Is Bass Bad for Your Ears? Your Question Answered By an Expert!


Did you know that 37 million Americans are suffering from hearing loss?

Well, the vibrational sensation coursing through your entire body can be quite irresistible. You may already be enjoying a song at an average level, but when you start listening to bass levels, it feels so much better.

However, getting hooked to this lethal sound level might just be the final nail to your coffin. Unlike high pitched sounds, listening to bass levels with these best bass headphones does not irritate you as much. Consequently, you will end up destroying your hearing without even noticing it.

By the time you realize, you are far too gone to get help. How would you feel when you look at others laughing and do not understand what they are saying? Imagine having to start learning sign language!

These are issues you shouldn’t experience. Here is a brief explanation of the hearing system and how it gets damaged by bass-heavy sounds. But before you go there, you might also want to check out our guide to figure out how to make my headphones louder!

How the Hearing System Functions

Here is how you can detect sound in four simple steps: Before you move forward, you might also want to check out our guide on how to keep earbuds in and prevent them from falling out.

  • Sound enters the ear canal, causing your eardrum to move. The vibrations of the eardrum depend on the frequency of sound. The higher the sound frequency, the more the eardrum vibrates.
  • These vibrations move through the ear ossicles to the cochlea. Here, they travel through the fluid in waves.
  • These vibrations then get picked up by hair cells depending on their magnitude. They then move to the auditory nerve.
  • The auditory nerve transmits these signals to your brain that then converts them to the sound you hear.

Notably, hairs that aid hearing are very different from hairs on the rest of your body. Unlike them, once damaged, they will not regrow! So, using a bone conduction headphone won’t be a bad idea at all!

How Does One Lose Their Hearing?

Several reasons can lead to loss of hearing. It could be due to head injury, wax buildup, genetics, chemotherapy, among other reasons. However, we will look at how loud sound can cause hearing impairment.

The loud sound can result in the complete flattening of your cilia. As you continue to listen to bass-heavy sounds, these hair cells continue to bend from the resultant pressure.

With prolonged listening to loud sounds, the cilia gradually lose the ability to regain their original position. At the point where the cilia cannot rise again, you will have totally lost your hearing. This is because the hairs can no longer pick up the vibrations, therefore cutting the sound relaying process.

What Level of Sound is Okay to Listen to?

We measure sound levels using decibels. The safest sound levels are under 85 decibels. This level of noise is basically what your blender or garbage disposal sounds like.

At the 120 decibel mark is where you are at a critical level and likely to lose hearing. This is the level of noise coming from a chainsaw, a gunshot, or using a metal hammer. Most music concerts will also have music as loud as this. Although you may enjoy the melody, this level is very unsafe for your ears.

Most musical instruments also will have very high noise. Good examples are the drumsets, guitar, and keyboard. Typically, they will range above 110 decibels. In some cases, they can produce a loud sound reaching 130 decibels.

Effects of Loud Sound

You can only stay close to these loud musical instruments for a limited amount of time. When the loud sound abruptly stops, you will experience temporary hearing loss.

Exposure to loud sounds results in the ringing effect in ears. This condition goes by tinnitus and can reach up to 70 decibels. If you continue listening to loud sound, you are likely to experience this condition more often.

Undoubtedly, you do not want to have such ringing in your ears. The biggest problem comes up when you want to sleep.

Loud noise results in two major kinds of hearing loss. These include the temporary threshold shift and the permanent threshold shift.

Temporary Threshold Shift

This is a temporary lowering of your hearing capabilities after exposure to loud sounds. However, your hearing will recover after some time. The rate of recovery depends on two main things.

One of them is the loudness level. The louder it is, the longer you will take to recover. Number two is the length of time you heard the sound. The longer the period, the longer the recovery time.

Permanent Threshold Shift

You will first experience a permanent threshold shift after exposure to loud sounds for long. Typically, it takes around 48 hours. Sometimes, it can occur after short periods. Irrespective of the time of exposure, the common thing is that it results from high sounds.

The Magnitude of Hearing Loss

When you start noticing hearing loss even in one ear, immediately seek the doctor’s advice. The doctor will use an audiogram to know the magnitude of hearing loss you have.

The audiogram will identify hearing loss levels by determining the extent of sound you can listen to. Here is how you can gauge your hearing loss, depending on the decibels you can hear.

  • 0-20 decibels- Your hearing is normal. This means you can hear a person breathing, which is at 10 decibels.
  • 21-40 decibels- You have mild hearing loss.
  • 41-55 decibels- You have moderate hearing loss.
  • 56-70 decibels- You have moderate-severe hearing loss.
  • 71-90 decibels- You have critical hearing loss.
  • Over 90 decibels- Your magnitude of hearing loss is profound. People in this state may still hear when a plane is taking off or a truck’s noise.

Parting Words

It is now clear to you that listening to music at loud levels will result in hearing loss. Remember, the process is gradual. Therefore, you may not be aware, but you might have already started experiencing hearing impairment.

DJs and musicians who are continually holding shows are at a higher risk of losing their hearing. Don’t forget that, unlike other conditions, hearing loss is irreversible!

When listening to music with bass for long, you continuously put your ability to detect low-frequency vibrations at risk. Music is a luxury; therefore, listen to it at safe levels and enjoy a lifetime of this luxury.

Evan Grant

A Ukulele player, musician, boyfriend and also the lead Editor of ElectricFieldsFestival, Evan Grant is the guy who runs this site. He's a great Roger Federer fan and is always up for a game of Tennis.

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