Lifestyle| The best type of headphone for your ears*

Most of us listen to music with our smartphone or an iPod these days, and we tend to take music with us wherever we go. It’s a great way of escaping the world and being in your own chill-out zone, wherever you are. Whether we’re jogging along to the beat, or just closing our eyes and focusing on the music we’re playing so we don’t have to think about our daily commute, there’s a lot to be thankful for in a great pair of headphones.

headphones

cc by  Nanagyei  Zoning out is easier when you’ve got your favourite music playing

However, how knowledgeable are you about what kind of volume you should be listening to your music at and the potential risks to your hearing through playing music too loudly? Probably, most people would have to say, not knowledgeable enough.

A recent announcement by the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggested that more than a billion people worldwide are exposing themselves to noise-induced hearing loss, simply by playing their music too loud on a pair of headphones. The WHO recommends that people don’t go above 60% of the maximum volume their headphones can play music at and limit themselves to an hour of listening per day. If you have any concerns about whether you may already have damaged your hearing, you can find out more about noise-induced hearing loss at Hidden Hearing.

We all know that the earbuds that come with a new phone are pretty low quality. Investing in a new pair that you can use with any phone or other device is a sensible idea if you love to listen to your tunes. So what headphones are the best ones to buy? Here are just a few different options:

One way to reduce the volume you need to play music at is to wear over-ear noise isolating headphones. The V-Moda Crossfade LP headphone features memory foam ear cushions, so the headphones become more fitted to your head, reducing the effect of ambient noise and the possibility of sound leaking through the headphones shifting. As a consequence, you can afford to turn down the volume you listen at and protect your hearing. However, at around £170, this pair of headphones is a pretty big investment.

If you’re always tempted to turn up the volume a little too much, then it’s a good idea to choose a pair of headphones that have a low max volume. The noise-limiting dB Logic EP-100 Earbuds can only go up to 85 decibels – the noise limit that it’s considered safe to work in. These headphones are in-ear, so smaller than over-ear headphones, and can easily be stowed away in a pocket if you’re out and about or at work. At around £25, these headphones aren’t going to break the bank and are the perfect solution if you want a more discreet headphone look.

Some people just can’t get along with ear buds sitting inside their ears, or over-ear headphones covering their whole ear. That’s where bone audiophones such as AfterShokz Bluez Open Ear Wireless Headphones come into their own. They rest on your head, not inside your ear, and the sounds travel using vibrations along the bones in your skull. The added advantage of this type of headphone is that the user is more aware of other sounds around them – while running along a road or working out in the gym, for example. They’re pretty pricey – at around £75 a pair, but may be a good option for someone who’s never got on with traditional-style headphones.


The type of headphone you choose can help you listen to music at a lower volume without losing the enjoyment you get out of it. However, if you’re not in a position to buy new headphones immediately, one easy option is simply to turn down the volume on your existing headphones. Most people will adjust to listening at lower volumes in about one week.

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