In the last 20 years earphones have become a ubiquitous way to listen to music, watch TV or listen to podcasts.  They let you listen in clarity and privacy without bothering anyone around you.  Unfortunately they also have a problem.  Turn your music or TV up loud and you can do serious damage to your eardrums.  Studies have shown that higher decibel levels and in particular the very high frequencies do the most damage.  This impacts adults but there is some evidence that it impacts children and adolescents even more severely.


So what can you do about it?

The first easiest thing is to get a better pair of headphones.  Cheap headphones tend to disproportionately put out more higher frequencies than bass and this means they get turned up to higher volumes.  The better quality sound means that you do not have to turn it up as high and so do less damage.

Your second possible option is to get a set of headphones with a volume limiter.  A good example is the Tiny Phones Kids Stereo Headphones which put a hard limit on the possible volume that can be played through them.  Most of these are aimed at children and have a fixed limit (not to mention colorful style) but there are a few that are more adult in styling and have adjustable limiters.

Thirdly you can get a volume limiter on your smartphone.  Apps like Volume Limiter and Volume Lock let you set the maximum amount of decibels the device will output and not go beyond it.  They seem to be a somewhat hit and miss affair in terms of compatibility.  Looking through the Play and App store few work with every phone but almost every phone will have one that you can use.

Finally and perhaps hardest – you can simply decide not to turn your volume up so high.  This can work but it is very easy to forget and getting a child in particular to do it would be very difficult.

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