Is noise canceling through headphones bad for your ears?

Is noise canceling through headphones bad for your ears?

Is this good for withdrawing into your own world, or should you not use noise-canceling headphones so often?

Laura Teneret

A reader found noise-canceling headphones in her Christmas gift and is wondering if they're actually bad for your ears. “In principle, you hear less background noise, but you need more opposing sound waves to compensate for the noise, right?” She remembers that White noise For babies (soothing noise that is similar to the noise of the womb, ed.) can also be bad for their ears and I want to know if you should be careful about using too much noise cancellation in your headphones. “Does it matter whether you are in a noisy or quiet environment?”

counter wave

With noise-canceling headphones, you can dampen annoying ambient sounds. Useful in crowded places or while traveling by train or plane. To understand how it works, Dennis Cox, an otolaryngologist at Vijf Meren Kliniek at Spaarne Gasthuis in Haarlem, explains how sound waves work. “It is collected by the eardrum and enters the cochlea via the ossicles and via the auditory nerve to your brain. Noise-canceling headphones register the sound waves against the headphones and, as it were, pull those sound waves down with a counterwave, so that they are neutralized before they reach the ear.

He compares it to the wave you do in the shower. “Then the water rises to the side. But if you counter-move, the amplification of that wave stops and the water doesn't hit the edge. It also happens with headphones like this: the sound doesn't reach the eardrum.

No extra noise

According to Cox, what is often mistaken is the addition of votes. “The sound is actually dull. The only thing that bothers people when they wear such headphones is that they are very quiet. Then, for example, they suddenly hear tinnitus, which may have always been there, but was not noticeable before.” Bee White noise, which the reader points to, there is a normal sound. “This is like the air conditioner in the house, and it's constantly beeping. There's more noise coming in than that. You can.” White noise Use it if you suffer from tinnitus or noise in the house, but the question is: should you give the kids extra sound? White noise “It can't compare to noise cancellation.”

The more advanced your noise canceling headphones are, the faster the noise is neutralized. The sound needs to be continuous for headphones to neutralize it, such as the constant hum of an airplane engine during a flight. “Short, fast noises can make braking more difficult. Therefore, noise-canceling headphones are not safe when going to a concert. In this case, wear earplugs.”

Prima in de Pepe

Noise-canceling technology does not cause much harm to the ears, and according to Cox, headphones can also be used while studying in the library, for example: “It helps you focus and not be disturbed by your surroundings.” Does it matter if you are not in a quiet library but in a noisy one? “You always have to be careful about noise. Continuous sound is prevented, but if you are in a noisy environment, some sound will still pass through. What is also important: Do not play music in headphones too loud and do not listen to it for a long time to prevent damage Hearing.

Read also:

Earplugs for loud music fly over the table: 'No longer taboo'

Hearing professionals are seeing a significant increase in demand for earplugs that protect against loud music. Experts believe that the maximum noise level should be lowered.

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