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Can earbuds cause tinnitus?

If you will observe the people walking in the streets, riding a bus or a train, doing housework, chilling, and relaxing nowadays, you will notice that more frequently than not, they are wearing earbuds. They wear their earbuds regardless of the thing they are doing. They are listening to music, podcasts, and radio while doing their “business”. And this practice sometimes lasts for hours.

Given these things, the use of earbuds became a hot topic in the medical and music communities giving birth to a lot of stories and speculations like the supposed effects of it, including the hearing condition called tinnitus. So, can earbuds cause tinnitus? Learn the answer below.

A Brief Introduction to Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a common ear “issue” affecting an estimated 50 million individuals in the US alone. Tinnitus is oftentimes called ringing in the ears as individuals with this hearing issue can hear buzzing, hissing, roaring, clicking, chirping, whistling, and other sounds even without an external source, hence sometimes called phantom sounds. This ringing in the ears can last for a short while or an extended period with varying levels of loudness.

Moreover, tinnitus can be more pronounced and frustrating at night. The different noises associated with tinnitus become more unbearable when the background noise is low.

Is Tinnitus Related to Wearing Earbuds?

Tinnitus is often associated with age-related hearing loss, ear injury, or circulatory system problems. These things make a person hear sounds not caused by something external. Given this, it is very seldom you will hear or read something connecting tinnitus to earbuds. So, if you are asking the question “can wearing earbuds cause tinnitus?” then the answer would be a resounding no.

There are lots of earbuds in the market and not one of them can cause tinnitus so the question “can you get tinnitus from earbuds” is totally uncalled. In fact, studies have indicated that using earbuds responsibly does not contribute to tinnitus. Instead, most cases of tinnitus are likely caused by noise overexposure from other sources. For example, excessive noise from commuting or attending concerts can lead to tinnitus if you don't wear protection such as earplugs or headphones with sound-canceling technology.

Now, it is a fact that earbuds do not cause tinnitus but the way one uses an earbud could be. Using earbuds inappropriately can result in a greater chance of having tinnitus. And this is where the noise comes in. Noise is a risk factor, people who are constantly exposed to loud noises have a higher chance of developing tinnitus.

But is this important? Well, the act of using earbuds to listen to music, podcasts, and other audio-related things cannot cause tinnitus however, listening to them at high volume could. And this is very significant as young people tend to listen to music at high volumes for a long time. This prolonged exposure to high volume in close proximity can cause hearing loss which means a greater chance of developing tinnitus as researchers suggest that those with hearing loss have twice the chance to develop tinnitus than those with normal hearing.

Some Suggestions about the Usage of Earbuds


Can earbuds make tinnitus worse? The answer is both yes and no. Earbuds are very popular and their convenience is more than enough explanation for that. But the usage of it in high volumes can cause things such as tinnitus. Hence, ensuring that individuals use them appropriately will be ideal. Given these, here are some suggestions about the usage of earbuds:

  1. Earbuds alone cannot make it worse but if you will use them in high volumes then it can make tinnitus worse if you already have it. If you are listening to music, podcasts, etc., using earbuds, it will be better if the volume is at the 60% range which is the “safe” level.  
  2. Do not try to turn up the volume to mask a background noise as the unreasonable noise level combined with the proximity is unhealthy. If you do not want to hear the surrounding noise while not raising the volume at the same time, having true wireless noise-canceling earbuds like the soundcore Liberty 3 Pro is highly recommended. These earbuds are equipped with the latest HearID ANC technology which ensures that what you hear is as close to reality as possible without background noise.
  3. Make sure to have regular breaks when using earbuds. Giving your ear some rest is not a bad decision at all.
  4. If possible, do not constantly use earbuds. It will be better if you can also use old-fashioned headphones at times like the soundcore Space Q45 which is both exceptional in fit and playtime.


Should you use earbuds if you have tinnitus?

It is not advisable to use earbuds if you have tinnitus. Earbuds release sounds near the eardrum and this in turn can make people with tinnitus suffer more as the sounds could cause irritation.

Is tinnitus from headphones permanent?

Headphones do not cause tinnitus, however, the above-average (loud) noise coming from them could. But the tinnitus caused by headphones is not permanent, the buzzing and hissing will slowly die down after a short time.

Can earbuds trigger tinnitus?

No, earbuds cannot trigger tinnitus. Earbuds are safe to use especially in healthy volumes. However, noise is a risk factor for tinnitus. So, when people are using earbuds at high volume, the chance of having tinnitus becomes higher.


Can earbuds cause tinnitus? Definitely no. Earbuds are safe and convenient tools that make life more entertaining. There is no harm in using them as long as you will use them appropriately. So, the next time you put yours, get rid of your worries, but at the same, tone down that volume.

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