Can loud bass damage hearing? (Answered)

In general, listening to music at too high of a volume can cause permanent hearing loss, even if it is while enjoying the low notes of your favorite tunes (bass).

Let’s take a closer look at why and how this can happen, additionally, let’s also focus on the safety measures to prevent this from happening in the first place.

Can Bass damage hearing?

Yes, it is indeed possible for loud noise including very high bass volume to damage your hearing. In fact, exposure to any loud noise can lead to damage to your eardrums because our ears have a limitation to hearing sounds of different frequencies, especially at higher volumes.

However, if you start feeling uncomfortable or uneasy simply turn down the volume on your audio system.

get your ears checked

What is the impact of loud music on your ears?

When you listen to music that is too loud and with too much bass, you can experience a number of issues listed below:

  • The powerful sound waves can cause physical pain or discomfort in your ears, head, or jaw.
  • Ringing or buzzing in the ears is quite common for many, especially after listening to very loud music that also includes loud and heavy bass.
  • The loud sound can gradually damage the tiny hair cells in your inner ear which are responsible for transmitting sound signals to your brain.
  • Over time you may start experiencing hearing loss to certain frequencies if you frequently listen to music that is too loud and bassy.

Hence, it is very important to avoid listening to music that is too loud and bassy for your ears to prevent gradual hearing loss over time.

Why do you feel discomfort after listening to loud music?

It is quite common for most people to feel uncomfortable after a long session of listening to louder music with a boom-bass effect.

The discomfort arises due to our eardrums being hit too hard constantly by the sound waves.

If you continuously listen to louder music for an extended period of time, it can cause damage to your hearing or even permanent damage to the eardrums.

How do the ears react to music?

Any sound that goes to your ear is finally determined by your brain and the response is very quick.

Let’s see how our ear reacts to sound

Our ears are typically divided into three parts such as the outer, middle, and inner ear.

The job of the outer ear is to let the sound enter the middle ear.

The middle ear which includes the eardrum then amplifies the sound waves and vibrations which are further transmitted to the inner ear.

Finally, the inner ear transforms sound waves and vibrations into signals that are sent to the brain and accordingly, we react to sound waves.

The inner drum converts the sound waves into signals with the help of the Cochlea (an internal part of the ear).

You can refer to the image below to understand the parts of the brain.

parts of ear

The outer part of the ear is the visible part called the ear pinna and canal which allows the sound waves inside the ear towards the eardrum.

When you listen to music the sound waves hit the eardrum which vibrates and further reaches the tiny bones (typically there are 3 tiny bones in the middle ear; malleus, incus, and stapes).

The amplification of sound vibrations or waves is done by the bones and transmitted to the cochlea.

(Note: The cochlea is a snail-shaped internal organ of the ear and is filled with fluids).

Next, as the sound waves reach the cochlea it activates the fluid that bends the tiny hair cells.

This particular act generates electrical signals and reaches the brain through the auditory nerve.

Note: The cochlea is sensitive to different frequencies of sound and uses tiny hairs to detect different frequencies. , and the frequency of a sound is determined by its pitch. The ear can detect sounds between 20 Hz (low bass) and 20 kHz (high treble) under optimal listening conditions.

Finally, your brain decodes the signals and determines the type of sound or music you are listening to. Such as melody, background noise, boom bass, vocal, etc,.

How loud subwoofer is good for human ears?

It is always best to keep the volume level of your subwoofer and speaker that is comfortable for your ears.

If at all you enjoy listening to your favorite music notes at a louder volume, be careful not to play it too loudly or for too long.

Sound is typically measured in decibels (dB) and noise around and above 70 dB to 80 dB over a prolonged period of time may start to damage your hearing.

However, a sudden loud sound or noise around 120 dB (or more) can hit your eardrums very hard which can cause immediate harm to your ears.

To understand the sound levels in the simplest way let us look into some examples below.

  • A whisper is about 30 dB
  • Normal conversation is about 60 dB
  • The motorcycle engine or a subway train is about 95 dB

Note: An average subwoofer can easily produce sound up to 120 dB or more. You can imagine how highly your years are exposed to loud volumes when you listen to music.

Tips to prevent your ears from loud subwoofers and speakers

Let us wrap up with some simple steps to protect yourself from potential hearing damage caused by bass volume. 

  • Limit the amount of time you spend listening to music with high bass levels and other frequencies.
  • For added safety make use of earplugs or earmuffs when you listen to music with high volumes and bass levels.
  • It will help reduce the amount of (loud) sound waves that reach your ears and protect your eardrums from any potential damage to some extent.
  • At any given point in time if you do experience uneven ringing or buzzing in your ears after listening to music with high bass levels, seek medical attention right away.
  • This could be a sign of hearing loss or damage to the ear drums that can also lead to permanent hearing loss.
  • Finally, it is always best to wear hearing protection in noisy surroundings, especially, when being around loud music or working with power tools, etc,. However, it is not necessary to sport hearing protection for day-to-day activities

It is simple that listening to music with too much bass or extreme loudness can be damaging to your hearing.

If you are cautious enough to protect your ears will help you minimize any potential effects and you can enjoy your favorite tunes.

Final Thoughts

The impact of loud sounds from the Subwoofer and speaker on human ears will vary depending on the age and other health conditions.

It is always better to listen to your favorite audio notes on standard volumes and lower them if you feel discomfort.

If you are sensitive to high-volume sounds then simply use hearing protection when exposed to noisy environments.

Subwoofers and speakers are to fulfill your daily entertainment needs and hence use them wisely.

Armed with a Diploma in electrical engineering and a remarkable 12 years of expertise, he excels in rejuvenating music systems, washing machines, dryers, and laundry-related appliances. Manish's profound insights and practical know-how establish him as a credible authority in appliance and music system repairs. Contact: manish.singh (at) subwooferblog.com. He's always ready to lend a helping hand!