Are Closed-Back Headphones Bad for Your Ears?

Closed-back headphones are a popular choice for audio listening. They provide excellent isolation from outside noise and come in various styles, sound characteristics, and price ranges. Some people worry that using closed-back headphones long-term could be bad for our ears.

While these offer excellent sound quality, there are some potential risks to consider before investing in a pair of closed-back headphones. In this article, we’ll explore whether or not using closed-back headphones can be bad for your ears.

Are Closed-Back Headphones Bad for Your Ears?

Are Closed-Back Headphones Bad for Your Ears

Generally speaking, the answer is no, but there are some potential risks you should be aware of.

When using closed-back headphones, sound waves can become trapped inside the cups. This can lead to increased pressure and make it harder for sound to escape from the cups.

As a result, listening at high volumes may cause damage to your hearing over time. It’s essential to keep volume levels safe if you’re wearing closed-back headphones.

In addition, closed-back headphones can also reduce outside noise, making it easier to listen to music at higher volumes without hearing any background noises.

While this might seem like a good thing on the surface, it could also increase volume and the risk of hearing loss over time if not monitored carefully.

It’s also worth noting that closed-back headphones may provide less comfort than open-backed models because they tend to sit closer to your ears and create more pressure against them.

This can be uncomfortable after long periods of use or if worn too tightly around your head or ears.

Understanding Closed-Back Headphones

Closed-back headphones are designed with a seal that covers or encloses the driver, thus creating an acoustic barrier. This design helps to keep sound from leaking out of the headphones and prevents external noise from reaching your ears.

When properly fitted, closed-back headphones can provide excellent isolation, allowing you to enjoy your music without distractions and at higher volumes without disturbing others around you.

The design of closed-back headphones can vary greatly depending on the manufacturer. Generally speaking, most closed-back models feature a circumaural (over-ear) or supra-aural (on-ear) design for comfort and optimum sound quality. Some models may also include active noise cancellation technology for further sound isolation.

Another important factor to consider with closed-back headphones is the material used for the earcups. Foam and leather are two popular materials often used in these designs due to their ability to create a comfortable seal around your ears.

However, some models may feature synthetic materials such as plastic or metal, which may be less comfortable but still provide good sound isolation.

It’s essential to consider the impedance of your closed-back headphones, as this will determine how much power they need to achieve optimal sound quality.

Most consumer models have low impedance ratings of 25 ohms or less, while professional models usually have higher impedance ratings of up to 600 ohms.

Advantages of Closed-Back Headphones

Advantages of Closed-Back Headphones

Closed-back headphones are a great way to listen to your favorite music without being distracted by outside noise or disturbing those around you. They have many advantages:

1. Reduces noise and interruptions

Closed-back headphones are fabulous for reducing noise and interruptions. They help block out external sounds so you can focus on what is playing.

This is especially helpful if you work in a noisy environment or if you need to concentrate while listening to music or a podcast.

The headphones also provide a more immersive experience, which may be preferable for some listeners.

2. Provides an immersive listening experience

This type of headphones muffles outside noise so you can focus on your music without distraction. They are also known for their bass response, which makes them great for music lovers who want to enjoy every note. Closed-back headphones provide a superior audio experience that is hard to beat.

3. Better sound quality

Closed-back headphones are known for their better sound quality. This is because they block out external noise, allowing you to hear the sound more clearly.

This can benefit people who work in noisy environments, such as doctors or lawyers. Additionally, closed-back headphones are often considered more stylish than open-back headphones.

4. Comfortable and secure fit

This is important for people who wear them for long periods, such as musicians and gamers.

The closed-back design prevents sound from leaking out, and the ear cups are padded to provide maximum comfort. These headphones are also known for their loud and clear sound quality.

5. Great for working or exercising

For working or exercising, closed-back headphones are ideal. They provide good noise isolation so you can concentrate.

And the ear cups are designed to fit snugly so you can hear sounds. This type of headphone is also comfortable, making it ideal for extended use.

6. Can be used with a variety of devices

The excellent sound quality and compatibility with various devices are features of closed-back headphones.

This makes them a popular choice for people who want to listen to music on the go without carrying multiple headphones.

They are also popular among audiophiles, who appreciate the high quality of sound they produce.

7. Great for travel

Closed-back headphones are perfect for travel. They are lightweight and fold up for easy storage. They also have a snug fit that blocks out ambient noise, making them great for plane or long train rides.

Additionally, closed-back headphones isolate you from the world around you, making them ideal for privacy while studying or working.

Disadvantages of Closed-Back Headphones

5 Disadvantages of Closed-Back Headphones You Should Know About:

1. Closed-back headphones trap heat and sweat

Headphones with closed backs trap heat and sweat, causing ears and headaches. The pressure created by the closed back of the headphone can also cause pressure points in your head, which can cause pain.

Closed-back headphones are not as breathable as open-back headphones. So you may experience overheating and sweaty ears.

2. They can be uncomfortable to wear for extended periods

For music lovers, closed-back headphones are often regarded as the finest option. They offer a snug fit that prevents ambient noise from entering the ear canal and disturbing your listening experience.

However, closed-back headphones can be uncomfortable to wear for extended periods. They can also cause pressure buildup in the ear due to the seal they create.

If you plan on wearing closed-back headphones for long periods, investing in an adjustable headband is best.

3. Closed-back headphones can leak sound

Closed-back headphones are a popular style because they provide a good seal around your ear. This seal helps reduce the amount of sound that leaks out and makes the headphone more comfortable to wear.

However, closed-back headphones can leak sound and cause problems for people who need to hear things in public. These issues can include poor hearing in noisy environments and difficulty communicating.

4. Closed-back headphones can cause pressure on your eardrums

The superiority of closed-back headphones in isolation from noise is often highlighted. However, this type of headphone can cause stress on your eardrums, leading to hearing loss.

If you plan on buying closed-back headphones, read the reviews and compare them to other types before making a purchase.

Tips for Safe Use of Closed-Back Headphones

When using closed-back headphones, taking specific steps to protect your ears is essential. Here are a few tips that you can use to make sure that your listening experience is both enjoyable and safe:

1. Use headphones for specific activities

Closed-back headphones are designed to provide a comfortable and immersive listening experience. However, they are not appropriate for all activities.

If you plan on using closed-back headphones for an unsafe or potentially dangerous activity.

It is best to consult your instructor or supervisor. Be aware of the potential risks of using headphones while performing these activities.

2. Use a headphone jack-blocker

The second tip for safe headphone use is to use a headphone jack-blocker. This device plugs into your audio output and prevents unauthorized people from listening to your music.

This is especially important if you are using headphones in public, as thieves may be looking to steal your phone and headphones at the same time.

3. Check for damage before use

Headphones are a great way to enjoy your music without disturbing others. However, they can be dangerous if not used safely.

Check for damage before using your headphones, and avoid using them if they have any broken or missing parts. Always keep your headphones safe when not in use, and be mindful of how loud you are listening to them.

4. Avoid overloading headphones

Headphones are fabulous for taking your music with you wherever you go, but make sure you use them safely.

Overloading headphones can lead to hearing loss, so avoid playing them at high volumes for extended periods.

Also, be careful not to put them in your ear when swimming or showering. The water will get inside the headphones and cause damage.

5. Store headphones securely

When it comes to headphones, it is important to be safe and store them securely. Closed-back headphones are especially dangerous because they can cause serious injury if not stored carefully.

Always keep your headphones in a protective case or storage unit when not in use. Make sure to leave them alone where other people can easily access them.

6. Clean your headphones regularly

It is essential to clean your headphones regularly to keep them in good condition. Cleaning your headphones will prevent dirt, dust, and other particles from building up and causing problems.

To clean your headphones, remove the ear cups, wipe them down with a damp cloth, and then dry them off.

By following these simple tips, you’ll enjoy all the benefits of closed-back headphones while taking necessary precautions against potential hearing issues in the future.

Should You Invest in Closed-Back Headphones?

When investing in closed-back headphones, the decision is ultimately up to you. While these headphones can provide excellent sound quality and noise cancellation.

Their use can also be associated with potential risks. It’s important to consider all aspects before making your decision. 

First and foremost, it’s essential to understand the design of closed-back headphones. These headphones have a sealed enclosure that does not allow sound from outside to enter your ears.

This makes them great for blocking out external noise and providing an immersive audio experience.

However, this design also means that your ears are exposed only to the sound coming from inside the headphones, potentially leading to hearing loss if played at too high of levels or worn for long periods without breaks. 

Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself while using closed-back headphones.

  • For starters, keep volumes at a moderate level. Listening at or above 80 decibels (dB) can cause permanent hearing damage.
  • You should also take regular breaks when using these headphones; give your ears around 15 minutes of rest every hour if possible.
  • Lastly, remember that wearing earplugs or other protective gear will help further reduce any risk associated with long-term headphone usage.

Overall, closed-back headphones can offer excellent sound quality and noise isolation without putting undue strain on your ears as long as you follow proper safety protocols and take regular breaks from them.

Investing in a good pair of closed-back headphones may be a wise choice for anyone who values audio quality but wants to stay safe.


Closed-back headphones are great for your ears but can cause some damage. So, before you buy them, try a few out from different brands and types to find the one that fits your ears best.

Also, remember how much money you have because this will determine what kind of headphones are worth it.

If you’re looking for a good pair of closed-back cans at an affordable price, then Sennheiser HD650 might be a great option for you.