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Headphones, Earphones and Earbuds are harming our children

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

I don’t need to tell you that earphones and headphones and recently earbuds have become the in-thing in the modern era… Every child wants one, has one or is planning to get one… and by the way it has to be very showy… White, Bright Red, Yellow or Pink… one that will be noticed… The vendors are listening carefully and delivering the goods and making millions of pounds.

On the family channel, we are constantly looking for ways to prevent harm coming to our kids whist they engage in the Cyber world and the Clinic is genuinely concerned that parents are falling for this dangerous trend and has decided to share the benefits, dangers, alternatives and practical tips…

The Clinic believes this… For kids between the ages of 7 and 16…The dangers of wearing earphones, earbuds or headphones outweigh the benefits.


  • Privacy - Enjoy your music without disturbing others or worrying what they may feel about your taste of music.

  • Listening to music at your preferred volume levels… Highly Questionable

  • Fashionable… It’s trendy - Yeah right :)

  • If you are a music creator, you use them to make adjustments that might not be so easy listening to the playback via speakers.

There may be more but that’s all we can share in one video.


  • Hearing loss - Headphones that go over your ears can damage hearing if they are used for too long or the music is being played too loudly. They're just not as much of a risk as earphones and earbuds are even worse… Having the source of the sound in your ear canal can increase a sound's volume by 6 to 9 decibels — enough to cause physical harm to the auditory nerve cells when blasting loud noise at such close proximity, an effect that has even been found in adolescents.

  • Antisocial behavior - Generally, wearing headphones, earphones and earbuds don’t make us anti-social. some of our kids will still be anti-social without the help of these devices. But it does not help. Headphones send a message that you are busy and don't want to talk. There are kids who wear earphones constantly and ignore those around them. There are so many who just have the earphones plugged and the cables are not even plugged into anything. This is usually a way for them to deceive others into leaving them alone… Our kids have started presenting excuses like… They easily get distracted so need to be plugged in to help them concentrate. Headphones are generally seen as a big "do not disturb" sign. Headphones, earphones or earbuds often prevent our kids from engaging in socially meaningful interactions? Thus making them anti-social or Asocial in some quarters.

  • Unawareness - Not allowing themselves hear the auditory cues in the environment. E.g. There’s the danger that young folk (and adults for that matter) while on a Morning jug, while cycling or while on a general stroll… Will miss any sounds that could potentially alert them to danger… They become unaware of what’s happening around them (especially whilst wearing the noise canceling models). These are catalyst for… (a). Mugging… The rogue knows you are engaged, engrossed and potentially distracted...You are attractive to the rogue (b). Accidents… You are unaware of the dangers as you are totally engrossed… humans are generally unable to multi-task.

Clinic Tips

  • If they must… They should only use Headphones, Earphones and earbuds indoors only (acknowledging the 60%/60min advise below).

  • If they must, They should use dark coloured headphones (not showy ones) when outdoors… The showy ones (especially the earbuds) are thief magnets.

  • If they must have them, parents should have them keep the volume down on the headphones, earphones and earbuds to 60% and they must use it for no longer than 1 hour a time. (Advise from the Internet community).

  • An option would be not to use headphones, earphones or earbuds at all for the health risks discussed earlier.

  • If they must wear them, they should get into the habit of plugging in only one of the earphones or earbuds so the other ear can be used for ambient noise appreciation… (for the reasons discussed earlier)… For the music purists… This advise is ridiculous… But it does have its benefits.

  • Do not use noise canceling headphones outdoors to avoid the associated dangers… As these types drown out ambient noise, you’d be unaware of the dangers lurking.

  • Parents should from time to time have a listen to what their kids are listening to… You’d be surprised at what you discover… Let’s get involved in all aspects of their growth.

Clinic Challenge

What if we challenged our kids to unplug their headphones, earphones or earbuds at a time there are normally plugged in ?...

  • Whilst visiting Family friends

  • In the car

  • During dinner time

  • Whilst watching TV as a family.

It's hard to predict what might happen, but it would be interesting to hear how you get on… And importantly the results.

Send your comments via the contact page.

Let's be wise!!

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