Have you ever noticed how loud the world can be at times? From traffic and televisions to construction equipment and lawn mowers, it can seem like our ears are under constant attack from the noise of the world.

You might be tempted at those noisy times to retreat into your own world by listening to music on your headphones. In fact, you might be tempted to crank up the volume to drown out all the other sounds.

Be careful! Your parents might tell you to turn down the volume if they can hear you’ve got your headphones turned up too loud. If they do, listen to them! They’re right.

Your ears are delicate instruments. Loud sounds — from music to jackhammers — can harm your ears and cause hearing loss. That means you can’t hear as well as you’re supposed to and, in some severe cases, it might mean you can’t hear at all.

Over time, exposure to loud sounds can lead to a condition called tinnitus. That’s the medical term for what most people call ringing in the ears. People who work around loud machinery often need to wear earplugs to protect their ears from loud sounds.

Headphones — including the popular ear bud variety — can cause the same kind of damage as loud sounds from machinery. So when you wear headphones, give your ears a break and keep the volume at a reasonable level. Your ears will thank you later!

If you go to a concert, you might also want to consider taking some earplugs along. Loudspeakers at concerts can blast music at such a piercing level that your ears can easily be ringing on the way home. If you really want to enjoy music — and enjoy it all your life — you need to protect your ears right now.

Here are a couple other tips to keep your ears safe now and for years to come:

  • Turn the volume down! Instead of cranking the volume up to 10, leave it around 5.
  • Take frequent breaks. Your ears need some quiet time every now and then, so take the headphones off and enjoy the silence!

56 Join the Discussion

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  (75 votes, avg. 3.99 out of 5)
    • Hi there, Jules! We think music is super, too! However, you’re right about the volume of music– it can damage your hearing! Thanks for sharing your comment today, Wonder Friend! Keep up the super work! :)

  1. Today’s wonder was great. I like to listen to music, and I don’t like it REALLY loud. I also like to sit alone outside and enjoy the birds chirping and working. Thanks!

    • Thanks for sharing your comment with us today, Bryleigh! We are glad to hear that you are listening to music in a responsible way– you wouldn’t want to hurt your ears or hearing! Also, we’re glad to know that you enjoy the sounds of nature– we appreciate that, too! Great work! :)

    • Hi there, Wonder Friend Barbie Doll! We hope you keep your music at a safe level when you enjoy it– not too loud like the video! :)

  2. Ya! First one again! About the ear things that you have been talking about ,I might have something like that in on of my ears, I can’t hear a person speaking when they are far away (especially the distance you can hear). And I can’t see 0.5 meters away so I can’t see well either. :( :( :(

    • WOHOO, we’re so happy you’re here, Carlos! We Wonder if you have visited a doctor with an adult– it sounds like talking to a doctor about your hearing and sight would be a great idea! We are happy you shared your comment with us today! :)

  3. As a musician, and a science teacher, I appreciated this wonder! After accepting that loud guitars were causing ringing in my ears, I accepted that earplugs were important for the health of my ears!

    I had to visit your site as part of a graduate class. This is my first time, and I think what you do is wonderful. I especially like your comments back to the children that foster scientific inquiry. Keep up the marvelous work, and I look forward to sharing this site with my elementary students.

    • We’re oh-so-happy you’re here, Mr. Thompson! We agree– keeping our ears nice and safe with earplugs is a great idea!

      Welcome to Wonderopolis– we really enjoy using our imaginations with all our Wonder Friends, too! Thanks for sharing your kind comments with us– we are always excited to learn something new with teachers, students, families and friends. We are looking forward to WONDERing with you and your class soon! Have a STELLAR day!: )

  4. I liked today’s WONDER. I’m in drumline, and it gets REALLY loud in there, so Mr. T makes us wear ear plugs. It comes in handy. I think tomorrow’s WONDER will be about eye spy or something like that.


    • Wow, drumline sounds like a COOL activity, Emily! We bet being among all those instruments can get very noisy, so it’s a good think Mr. T suggested ear plugs! It’s important to keep your ears safe! We will see you tomorrow! :)

    • You’re so right, Jacob! Music is great to enjoy, but not when it’s too loud that your ears could be in danger! Thanks for sharing your awesome comment! :)

    • Great question, Peter! We have been WONDERing about that ourselves! We hope you’re safely enjoying music today! :)

  5. I mean it’s true but it’s cheesy, seems like your trying to make us scared of listening to music loud. Comments seems like teachers did that, “Yeah kids! Do as they say!”

    • Hi there, Alex E– we’re so glad you shared your comment today! We appreciate your thoughts and we are glad you are WONDERing with us! We Wonder about all kinds of things, including how music can affect our hearing for the better or worse. We hope you will continue enjoying music at safe levels. We are glad you stopped by Wonderopolis today, Alex E! :)

    • Well, thank you, Litzy! We are oh-so-glad that you liked WONDERing about loud sounds with us! We hope you have a WONDERful day! :)

    • Hi there, Savannah, thanks for sharing your SUPER comment today! We sure hope that you enjoy listening to music at a safe volume– then you won’t have to worry about losing your hearing in the future! We are glad you have been WONDERing with us today– have a SUPER day! :)

    • Hi there, John, GREAT question! We’re glad you are WONDERing with us– and all of our real, human, Wonder Friends today! We are humans here at Wonderopolis, but the cool thing about the computer is that we’re able to communicate with people all over– through the computer! We hope you have a SUPER day! Thanks for commenting today! :)

    • Hi there, Missy, thanks for sharing your comment today! We hope you’re enjoying your music at a safe noise level– and we bet you’re having a great time dancing, too! Thanks for WONDERing with us today! :)

  6. Dear wonderopolis it is cute but boring can you maybe put a little more singing or at least dancing standing up? I don’t get the title either.
    I hope you do a video about a little girl singing.

    • Hi there, Rose, thanks for sharing your comment today. We really appreciate your thoughts and we are sorry to hear that this Wonder wasn’t one of your favorites. We hope you’ll continue to Wonder with us… and leave your comments, too! Thanks for sharing today! :)

    • Hey there, Fliss, we’re sorry to hear that this Wonder wasn’t one of your favorites. We really appreciate your comment and value your thoughts. We hope you’ll come back to Wonder with us soon– there’s so much to explore at Wonderopolis! Thanks, Wonder Friend! :)

  7. I love listening to my music loud but I don’t want to hurt my ears so I’m going to stop so I don’t go at a hearing loss.

    • We’re glad to “hear” that you are thinking of turning down the volume of your music, Emac! We want to make sure you can enjoy your jams without hurting your ears! Thanks for sharing your comment, Wonder Friend! :)

    • We’re glad to hear that you’re keeping your ears safe by listening to music at a reasonable volume, Kailey! Nice work! :)

  8. Wonderopolis,
    I learned a lot of educational things, that might happen to your ears if you don’t take care of them. I don’t even hear a lot of music/loud noises. That’s good! :)
    I learned that we should take a break from listening to music, and that we should take of the ear plugs for a while. If you hear a lot of music/loud noises, you can get deaf! :( Ear buds (which are in headphones) can cause damage to your ears.
    My opinions are that I would bring ear buds to a concert because, loudspeakers can blast A LOT of music that might be very high. I also wouldn’t want to get deaf of hearing loud music. When I’m at home and the t.v.’s on really LOUD, I usual say “TURN THE VOLUME DOWN!!!”
    Finally, I have a question for you. If ear buds (which are in headphones) cause damage to our ears, why do people still wear headphones?
    -Meghana B. :)

    • Thank you for sharing all that you learned from our noise Wonder, Meghana B! We bet your ears will be in great shape with all that you’ve learned today! Nice work! :)

  9. I don’t know if this is magic or meant to happen I just found this site today and I wanted to see more so I press wonder of the day and here it goes talking about sound and ear damaging , my answer to the problem that I faced last night I was telling my wife my ears are in pain and thought I’m getting a flu. It’s my earphones I always have them on and I listen too loud . I’m sure some will think that’s obvious and I should know that before , but with life moving that fast we tend to ignore or forget this. Anyway I love this site.

    • Hi Dany! Welcome to WONDERopolis! We hope you enjoy WONDERing with us. Be careful listening with your earphones too loud! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. There are new WONDERS posted everyday, so check back! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • How loud is too loud?
  • Can headphones cause hearing loss?
  • What can you do to help protect your hearing?

Wonder Gallery

girl with headphons purple background shutterstock_98148875735_2735_1Vimeo Video

Try It Out

We hope today’s Wonder of the Day was music to your ears. Keep the learning going by checking out one or more of the following activities with a friend or family member:

  • Do you have noise pollution where you live? Many people live near busy freeways, train tracks, and factories that emit loud sounds from time to time. Take some time to walk around the area where you live. Listen for the sounds of your environment. What do you hear? Cars? Machinery? Birds? Animals? How many loud sounds do you hear? Hopefully you live in a peaceful area! If you notice a lot of noise, talk with neighbors and family members. Is there anything you can do to reduce the noise in your neighborhood? Are there any changes you can make at home to reduce the effect of the noise?
  • Ready to give your ears a workout? Grab a friend or family member and play a game of “Do you hear what I hear?” You’ll need to brainstorm for a few minutes to think of some interesting sounds that are easy to create. You’ll also need a blindfold for the person who will be guessing the sounds you’re making. What sounds should you make? Anything you want! Some examples might include: doors shutting, ice clinking in a glass, dice rolling across a table, paper being ripped, a pillow being fluffed or a ball bouncing against a wall. Take turns making/guessing sounds. How good are your ears? Are you able to guess most of the sounds being made? Have fun and be sure to keep the volume down when you’re wearing headphones!
  • Curious about the science behind measuring exactly how loud something is and what kind of damage it can do to your hearing? Check out How Do We Measure Sound Waves? to learn more about exactly what decibels are and how much your ears can stand before permanent damage occurs.

Still Wondering

In National Geographic Xpeditions’ Soundscape: A Sense of Sound activity, children explore the ways in which sound contributes to a sense of place.

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