Listening to Music: Are Open Back Headphones or Speakers Better for Protecting Hearing/Tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Support' started by LateNightArt, Sep 10, 2020.

    1. LateNightArt
      Wishful

      LateNightArt Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ETD
      Hi. I was just wondering whether or not I should invest in some speakers for music listening. I currently have a few open back headphones which are fairly high end which I find very enjoyable for low-volume listening for an hour or two a day. However, I am unsure whether I should chuck them and only use speakers.

      I currently can't really afford anything good speaker-wise, mainly because the UK market is kind of limited and I was mainly wondering whether it would be worth buying some fairly okay speakers to replace my headphones. I'm not totally sure whether I would end up listening at lower volumes because unless I spend a lot, they would probably have a lot less detail I'm guessing, so I may end up cranking them up more to compensate? I am planning on selling my headphones but for now it's been kind of hard to let go of them, mainly just because I am pretty unsure whether speakers would really be safer for my hearing and I have already invested a decent amount in headphones.

      Can someone help me out with this? I'm not 100% sure I'm convinced that speakers would be safer and worth the investment.
       
    2. Bill Arsenault

      Bill Arsenault Member

      Location:
      Boston.
      Tinnitus Since:
      Permanent and severe since 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Medication / Noise Over Exposure
      I think you should have both.

      Open Backs and speakers.

      I have severe tinnitus and always need some type of noise/music to distract me -
      usually a combination of both whenever possible.

      I am more than likely going to have to live this way -
      So I want to have as many different options as possible.

      Have a good one.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      LateNightArt
      Wishful

      LateNightArt Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ETD
      In your opinion, are the speakers more forgiving for your ears? I really love my headphones but I would think that surely when there's more background noise, compensating with volume to some extent would be worse because the drivers are closer to your ears or are decibels the same with speakers? I'm mostly concerned about noise floor because of my PC fans, especially when gaming.

      I have noticed that I listen a bit quieter on my laptop, it has passive cooling so no fan noise but it's a pain to hook up my amp and DAC to it. Is the volume difference a concern either?
       
    4. Bill Arsenault

      Bill Arsenault Member

      Location:
      Boston.
      Tinnitus Since:
      Permanent and severe since 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Medication / Noise Over Exposure
      In my opinion-
      speakers are going to be perfectly safe when used responsibly.

      Normal to moderately loud music and everyday noise exposure have no effect whatsoever on my tinnitus.

      But needless to say-
      everyone is very different.

      Some people feel the need to use ear protection in the grocery store-
      and to protect their ears from all noise levels.

      I would love to tell you that if you have not noticed any issues with your tinnitus worsening due to your use of headphones-
      Then keep doing what your doing.

      But I cannot do that.

      It is entirely possible that responsible headphone use is not a problem for some people with tinnitus.

      But your headphone use clearly has you a bit concerned and there is probably an underlying reason for that.

      If something is worrying you-
      then something is probably wrong.

      And the consequences in this case can be very serious.

      In my opinion-
      it seems like your headphones use for gaming is unfortunately a bit excessive for someone with tinnitus and beyond what you can completely control and be comfortable with.

      But then again- it could be perfectly fine and in reality it’s not making your tinnitus any worse in any way whatsoever.

      Seems impossible to know for sure.

      I do know that you will be able to enjoy gaming louder and feel better about being safer with speakers-
      but will have to sacrifice some of the immersion
      and privacy you get with headphones.

      Have a good one.
       

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