Did you know that one of the most common causes of hearing loss is noise-induced trauma such as listening to loud music or being exposed to loud noise?
With more ways to stream music than ever before, it’s no wonder that streaming music is becoming a more frequent culprit for damaging ears and jeopardizing our ear health. Being exposed to excessively loud volume, even if it’s just once, can result in permanent ear damage or even permanent hearing loss.
Our ears are made up of a sensitive structure. So, exposure to loud volume can become unsafe and cause irreversible damage.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom… There is a solution to reducing exposure to harsh noise without giving up listening to what you love. Noise-induced hearing loss is completely preventable.
One of the core ways to maintain ear health is to invest in a great set of headphones. Finding the right set of headphones whether it’s to listen to the music you love, to use for meetings, or to just shut out the noise around you, having the right headphones can make all the difference.
To help you find the right headphones, this post will give you a comprehensive list of the best headphones for ear health along with extra tips and information on implementing the best practices for safe listening.
OUR TOP PICK
Sony’s WH1000XM4 over-ear headphones are industry-leading in their noise-canceling abilities. These headphones offer incredible clarity and work to isolate sound whilst you're listening to your headphones or talking on the phone. They also work to help to improve call quality by reducing high and mid-frequency sounds to protect your ears.
These Sony headphones also include an adaptive sound control function to allow for a personalized listening experience. This function works to automatically adjust your listening experience in line with your location and behavior.
This function is paired with a smart listening function that works to detect your activity and balance the noise-canceling levels to protect your ears and prevent noise-induced hearing problems.
The Sony WH1000XM4 headphones use speak to chat technology. This function works to automatically reduce the volume produced during conversations to help protect your ears from noise-induced hearing complications.
These headphones have also been updated with an added cushion for increased comfort and a foldable design for improved portability.
- Wireless connectivity for convenience
- Up to 30 hours of battery life with quick charging
- Touch sensor control for pause, play, skip, and volume control
PurePro Hybrid is a great set of noise-canceling headphones. These headphones use active noise-canceling technology to protect your ears. They do this by adjusting to the environment to produce an ambient environment.
These headphones work to protect your ears with a volume limit set in place to protect you from permanent hearing damage. The PurePro Hybrid headphones have a maximum volume limit between 85 dB and 95 dB. This level of noise is considered by experts to be the maximum safe listening level.
It’s advised that if you’re listening at 85 dB you can do so for up to 8 hours and if you’re listening at 95 dB you can do so for up to 50 minutes. These limits are in place for those concerned about their ear health.
PurePro Hybrid also includes studio grade audio quality allowing you to enjoy crisp and clear listening. These headphones are also foldable in design for easy storage and portability to take with you whilst traveling.
- Wireless connectivity
- Up to 32 hours of listening
- Foldable design for easy storage and traveling
Bose offers a range of great headphones that are ideal for maintaining ear health. The Bose 700 uses powerful noise-canceling technology with 11 levels of active noise canceling functions. This feature enables premium noise-canceling performance for an undisturbed listening experience.
Bose 700 also includes an adaptive mic system which makes them great for making calls. They are known for having unrivaled voice pickup for advanced clarity.
Bose 700 are also ergonomically designed for comfort made from materials light in weight, a stainless steel padded headband for cushion, and tilted ear cups for superior fit. The earpad cushions are also water-resistant making these headphones ideal for using whilst exercising.
- Wireless connectivity for convenience
- Lightweight stainless steel headband and ear cups tilted for good fit
- Up to 20 hours of battery life for extended use
- Water-resistant for versatility
Sennheiser Momentum 2 offers noisegard hybrid noise canceling. This advanced feature allows the headphones to excessively block out noise. It does this by using four microphones for ultimate isolation. This feature enables superior sound quality even in noisy environments.
These headphones also work to remove external noise during phone calls allowing for a clearer listening experience. This feature helps to prevent you from turning up your volume which could lead to noise-induced hearing problems. By isolating the noise, you can continue your conversation uninterrupted and without the risk of causing ear damage.
Sennheiser Momentum 2 is ergonomically designed for comfort. They include large ear cups for added comfort along with leather covered memory foam earpads for extra cushion. They are also collapsible and foldable for easy storage and portability.
- Wireless connectivity
- 22 hours of battery life for long journeys and traveling
- Ergonomically designed for comfort
Sony MDR7506 offers professional large diaphragm headphones with large ear pads for added comfort.
These headphones have a closed ear design for delivering outstanding sound reduction of external noise as well as for creating added comfort. These headphones are great for all-purpose use but are also ideal for use in a studio environment.
They are also extremely light in weight with a padded headband making for comfortable wear for extended periods. They are also foldable making them easy to store and take with you whilst traveling.
- Closed ear design for comfort and outstanding reduction of external noise
- Foldable for easy storage and travel
- Lightweight for comfortable wear for extended periods
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X are professional grade headphones ideal for maintaining ear health. They are ergonomically designed for ear health with a circumaural contour around the ears. This design feature helps to create outstanding sound isolation, especially in loud and noisy environments.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X is also designed for comfort. The large ear pads and padded headband are made for durability and comfort with the extra cushion. These headphones also include 90 swiveling ear cups to enable one-ear monitoring for versatile use.
These are a great choice for anyone working in a studio environment. They also offer an extended frequency range which enables great clarity and crisp sound with deep and accurate bass responses.
These headphones also include a collapsible design which is a great storage solution as it helps to save space.
- Circumaural design contours for excellent sound isolation
- 90-degree swiveling earcups for easy one-ear monitoring
- Professional grade ear pad and head pad material for durability and comfort
- Great clarity with an extended frequency range
Sennheiser HD 800 S uses innovative absorber technology which helps to significantly reduce any unwanted frequency response peaks, therefore, making these headphones ideal for maintaining ear health.
These headphones are great for preventing noise-induced ear damage as they enable you the freedom to listen to what you want without interruption from external noise as the built-in diaphragm out the outer ear cup ensures that no external noise can get through.
Sennheiser HD 800 S presents a unique ear cup design. This design prevents sound waves from traveling directly to the ear. Instead, the ear pads are angled to enable the creation of a natural and spatial listening experience.
Hence, the ear cups are slightly open to enable soundwaves to expand naturally. This design feature helps to prevent noise-induced ear damage as it prevents soundwaves from traveling directly to the ear and therefore reducing the risk of any trauma.
These headphones also offer superior comfort with luxury padding on the earpads and headband. This extra padding helps to dampen vibration for a better listening experience and to help reduce the sound of ringing or buzzing after listening.
- Innovative absorber technology to reduce unwanted frequency response peaks
- Unique ear cup design
- Luxury padding to dampen vibrations
- Open ear cups so soundwaves expand naturally
Sennheiser RS 175 RE is a great pair of headphones for entertainment. These headphones offer outstanding sound quality that will bring to life whatever you’re listening to.
They include a bass boost with several listening modes to enable the ultimate surround sound experience without damaging your ears. These headphones have a closed back design. They are designed to help reduce any external background noise. This noise-canceling function helps to prevent noise-induced ear problems.
The headphones' ergonomic design is not only in place for noise-canceling but also for comfort. This feature provides a comfortable and padded fit.
These headphones have a maximum volume level of 114 dB, whilst this is rather high as the recommended maximum noise level is 85 dB, it gives listeners the freedom to choose their volume range. However, its noise-canceling function should see that the volume need not reach 114 dB for those concerned about their ear health.
- Wireless connectivity
- Maximum sound pressure level 114 dB
- 18-hour battery life for extended use
- Closed back design for comfort and superior sound quality
ISOtunes Link is a great set of headphones especially when it comes to hearing protection. ISOtunes as a company, specializes in offering audio products that help to prevent ear damage and promote safe listening.
ISOtunes Link offers great hearing protection. Their SafeMax technology ensures that the headphones can be used up to a maximum volume limit of 85 dB. This volume restriction ensures that your ears won’t be exposed to dangerous levels of volume to prevent the risk of noise-induced hearing loss.
ISOtunes Link has 14-hour battery life. This amount of battery life means you don’t have to worry about continuously charging the headphones as they last for a significantly long time to enable uninterrupted use.
This is also a great feature that enables easy portability as you can take them with you for the day and you won’t have to worry about them dying.
ISOtunes Link also contains wireless connectivity. This is a really convenient feature for those times when you’re away from home and are wanting to use them.
These headphones also stand out for their level of comfort. The earpads are made from polyurethane and PU memory foam for added comfort. This material provides a comfortable cushion to make for a better overall experience.
The earpads are also water and sweat resistant making them the ideal set of headphones for wearing on the job, in hot weather, or whilst exercising.
- SafeMax Technology that limits volume at 85 dB
- 14-hour battery life for prolonged use
- Wireless connectivity for convenience
- Cushioned and water-resistant ear pads for comfort
Soundcore Life Q30 uses advanced noise-canceling technology which can block out about 95% of engine noise. This superior function enables uninterrupted listen and helps to prevent noise-induced ear damage.
These headphones include three modes of noise cancelation. They include transport cancelation which minimizes the noise of engines such as car or plane engine noise; outdoor cancellation which works to reduce noises of traffic and fierce wind; and indoor cancelation which dampens external noise of chatter in the background.
These headphones are not only designed for ear protection, they are also ergonomically designed for comfort. The earpads are made from ultra soft protein leather with memory foam padding for added comfort. The headphones are also lightweight, making them comfortable to wear for extended periods.
- Advanced noise-canceling technology with 3 modes of cancelation
- Dual noise detecting microphones pick up and filter out up to 95% of low frequency ambient sound to prevent distraction
- Up to 40 hours of battery life
- Designed for comfort
Nuraphone’s wireless Bluetooth headphones are considered to be extremely smart headphones with great ear protection functions.
Self-learning engine that creates a unique hearing profile for you by automatically picking up how you hear in a matter of seconds.
Once it has analyzed your hearing, the app connected to the headphones will present you with a visual representation of how you hear. It will show you this color to bring your hearing to life to show your unique hearing profile.
These headphones combine multiple audio technologies using both in-ear and over-ear headphones. The combination of the two helps to deliver a clearer and crisp sound. The in-ear headphones work to bring out the melodies whilst the over-ear headphones work to deliver bass.
The Nuraphone headphones include a social mode that enables you to hear what’s going on around you as well as an active noise canceling function to block out the noise around you. This noise-canceling function is great for times when you’re in a noisy environment as it helps to prevent you from turning up the volume to a harmful level.
The Nuraphone headphones also come with a travel case that is light in weight and extremely durable making it an ideal addition when you’re traveling.
- Wireless connectivity for convenience
- 20-hour battery life for prolonged use
- Visual representation of your hearing to see your unique hearing profile
Best Headphones for Ear Health Buying Guide
There are several music apps and phones that will signal a warning once you have reached a harmful level of volume. These functions are in place to protect you from future damage and are a great way to maintain your ear health whilst continuing to enjoy music.
Continually ignoring these warnings may lead to ear damage. A rule of thumb in considering your ear health is to keep your headphones at no more than 60% of the maximum volume.
Balance is certainly key when it comes to considering your ear health. If you’re someone who can listen to music for hours on end at loud volumes, here is a tip you can incorporate to reduce the risk of noise-induced hearing loss.
- The louder the volume of your headphones, the less time you should spend listening to reduce the amount of noise exposure. One way to maintain this balance is by sticking to something called the 60/60 rule which is recommended by experts. This rule includes listening to 60% of the volume of your headphones for 60 minutes at a time before having a break.
Other ways to practice safe listening habits are to:
- Incorporate listening breaks to reduce noise exposure for a prolonged period.
- Listening to the volume warnings on your app or phone.
- Hold your headphones in front of you to check how loud the volume is. If you can still hear the music playing once the headphones are off your ears, the volume is too loud.
- Be conscious of where you use your headphones. Using them in a loud environment may lead you to turn the volume up to an unsafe level.
Safe listening habits
Protecting your ears from noise-induced harm can be simple. All you need to do is to practice safe listening habits. Here are a couple of signs that tell you that you need to down the volume down:
- If you can hear the sound coming from the headphones once they are away from your ears.
- If the person sitting next to you can hear your music.
- You’re beginning to hear a ringing or buzzing sound after listening.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are headphones better than earphones for your ears?
Wearing headphones is considerably better for your ears than wearing earphones. Earphones funnel the sound directly into your eardrums. Whilst this may produce a great sound, this can have harmful effects on your hearing and ear health.
But, with headphones, you don’t have to worry about this risk as the surround sound is enough for you to be able to enjoy great sound without damaging your eardrums. A bonus of over-the-ear headphones is that they are considered to be more comfortable than wearing earbuds as they sit in place allowing you to enjoy listening without the fear of an earbud falling out.
Are headphones safer than in-ear?
Wearing headphones is considered to be safer when it comes to your ear health. Earphones work to deliver sound straight down the air canal. If you like to listen to loud music this can have a risk of causing greater damage to your ears.
Earbuds can also cause earwax to be pushed deeper into your ears causing blockages that can consequently affect your hearing. If you wear headphones, you won’t have to worry about these risks.
Additionally, most headphones now come with noise-canceling functions which enable you to block out any surrounding noise so that you can hear your music at a safe volume. So, headphones provide a safer alternative to listening and enjoying music whilst protecting your ears.
They are recommended as a safer option as they provide great sound quality and noise-canceling functions that allow external noise to be blocked out.
Is noise-canceling bad for your ears?
No, noise-canceling is not bad for your ears. Whether you’re simply wanting to listen to your music in peace, or if you are having an important meeting, it can be difficult to effectively hear your headphones in a noisy environment.
Noise-canceling technology works to emit exterior noise so that you can focus on what you’re listening to at a suitable level. So if anything, noise-canceling headphones protect your ears.
So there you have it… the full guide on the best headphones for ear health. As you can see, there are several great brands available that each offer a range of unique qualities.
Finding the right headphones can make all the difference when it comes to preventing noise-induced trauma. From providing noise-canceling features and volume restrictions to innovative ergonomic designs, there are so many headphones available to help maintain your ear health.
Along with finding the right set of headphones, this post also gives you all the information you need to adopt safe listening practices and tips on what to look for when you begin looking for your perfect set of headphones.