Poll: Open Back vs. Closed Back Headphones vs. Speakers — Which Are Best for a Tinnitus Sufferer?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Ninja Gandhi, Jun 11, 2021.

?

For safe listening, which are best?

  1. Speakers

  2. Open back headphones

  3. Closed back headphones

  4. Not much difference between either

Results are only viewable after voting.
    1. Ninja Gandhi

      Ninja Gandhi Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concert
      There seems to be a big divide between people who think headphones are okay at low volumes and those who think you should stay as far away from them as possible.

      For those of you who do use headphones, have you found there to be any difference when using closed back noise-cancelling vs open back headphones?

      Noise-cancelling headphones should let you drop the volume lower, preventing damage to the ears. Whereas open back headphones should reduce pressure in the ear.

      And for those who swear by speakers, why are they better than open back headphones if both speakers and open backs don’t trap the sound waves in your ears or whatever? Surely using open backs would be just like using speakers but closer to your ears and at a lower volume?
       
      • Good Question Good Question x 1
    2. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I just want to clarify a few things that some people might find helpful. Anyone that has noise induced tinnitus risks making it worse if they use any type of headphones at low volume. Some people that have noise induced tinnitus are not so easily affected, but the risk is still there each time they use headphones, earbuds or headsets.

      I have corresponded and counselled people with noise induced tinnitus that have habituated and returned to using headphones. Many have noticed their tinnitus increased and regretted it once they found the tinnitus will not reduce to its previous baseline level.

      People that have tinnitus caused by an underlying medical condition within the auditory system, or elsewhere in the body, are not usually affected by using headphones.

      Michael
       
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Ninja Gandhi

      Ninja Gandhi Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concert
      So what alternatives are there? If you’re going to use speakers, is it better to use the built in speakers on your device, or is it better to invest in some Bluetooth speakers with better sound quality, or does this have no impact on aggravation of tinnitus?
       
    4. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Since you have noise induced tinnitus I will assume that you don't want to risk making it worse. Therefore, my advice is not to use any type of headphones even at low volume. I am an audiophile and used to use headphones a lot until I developed tinnitus, because I listened at too high a volume without realizing it. That was 25 years ago and I have never used headphones since.

      I still enjoy music listening through high quality speakers on my audio system. I also have a Bose wave music system and a Pure Evoke radio. Both these systems replay music in high quality. I am a discerning and very critical listener and want to hear all the subtle nuances when listening to classical and opera music, so strived to get the best audio equipment I could afford.

      Buy a good audio system for serious listening and use something like a Bose or Pure Evoke systems, that are smaller and portable but replay audio in high quality, then you will soon lose your interest in headphones.

      Michael
       
    5. GlennS

      GlennS Member Podcast Patron Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1992
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
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      You heard it here, folks. Sitting at a cube at work? You MUST play music through speakers and annoy your coworkers or suffer with no masking source, because internet experts deem it so.

      ---

      Correct answer: open-backed headphones that allow air to "breathe" more.

      And psychologically people have a hard time measuring true volume through headphones, which is why they get tinnitus in the first place. If you have tinnitus (especially with hyperacusis) your pain threshold will tell you very easily what's safe and what's not. Don't be paranoid. Masking is the only real relief from tinnitus. Having to subject everyone in your immediate social circle with your masking source via speakers is simply unrealistic (unless you want to tune out of society and live in a carefully controlled cave). Know the difference between feeding yourself background audio (chill music, talking heads, natural sounds) as a masking source and enjoying a session of music at more of a normal listening environment. Carefully ration how long you listen to music at more normal volumes through headphones and use speakers when it's socially convenient and it should be fine.

      Headphones allow you to listen to whatever you want to listen to privately and that's extremely important. If I'm on a train, at the cubicle, or at home at 2AM desperately trying to fall asleep to talking heads, I need to be discrete.
       
      • Agree Agree x 3
    6. Matchbox
      Wishful

      Matchbox Member

      Location:
      BC Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced, Prednisone (drones), Barotrauma (distortions)
      I think the frequency matters as much as the volume. Anything around your hearing loss on an audiogram is just going to piss off your tinnitus more.
       
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