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safe headphones?
Old 21st January 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 

safe headphones?

Hi,

While choosing headphones for yourself, how do you know which one is loud enough to damage your ears if you use a web based tool to download soundcloud mp3s or for that matter which ones are going to keep your ears safe? What volume level is the safest to use in headphones?

Thanks.
Old 22nd January 2019
  #2
I don't believe there's such a thing as "safe" headphones. Most if not all headphones and earbuds have the potential of causing hearing damage. As a rule, Normal conversation is about 60 dB, a lawn mower is about 90 dB, and a loud rock concert is about 120 dB. In general, sounds above 85 are harmful, depending on how long and how often you are exposed to them and whether you wear hearing protection, such as earplugs or earmuffs.

If you are hearing ringing in the ears after listening to high levels of music or noise, it's probably a sign that the music is too loud.
Old 22nd January 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
Edit: I was typing and missed the above post.
Great question! Your ears are the gear you can’t replace.
There are no safe headphones. Almost any headphone can produce dangerous levels. I’ve been around a few people who play stock Apple earbuds so loud that they annoy me when I’m six feet away. That has to be literally deafening to the user. Good headphones all have the ability to damage hearing. So your main protection is to avoid playing headphones at an extremely high level, and especially to avoid accidents that can occur with headphone levels. Idiot on the volume knob, unintended spike or feedback (live in-ears problem), switching from an incredibly quiet source to an incredibly loud source... that sort of thing.
There are some headphones that aren’t as loud as others, but that’s usually an impedance mismatch, not an intended design. I’ve always found AKG phones to be quieter than other brands, but not to the degree that you can’t turn them up to uncomfortable levels.
Buy headphones for the quality of sound. There are no headphones with trainer wheels.

Last edited by Bushman; 22nd January 2019 at 04:39 AM..
Old 25th March 2019
  #4
Lives for gear
FWIW Beyerdynamic offers 99 dB limiter option on most of their headphones.
Old 25th March 2019
  #5
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by jetam View Post
FWIW Beyerdynamic offers 99 dB limiter option on most of their headphones.
That's a very good idea, however I have DT-770s (tracking), DT-880s (mix check) and DT-990s (mixing if I have to use cans ++) - I'm not aware of a limiter on any of those. (all 250 Ohm models)

Headphone mixing duties are split between my DT-990s and Avantone MP1s depending on material.
Old 25th March 2019
  #6
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scragend View Post
That's a very good idea, however I have DT-770s (tracking), DT-880s (mix check) and DT-990s (mixing if I have to use cans ++) - I'm not aware of a limiter on any of those. (all 250 Ohm models)

Headphone mixing duties are split between my DT-990s and Avantone MP1s depending on material.
DT-770s can be ordered with a limiter. If you haven't specifically ordered the version with the limiter, they don't have it. It's a pretty expensive option, though.
Old 27th March 2019
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

I always found it easy to keep headphone volume reasonable. I go by a simple rule: if I think it might be too loud it probably is. Turn it down. I do sometimes find myself wanting more volume and turning it up after a while listening. Sometimes I resist, sometimes I don't. Almost every time I soon after think "this is maybe a little loud" and turn it down.

You only need it loud enough for the music to be clear and comfortable to listen to. Any louder is unnecessary. Fun, but unnecessary.

I have hearing damage but it's from speakers, not headphones. This makes me even more careful to keep the level at just where the music has just enough clarity. Because I could do more damage by trying to compensate for the existing loss.

I don't believe you can ever rely on the headphones protecting you. Even if you can get ones like the Beyerdynamic which have been reported here as being available with a 99db limiter, 99db is probably too loud for extended listening.
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