Safe Volume For Headphones | What is Headphone DB Level?

Who doesn’t want to listen to their favorite music without distraction or interruption? Headphones allow you to enjoy uninterrupted listening time. We are engaged more in our headphones than anything else. So, a point to ponder arises: what is the Safe Volume for Headphones?

Headphones are placed on the ear or fitted to enjoy listening time without disturbing others, but what about your ears? Are they getting damaged by listening to headphones all the time? Or how much time should you spend with your headphones on your ears? 

Headphones are made to provide ease in listening, but there are also risks of ear damage or hearing loss due to the excessive use of headphones at loud volumes. Headphones are safe to use with caution, care, and responsibility.

At What Volume should I Listen to Music with Earbuds?

Sound will affect your perception and mood in many ways, so it is essential to keep it at a safe level. Also, the low sound will soothe your ears, and there is less risk of any ear damage. Any damage will have adverse and permanent side effects that can not be reversible. 

The WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO) suggests that you should listen to headphones at a safe volume level of 60 to 85 DB for only 8 hours. Children should listen to the headphones’ volume at 75 to 82DB to avoid damage.

Exposure to louder volumes for extended periods can degrade your listening over time. It is impossible to notice because it happens gradually. 

How to Measure Headphone Decibels?

Almost every one of every age uses headphones. It is essential to use it cautiously, keeping the volume safe. Sound is measured in units called decibels, abbreviated as DB. Each 10-point increase in DB equals a tenfold increase in sound intensity, which humans perceive as twice as loud. 

Taking decibel measurements of your headphones is complicated and needs a professional hand. Sometimes you use a sound meter, and the accuracy is not always perfect. But still, you can measure the headphone’s decibels and estimate which volume level your headphones are. You can follow the steps below.

  1. Connect your headphones to the audio source and play music at a regular volume level.
  2. Hold your headphones out in your hand.
  3. Turn on the sound meter.
  4. Place the mic of the decibel meter in one of the earcups of your headphone.
  5. The decibel meter will automatically show the current DB level on its LED screen. 

Note: Sound meters are not always accurate, but they provide an estimated measurement of the sound decibels of your headphones. 

Headphones can reach 100 DB or more, so a maximum sound level of 50 to 60 percent is usually recommended for headphone users. Most headphones do not keep the volume at a limited level. You should maintain a safe sound level in your phone’s settings. 

Apps to Measure Headphone Decibels

Decibel meters are not budget-friendly. They can burden your pocket, so if you can’t afford a sound meter, you can opt for the apps to measure headphone decibels.

Both Apple and Android support sound-level meter apps that measure sound in decibels. These apps measure decibels on the iPhone and Apple Watch; if they exceed the average level, a message is sent to alert the users. Some of these apps are:-


  •  Sound meter


  • Decibel X
  • NoiSee
  • NIOSH Sound Level Meter App


  • Decibel Meter

iOS, Android 

  • SoundPrint 

How Loud is 85 decibels on Headphones?

You are exposed to louder and quieter noises in your environment every day and every moment. 85 Decibels is considered a red-marked volume range which is a danger alert. The safe volume for headphones is 60 – 85 decibels. The sound level above that will have severe consequences on your hearing. 

85 DB is a loud sound as compared to the sound of:-

  • garbage disposal, 
  • heavy traffic that you hear from inside the car
  • A noisy restaurant
  • Cinema

A sound level below 85 DB is considered safe, but listening to sound levels at 85 DB for extended periods will ultimately affect your hearing. 

Safe Decibel Levels for Humans

Headphone users want that bass, pitch, and frequency in sounds when they hear music. The sound in headphones must be louder than the average volume range suggested at 85DB. What are the safe decibel levels for humans?

According to the U.S Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), 70 DB is the safest decibel level for humans. Below this range, the sound will be a little inaudible for human ears; above this range, the sound will be damaging to the ears. 

70 Db sound is in the middle of the decibel range chart and is compared to the sound of a regular washing machine, the noise level in an office environment.

Headphone DB Level

The headphone provides clear and crisp sound, so I suggest you limit the sound level to the recommended range of 60 to 85 DB. Headphones are made to reach sound levels from 70 DB to 136 100 DB. You have to be sure you are not listening to headphones at a louder sound than normal. 

Before measuring the sound decibels of your headphones, you can check the loudness of your headphones. There are some ways to check if your headphones are too loud.

Carry out the Ringing Test

Set your headphones aside for a while and sit in a quiet environment. Check if you hear a ringing sound. Keep on doing the same test for a few days. If the ringing sound you hear is louder than before, it means your hearing is getting affected. 

Check the Volume Control

For the best listening experience, some music or beats require a louder volume. You should ensure you don’t exceed the normal sound level on the headphones and check the volume control at regular intervals. 

Look for Signs of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is not immediate, it is a gradual process, but it can sometimes be irreversible. Let your headphones and ears rest for a while. If you hear any of these, then it is a symptom that you are suffering from hearing loss.

  • Ringing, hissing, buzzing in ears
  • Muffled sounds
  • Difficulty in hearing
  • An urge to turn the volume up

Hold your Headphones out in Front of You

This technique is enough to examine if your headphones are loud or not. After playing music or a song, hold your headphones out at your arm’s length. If the music is audible, you are listening to headphones at a louder volume range. 

You are Picking Sounds from Outside

Are you struggling to hear what’s happening around you while your headphones are on? If this is the case, then your headphones are loud. 

Note: This technique won’t apply if you use noise-canceling headphones.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 50% volume Okay for headphones?

Audio devices have a sound range that can exceed 85 DB to 100 DB. The sound level of headphones above 85 DB can be dangerous for the ears. So, it is recommended to keep the volume level at 50%. 

Is it OK to listen to music at max volume?

Listening to max volume is not okay because it can gradually lead to hearing loss and ear damage. The louder the sound, the quicker it can cause damage. Some effects of loud volume are

  • Tinnitus
  • Imbalance
  • Ear Sensitivity
  • Hearing loss 

How Long Should You Wear Headphones a day?

You should wear headphones for a shorter time than at a safe volume level. You should abide by the 60/60 rule, which is to wear headphones for 60 minutes daily at 60% volume. Normal headphones do not cause serious problems, but prolonged use can be risky for your hearing and ears.

Final Words | Safe Volume For Headphones

Headphones have to play a bigger part in your life, but ultimately it is in your hands that you use headphones safely. There is a great risk of ear damage and hearing loss because of the abnormal use of headphones. If you are habitual of listening to headphones at louder sounds, then turn down the volume to a safe level of headphones which is 85 DB. It is always best to keep your hearing health in check to prevent unexpected results. 

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