If we can’t fall asleep, perhaps because our partner is snoring or because we can’t stop thinking, one option is to sleep with headphones. Listening to music or a podcast can help relax your mind, but isn’t wearing a hearing aid 8 hours straight a bad thing?
If wearing headphones is a nighttime habit, it is worth considering whether it is harmful to your ears or to sleep. When it comes to how bad it is to sleep with your headphones on, the answer, like many things, is that it depends. It matters what kind of headphones we use and what we are listening to.
If we don’t turn up the volume too much, sleeping with headphones shouldn’t damage hearing. There are studies in which noise that is too loud for too long can cause damage.
Sounds at or below 70 decibels are safe, while sounds above 70 dB can damage hearing if listened to long enough. To get an idea, 30 dB is a whisper, 60 dB is background music, and 70 dB is office noise. Noises of 80 to 85 dB, similar to those of a lawnmower or leaf blower, can damage hearing after just two hours.
However, it’s scary how loud headphones and earphones can get: 100 dB, a level that damages hearing after just 15 minutes . Noise-induced hearing loss can cause permanent hearing loss and tinnitus, which is ringing in the ears. However, it is unlikely that we will listen to headphones at maximum volume while trying to sleep. But keep in mind that there may be unexpected interruptions that sound very loud in the headphones, such as announcements or news.
In addition, we must make sure that if we use headphones, they do not prevent us from hearing any sounds at night, such as a crying baby, the alarm or a smoke detector.
It is also interesting to know how much time, in total, we are using headphones during the day. If we have headphones on all day for work and try to sleep with them on, it might be best to give your ears a rest. If we use headphones, there is a risk that bacteria that accumulate in them can thrive and spread if the ears are also wet. Also, if we are prone to getting earwax plugs, wearing something in the ear, like an earphone, constantly throughout the day could make earwax plugs worse .