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Can Loud Music Hurt My Ears?

Huh? Can you speak up? Oh! You want to know if loud music can hurt your ears. Are you asking because you like to put on your headphones and crank up the volume? Maybe your mom or dad has told you, "Turn that down before you go deaf!" Well, they have a point. Loud noise (from music or other loud things, such as lawn mowers or jet engines) can cause both temporary and permanent hearing loss.

Hearing loss means someone can't hear as well as people with normal hearing. For some people, that means not being able to hear at all.

If the noise around you is so loud that you have to shout to be heard, there is a chance that you’ll have some trouble hearing. Loud noise can damage the parts of your inner ear that detect sound and send signals to the brain. Temporary hearing loss can happen when you are around loud noises. If you have temporary hearing loss, you won't be able to hear as well as you normally do for a while.

You also could have tinnitus (say: TIN-ih-tis), which is a medical term for ringing in the ears. Your ears may feel "full" too. Don't worry, it should get better. But hearing loss can become permanent if you listen to loud music or hear loud sounds over and over again. To help prevent hearing loss, turn down the volume and wear ear protection the next time you're around loud noise.

If someone is around loud noise often, over a long time, permanent hearing loss can happen. This means the person's hearing won't ever be as good as it once was. That's why construction workers and factory workers need to wear ear protection. Lawn mowers and power tools, like chainsaws, are loud enough to cause tinnitus and hearing loss.

Listening to loud music a lot can cause the same kind of damage, especially if you use headphones or ear buds. Some famous musicians have lost their hearing and have tinnitus that doesn’t go way — a real problem for someone who needs to hear to make music. That's why some of your favorite musicians wear hearing protection while they're playing.

You too can help keep your hearing in tip-top shape. Protect your ears by wearing ear plugs or ear muffs when you're mowing the lawn or around loud machinery. Also remember to turn down the volume, especially when you're wearing headphones or ear buds or listening to music in the car. You also might want to give your ears a rest by not wearing headphones or ear buds all the time.

And if you're going to a concert, wear earplugs to protect your ears from the boom, boom, boom! If you're going to concerts a lot or if you're a musician yourself, you may want to look into special earplugs that can be made for you. Take care of your ears now and you won't be saying "What?" later on.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date Reviewed: Jul 10, 2021

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