Can Too Loud Volume Damage Headphones? (Explained) 

We sometimes can’t avoid cranking up our headphones.

Sometimes the train can be noisy, and we can’t hear our favorite playlist or podcast.

But, if you find yourself increasing the volume too often, will it affect the headphones in the long run?

Can too loud volumes damage your headphones? 

Here’s what you need to know about using headphones at high levels.

Playing your headphones too loud can cause permanent effects on your headphones. Cranked-up bass can tear the cones inside the headphones and cause them to sound off or even break them completely. Too much volume may also break the transducer. Always respect warnings on your smartphone.

What happens if you crank up headphones too high?

Cranking headphones up can potentially damage the drivers and even your hearing.

When the volume is too high, the cones inside your headphones vibrate strongly. As a result, the cones can get torn in the process. The deterioration is even faster when the tracks you play are bass-heavy.

Can too much bass damage headphones? 

Yes, too much bass can damage your headphones.

When tracks you play have high bass levels, the drivers of the headphones are forced to work harder to produce these frequencies. If your headphones don’t have the proper drivers to produce these bass frequencies, more it is prone to break.

If you play songs with deep bass-heavy frequencies, it’s recommended to get a pair of bass-centric headphones.

Do headphones get bad when played at high volume all day long? 

If you think of cranking up the volume and turning your headphones into speakers, think twice. While you can run your headphones at high volumes, leaving them in use at these levels can damage them in the long run.

You can fry the voice coil of your headphones, which won’t produce any sound at all, or break the transducer, which creates distortions in the bass frequencies even at low to medium volume levels.

The damage here would require a total replacement of damaged components.

That’s why it’s recommended to crank the volume and turn your headphones into small speakers. The effort to repair isn’t worth it, and you’ll be forced to buy another pair of headphones.

With that said, you can consider buying small speakers that fit easily in your bag for travel. You can check out the speakers by JBL, Sonos, Bose, and even Amazon for their selection of Bluetooth speakers.

Are headphones generally volume-limited to avoid breaking?

Not all headphones have a limiter.

A limiter is something worth looking into when buying headphones. These can help you protect your hearing from any volume spikes when playing sound through your headphones.

Often, they would limit the volume from hitting 85 dB. If you’re exposed to noise levels that go beyond 110 dB for at least 30 minutes, you put yourself at risk for noise-induced hearing loss.

Limiters offer the advantage of leveling your music. Not all tracks are mastered equally, so some songs need a higher volume to hear than others.

A limiter helps you hear soft songs while taming the volume of other songs.

Volume limiting is also found on headphones designed for kids. You wouldn’t want to be damaging their hearing at an early age. Kids may not know about proper volume levels, so limiters come in handy.

Consider volume limiting

Volume limiting is an essential feature in headphones or even media devices since it allows you to tame volume and limit the volume that hits your ears.

Many people tend to crank up the volume so that the music comes to life. They want to hear the vibration of the bass as if the artist played the song in front of them.

There are different limiters for headphones, which provide resistance once it hits a certain level. First is the passive limiter, which uses resistors to lower the volume.

The problem here is that since it’s passive, it tends to attenuate at all times, and you will need to adjust the volume to hear softer tracks.

And if you’re running your headphones through an amplifier, it can easily overpower the limiter.

Active limiters, meanwhile, allow you to cut the volume once it hits a predetermined level. These would often be found on headphones that have smart apps. Smartphones also have limiters that you can set.

In some instances, smartphones have a warning indicator that notifies you if the volume exceeds recommended levels.

Considering that limiting offers benefits to protect hearing, can we rely on them?

It depends.

For one, passive limiters are easily overridden.

You can quickly crank the volume if you’re running an external amplifier. Even the limiters in smartphones can only handle so much.

But those found in digital headphones or the top-of-the-line wireless headphones, these limiters do work in controlling the volume but need the partner app of the manufacturer to tweak. Likewise, these headphones are likely to cost more.

Are they reliable?

They are reliable but only up to a certain degree.

Can certain sounds or frequencies break headphones? 

Yes, especially when it comes to bass frequencies.

As headphones don’t have subwoofers to handle any low-end, it resorts to using the drivers to mimic these frequencies. If your headphones don’t have drivers designed to handle bass frequencies, it will work harder to produce them. And because they aren’t designed to handle deep bass, they can break faster.

If you listen to a lot of bass-heavy music, you should look for headphones designed to handle them. Ideally, dual-driver headphones will do the job since they take bass and treble frequencies individually.

You can, of course, try tweaking the EQ settings if you want more thump, but that has its limits, too, especially if your headphones aren’t designed for heavy bass.

How can I make my headphones sound better without adjusting the volume? 

One reason why some people like cranking the volume is because they think the sound becomes better. They get to hear the bass thumping as if they were in the club, making them more immersed in the experience.

But the truth is, cranking the volume has its limits and can damage your headphones and your hearing in the long run.

There are many things you can do to make the sound better on your headphones without cranking them.

Here are some suggestions to consider.

Adjust the EQ

The first of the bat is to adjust the EQ settings on your media player. If you’re looking for more thumps from the bass, add in more of it, or reduce the treble frequencies a little. If you want to hear the singer better, you may want to start adjusting to the treble side and roll off a bit of the bass or mids. You don’t need to increase the volume to hear better.

Another thing you can consider is to use the active noise canceling of your headphones.

Many people often crank the volume to drown ambient noise in your location.

That, of course, results in possible damage later on. But with Active Noise Cancelling, you can drown out the noise using the tiny microphones in your headphones that cancel the noise you hear.

Consider noise cancellation

If you don’t have active noise canceling, you may want to consider investing in one. There are many good options in the market, with some at a budget-friendly price.

You can also consider changing the media format for your listening. Have you heard of lossless media? Lossless media, such as FLAC, provide high-quality music without compression.

Using these media formats for music gives you better quality audio, so you don’t need to increase the volume to hear better.

If streaming services are your jam, you can try Amazon Music HD and Apple Music Lossless.

For those who don’t mind carrying an additional gadget to make sounds better, you can try using enhancements such as headphone amplifiers and Digital to Analog Converters. Many of these gadgets shape the overall sound to help it sound more open. These amplifiers are no-frills and don’t have much tinkering, so you can focus on listening to music.

Of course, the only drawback to this method is that you are restricted to wired headphones when using such attachments.

Final Thoughts

Cranking your headphones isn’t advisable, especially in the long run. It might work when you need to hear something clearly, but maxing out the volume regularly on your device can damage your headphones and hearing.

If you want to hear something at loud levels, you should use loudspeakers instead.

With many options for portable use, you won’t have a problem finding something that fits your needs.

Sources

4 Tricks To Improve Your Headphone Sound

What is a volume limiter and why does it matter?

Can Too Much Bass Damage Headphones? (Explained)

 

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