If you’re trying to wind down before bed by listening to music or drown out the sounds of the bustling city, you may be tempted to sleep with headphones or earbuds. But is doing so safe? We review what one study shows and how to listen safely below.
What One Study Shows
One 2017 Swedish study aimed to investigate self-reported hearing and portable music listening habits in Swedish adolescents.
After conducting their study, the researchers found that, “Although the vast majority listened at moderate sound levels and for shorter periods of time, the study also indicates that there is a subgroup (10%) that listens between 90 and 100 dB for longer periods of time, even during sleep. This group might be at risk for developing future noise-induced hearing impairments.”
This demonstrates that certain behaviors while listening to music, including prolonged or loud listening, are unsafe.
How to Listen Safely
Below are some tips for listening safely during sleep:
Opt for an External Speaker
If you sleep by yourself or with a partner who is on the same page as you, we recommend listening with an external speaker instead of headphones or earbuds so that there is less threat to your ears and overall safety.
Avoid Noise-Cancelling Features
Never listen to music with noise-cancelling headphones or earbuds while sleeping. This is not a safe option if there’s an emergency. You should easily be able to hear a fire alarm, your phone ringing or your child crying through your headphones or earbuds.
Don’t Use Cords
Avoid listening through headphones or earbuds with cords. They can accidentally adjust the volume and turn it up much louder than is safe, as well as wrap around your neck and pose a hazard to your safety.
Keep the Volume Low
Whether you have an external speaker or non-noise-cancelling cordless headphones or earbuds and choose to listen during sleep, it’s essential to keep the volume below half the maximum, so you won’t cause damage to the tiny hair cells in your inner ear that help you hear.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call Wilmington Audiology Services today.