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Are Airpods Bad For Your Ears?

Airpods have been the most-favored option for wireless headphones because of their compact size, seamless integration, and user-friendliness.

Nevertheless, several people have expressed their concerns on the potential health risks of extended use of Apple airpods.

In this article, we will delve into the research and explore the potential risks associated with prolonged use of AirPods, so that you can make an informed decision about using them.

Are Airpods Really Bad for the Ears?

It’s true that some individuals experience inconvenience and even hearing damage when they use airpods for longer duration, especially at high volume. Including that, the active noise cancellation feature is available in these earbuds so the external noise is completely blocked. So, obviously you will have to increase the volume to hear the audio or music. This in turn can lead to hair cell damage in the inner ear, resulting in either temporary or permanent hearing loss.

Actually, this is a potential concern with all types of in-ear headphones and earbuds, not exclusively AirPods. But you can avoid or decrease the ear damage by using headphones or earbuds at reasonable volume, take periodic breaks, and limit continuous use for prolonged time.

What Causes the Airpods to Hurt Your Ears?

There are several factors that can lead to discomfort and even pain when using AirPods or other in-ear headphones. We have mentioned them below for your reference.

  • Poor Fitting – Improper fit is the most common cause of ear discomforts when using AirPods. If the earbuds are not properly placed in the ear canal, they may exert pressure or produce irritation. It is crucial to select ear tips that fit comfortably and snugly in your ears to achieve an optimal fit.
  • Prolonged Use – If in-ear headphones are used for an extended period of time, it can cause discomfort and ear fatigue because of the continuous pressure in the ear canal. Taking breaks periodically can prevent this from happening.
  • Ear Anatomy – Everyone has a different anatomy unique to us and some individuals have sensitive or irritation-prone ear canals. So, in such cases, discomfort is common even if the earbuds have the best fitting.
  • Material – The ear tips in AirPods, which are often composed of materials like foam or silicone, can trigger sensitivity reactions in certain individuals. These reactions can lead to symptoms such as itching, redness, or swelling in the ear canal.
  • Sound Pressure – In-ear headphones can generate sound pressure that induces discomfort or pain, particularly if the volume is excessively loud. This can cause hearing impairment over time, making it essential to maintain a safe volume level while using headphones.

In summary, the pain or discomfort developed while using Airpods can be caused due to different factors like extended use, material, poor fitting, sound pressure, ear anatomy, and extended use. So, we recommend using in-ear headphones responsibly to avoid potential damages and discomforts.

How to Prevent Airpods from Causing Damage or Hurting?

Though Airpods are intended to be lightweight and comfortable, they can still cause some pain or damage to the ear in some individuals. However, you can prevent or decrease this impact from happening. We have mentioned some tips below for your reference.

  • Adjust the Fitting – It is important for the airpods to have a snug fit. So, if it doesn’t feel snugly, then you can try to adjust it to make it comfortable in your ear. You can also experiment with various ear tip sizes to discover the best fit for your ears.
  • Take Periodic Breaks – In case of any discomfort or pain in your ears after prolonged usage of AirPods, it is advisable to take a break and allow your ears to rest.
  • Use Ear Cushions – You can try using silicone ear cushions that are specially developed for airpods as they ensure additional ear cushioning, reducing the discomfort.
  • Use Noise-Cancellation Features – If you observe that high volume levels of AirPods are resulting in ear pain, explore the noise-canceling features of AirPods to lower the volume.
  • Check for Debris and Dirt – Periodic cleaning of AirPods is necessary to avoid any potential discomfort caused by dirt or debris getting trapped in the earbuds.
  • Use Earplugs – When exposed to loud surroundings, try wearing earplugs to lower the volume level that your ears are exposed to.

The above-mentioned tips are quite helpful to prevent the airpods from causing any hurt or damage so you can enjoy taking phone calls, listening to music or podcasts.

How Loud is Considered Too Loud While Using Airpods?

Repeated and prolonged exposure to high sound levels, including those produced by headphones, can lead to permanent hearing damage.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), exposure to sounds exceeding 85 decibels (dB) for extended periods can cause damage to hair cells in the inner ear, leading to noise-induced hearing loss.

Sound levels as low as 74 dB can also cause harm if exposure is prolonged (source). Therefore, it is advisable to lower the volume when listening to audio through headphones and to take frequent breaks to allow the ears to rest.

Below is a table representing an average exposure limit when it comes to wearing in-ear headphones.

Noise Levels Exposure Limit For a Week
75 dB 127 hours
80 dB 40 hours
90 dB 4 hours
100 dB 24 minutes
110 dB 2 minutes
120 dB 14 seconds


Airpods are not fundamentally bad for your ears but improper use can lead to potential damage. In order to avoid the risk to your ears or hearing, you have to take necessary precautions like taking regular breaks, keeping a check on volume levels, limiting the exposure, and cleaning them often. But if you are experiencing any pain or discomfort, then it is recommended to seek medical attention immediately.

Airpods Bad for Your Ears – FAQs

1. Can airpods cause hearing damage?

Ans: AirPods are designed to keep the sound levels similar to other headphone and earbud models. They don’t exceed the recommended levels for prolonged listening. Nonetheless, it is crucial to remain aware of the volume levels and take frequent breaks to avoid any damage to your hearing.

2. Do airpods cause pain to the ears?

Ans: Exposure to airpods for prolonged duration can lead to pain and discomfort in the ears, especially if they are placed too tight in the ear canal. But you can resolve this issue by taking regular breaks or adjusting the fitting.

3. Can using airpods lead to ear infections?

Ans: Failing to clean airpods regularly can increase the likelihood of ear infections, but they are not inherently more prone to causing infections than other types of earbuds.

4. Is it safe for children to use airpods?

Ans: Kids can use airpods safely however it is essential to do so under supervision. Parents or guardians have to monitor the volume levels to avoid hearing damage. Since a kid’s ears are still in the developing stage, prolonged exposure to the radiation from the airpods can lead to permanent hearing loss.

5. Can Airpods Cause Tinnitus?

Ans: Tinnitus is a medical issue caused when the person is exposed to loud sounds for prolonged duration. So, people who listen to music or podcasts on airpods at high volumes should avoid doing it for extended periods or else it can lead to developing tinnitus. It is essential to take breaks periodically and keep volume at safe levels to do this.

6. How long can you hear on airpods?

Ans: There is no set duration that can be considered completely safe for listening to music on AirPods or any other headphones. Because the risk of damage depends on different factors that include volume level, duration of usage, and others.

7. How long should I wear AirPods a day?

Ans: There isn’t a specific time limit for wearing AirPods each day, but it’s advisable to follow the 60/60 rule: keep the volume below 60% of the maximum and limit usage to 60 minutes at a time. Taking breaks between usage periods helps prevent ear fatigue and discomfort.

8. Why you shouldn’t wear AirPods all the time?

Ans: Wearing AirPods all the time can cause ear discomfort, increase infection risk, and potentially damage hearing. Taking breaks is crucial for ear health and situational awareness, as constant use may limit awareness of surroundings.

9. Do AirPods cause ear wax build up?

Ans: AirPods don’t directly cause earwax buildup, but using in-ear headphones can contribute by impeding natural earwax migration. Regular cleaning is essential for both ears and AirPods to prevent excessive buildup.

10. Why do my ears feel wet after wearing AirPods?

Ans: Wetness in ears after AirPods use is likely from sweat. Take breaks, clean ears and AirPods, and use moisture-wicking tips. If the issue persists, consult a healthcare professional.

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