreversible harm to the fluid and hair cells in the cochlea, which if too shocked may not return to its normal state. 


  • Dependency on Airpods and Headphones: Frequent reliance on Airpods and headphones can lead to a habit of using them in various situations, increasing the potential risks associated with prolonged listening. Individuals may become accustomed to continuous audio stimulation, leading to a dependency on these devices.


  • Dependency on Hearing Aids: Severe hearing damage caused by Airpods can result in the need for hearing aids at a young age, negatively impacting the quality of life of the person. Such a dependency can affect social interactions, educational experiences, and overall well-being.

Remedies to protect your ear

If you wish to protect your ears from damage while using airpods or other devices, you need to keep certain things in mind. These are:


  • Lower the Volume: The first obvious practice is to always maintain the volume at a normal level which will not damage your ears. Do not go beyond 80 decibels under any circumstances.


  • Switch to noise-canceling headphones: Most people turn their volume up as the noise in their surroundings increase. If you are among those people, try using noise-cancelling headphones. These devices identify and monitor the external sounds and generate sound waves which nullify them. Thus, you can listen to your favorite music without any worry!


  • Take frequent breaks: This is a simple but effective practice. Make sure to take breaks from using airpods, headphones, or other devices. This helps to prevent ear damage and noise-induced hearing loss.  You can take a five-minute break every half an hour or a 10-minute break in an hour according to your preferences. You can also follow the 60/60 rule where you use airpods for 60 minutes at 60 percent volume to be safe. 


  • Volume Limit: You can set the volume limit in your device to ensure that you get a warning when you try to increase it. On iPhone, the steps are: go to settings, click on music, and then set the volume limit. 


  • Install Health-Tracker Apps: You can also download Health-Tracker applications on your phone to track and monitor the duration you are using your airpods. 


  • Clean your airpods: Most people forget this crucial step. Continuously using airpods without cleaning them can give rise to ear infections. Dirt and debris often get trapped in the earpieces and need to be cleaned for good ear health. 


  • Educate Others: You need to share regarding the possible dangers and solutions of using airpods with everyone. Regular awareness about how Airpods cause ear damage and promoting proper hygiene can prevent majority of the issues. 


In conclusion, even though Airpods, earbuds, and headphones are very practical and have many benefits, it is important to realize that they can also be dangerous if used improperly. The possibility of ear damage, which can result in anything ranging from brief discomfort to long-term hearing loss, is a risks that should worry you the most. Airpod users must prioritize their hearing health and take proper measures to safeguard their sensitive ears, especially if they are children or young people whose ears are still developing.


The sound volume and duration of use are the main factors causing ear damage from Airpods and similar audio devices. The sensitive hair cells in our cochlea, which are essential for sending sound signals to the brain, can suffer irreparable harm if audio is listened to at high volumes for an extended period of time. Safe listening techniques must be regularly practised in order to protect oneself against such risks.


We can continue to benefit from using Airpods and other audio devices without jeopardizing our hearing health by being aware of the potential risks and taking the necessary precautions.

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