Get lost in your favorite music with these healthy headphone options and usage tips.

The best headphones for your ears are typically over the ear models, not earbuds.Headphones and earbuds aren’t always healthy for our hearing. That’s why it’s essential to research the best headphones for your ears and choose a kind that will protect your hearing while you enjoy your favorite music or podcast!

Here are some types to research when you’re looking for the best headphones for your ears:

  1. Over-ear headphones
  2. Bone-conducting headphones
  3. Passive noise-canceling headphones
  4. Decibel-limited options
  5. Hearing-health-marketed headphones

Below, we’ll include some specific examples you can consider!

Over-ear headphones
If you have a choice between over-ear headphones and earbuds, headphones are almost always the better option for your ears. Earbuds sit inside the ear and pipe sounds directly into the ear canal, closer to the delicate inner ear structures. They also can push earwax deeper into the ear, and they don’t always have noise-canceling abilities. So, keep in mind when looking at specific options below that over-ear headphones are usually the better choice.

Bone-conducting headphones
Bone conduction vibration is a wonderful option for those with conductive hearing loss. Instead of vibrating the eardrum to conduct sound, these headphones rest on your cheekbones and send vibrations directly to the cochlea through your bones. Of course, the sound quality won’t be as good, but these can be a life-changing option for people with hearing loss! They also don’t interfere with hearing aid placement.

Examples:

Passive noise-canceling headphones
There are two basic types of noise-canceling headphones: active and passive. “Active noise-canceling,” or ANC, might sound like the better option, but the passive type (aka “noise isolating”) is actually healthier for our hearing! They work by physically blocking sound from coming through (like soundproofing for your ears), so a proper fit is essential.

Active noise-canceling headphones are higher-tech — they work by generating an “anti-noise-wave” to neutralize incoming sounds. However, some people find that they can cause ear pressure, dizziness, and headaches.

Since passive noise-canceling headphones rely on a physical barrier against sound, they’re also more effective in protecting your ears against sudden loud noises like fireworks and noisy equipment.

Examples:

Decibel-limited options
If you do decide to use earbuds for specific situations (e.g. when you’re exercising and don’t want bulky over-ear headphones on), volume control is crucial. Volume-limiting headphones and earbuds are a great option to make sure you can’t turn it higher than a safe level (typically no higher than 85dB). This can also be a good gift idea for kids and teens, who run a higher risk of early-onset hearing loss with frequent headphone or earbud use (and may not always be the most conscious of volume).

Pro tip: you can also set volume limits directly from a phone or tablet! A good rule of thumb is no more than 50% of your device’s capacity.

Examples:

Hearing-protection-marketed headphones
Some headphones are specifically branded as being a more hearing-healthy option. Of course, this doesn’t mean they give you a license to turn up the volume as loud as possible. Still, some of these headphones do boast useful feature combinations like sound-absorbing technology, safe volume limits, and equalization that give you a better listening experience at lower volumes. In addition, some options can double as assistive listening devices and earmuff protection against loud environments.

Examples:

In the end, the best headphones for your ears depend on you and your preferences! CapTel does not specifically endorse any of the products listed above. Speak to your audiologist and try out a few options to see what’s most comfortable for you.

Learn about more gadgets that help protect your hearing!

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