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iem vs full-size headphone: which is more damaging to your ears? - Page 2

post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post
iems are probably the worst as though they allow listening at lower volumes, if you wear them too long, your ear cannot breathe. too much moisture can make for infections which unchecked can breed hearing loss.

but otherwise give and take
Etymotic's stance on the issue:

"Occluding the ear canal with an earphone, earplug, or hearing aid will not cause infections in a healthy ear. It is possible they can aggravate the situation in an already unhealthy ear. If you do not experience ear infections currently, the use of earphones like the ER-4P will not cause an infection even when used for long periods of time. If you have a history of ear infections or other ear pathology you should consult your physician to determine if there any risks you need to be aware of."

The foam tips are not meant to be reused, and doing so could cause infection I guess.

I'd say in any sort of noisy environment, it's a lot easier to keep listening volumes low with IEMs.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by teatime View Post
The foam tips are not meant to be reused, and doing so could cause infection I guess..
Of course foam tips are meant to be reused (till rotten), and doing so will not cause infection in a healthy ear.
post #18 of 25
contrary to what many have said, going to have to say IEM/canals. Sound pressure is applied directly to the drum, where hte outsides of the drivers in headphones are loudest and sound is filtered into the canal by the ear. So rather than the drivers exerting pressure directly onto your ear drum, you have the sound itself producing most of the pressure. The "dont play your headphones" is too overdone, because if playback is 'gapless' and at a reasonably loud level (say 100 dB at the ear for 3 hours) is less likely to cause damage then feedback at 140 db for 2 seconds.
source: graduate studies
post #19 of 25
Headphones' SPL is measured inside the ear canal (by utilizing a dummy head), regardless of how far the source is. A sound w/ 100dB SPL by IEM has the same energy level as a sound w/ 100dB SPL by speaker in definition - because the point of detection / measurement is the same and the pressure that reaches that point is the same. You can't say an IEM's 100dB SPL has more pressure than a speaker 100dB SPL on the ear drum. That will be like saying a shot glass containing 10ml of water has more water than a water bucket containing 10ml of water. In the regard, keeping the SPL (volume) low is the right way to go for ALL headphones. Here are two scientific articles that support the view that proper usage of IEM can help reduce hearing damage: 1) Preferred and minimum acceptable listening levels for musicians while using floor and in-ear monitors from Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, and 2) Hearing loss and iPods: What
happens when you turn them to 11?
(pdf) from The Hearing Journal.

Also, under U.S. National Institute Of Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) 1998 guideline, the weekly maximum exposure (before hearing damage occur) to 100dB SPL of noise is 1.25 hrs, and to 140dB SPL (the SPL of a Jet engine makes) is 0 hrs - meaning you will have instant hearing loss and possible permanent hearing damage upon exposure, even for 2 seconds. I know you are using the number just as figure of speech, but I don't want people reading this thread thinking maybe 100dB SPL is fine for a short while - cause it isn't.

Like I always say, 'Keep the volume as low as you can enjoy, not as high as you can bear.'
post #20 of 25
You know those guidelines dont really mean anything, right? It's like them telling you that 3 beers in a night is a binge drink, even though you could have had 3 standard drinks over the course of a 6 hour night out. For some people this isnt even close to binging.
There is no guaranteed situation (within reason) where permenant hearing loss will occur. They also typically ignore that hearing can be regained right? (eg how you become desensitised during the day and wake up with the equipment on the same settings and it seems louder the next morning would be a minor example). As for the IEM vs headphone things, I never used the number 100 dB for those two examples, nor said that they were playing at the same volume at the ear drum. With IEMs you have more pressure from the driver at comparable levels, rather than just the sound itself, because the driver is moving air and so is the sound. IEMs are generally considered "bad for hearing", more so than full headphones because of this.
There is nothing wrong with listening to music at 100dB at the ear drum, it's their ears and they can do what they want - and they might not even experience hearing loss. It's important they learn to know when to turn down more than anything.
If you want to be anal and follow those reviews you should walk at a brisk pace so as to not be in the city for more than 3 hours, nor talk to your friends at a pub without music for more than 4. That's not how I am going to live my life because I know better.
You can listen to loud music and still have as much degradation to hearing as someone who has not listened to loud music from the aging process.
One thing that IEMs have going for them is isolation. Once you factor in pressure from driver + sound thats "all" there is to it, where as speakers/open fullsize headphones you need to factor in external noise a lot more too.
As for the the 140 dB thing, yes, you will have instant hearing loss. That was exactly my point. Perhaps the # was a bit high to illustrate my point, but people need to be aware of short sounds that will damage their hearing, often moreso than listening to music. A volume fluctuation from say 40 dB to 100 dB in a logarithmic progression is more likely to cause damage than a gradual (linear) progression from 40 dB to 100 dB.
tl;dr
Avoid starting with music loud
Listen to music as quietly as you feel comfortable
be aware of sounds outside of the music you are listening to
be aware that bass is more damaging than highs, even if highs sound piercing (at which point i'd still recomend turning down anyway).
Personally I dont care what equipment people use, but I prefer to use equipment that is safer for me (an isolating fullsize in a crowded city, or open in a rather secluded area later at night).
Theres nothing dangerous about IEMs or headphones, its just how we use them that is dangerous. It's easier to look after yourself with closed headphones than it is with IEMs.
post #21 of 25
"There is no guaranteed situation (within reason) where permenant hearing loss will occur" - hence there are guidelines for the general public to make sure they can always operate with in the safety limit. Who are going to bear responsibility for that unfortunate one in a thousand that doesn't recover after exposing to 100dB SPL for three hours? If a person want to take the risk and go to a very noisy bar or listen to music at 100db SPL, that is of course his/her choice of life. However, telling the public (as in posting in an open forum) that there is little risk for hearing damage in a noisy bar or exposure to 100db SPL because they 'might not even experience hearing loss' is not what a responsible person will do - There is no way to be sure that everyone else who read this thread will react the same way physically. That's why I want to make sure that those example numbers you gave in previous post will not be misunderstood by anyone.

In addition, I'll have to disagree when you said, "With IEMs you have more pressure from the driver at comparable levels, rather than just the sound itself, because the driver is moving air and so is the sound.' Sound is defined by air pressure wave, that is why volume is measured in Sound Pressure Level. You can't just isolate pressure (of the air) from the sound and argue about them in different terms. The bigger/lower the air pressure wave = the bigger/lower the sound volume. So 100dB SPL (or any dB SPL) is always the same dB SPL no matter it is from an IEM or a big can. That is just Physics 101.
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by cityfear View Post
iem vs full-size headphone: which is more damaging to your ears?
The ones that you listen to too loudly for too long damage your ears the most, although hanging around jet engines without hearing protection can be bad too.
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post
In addition, I'll have to disagree when you said, "With IEMs you have more pressure from the driver at comparable levels, rather than just the sound itself, because the driver is moving air and so is the sound.' Sound is defined by air pressure wave, that is why volume is measured in Sound Pressure Level. You can't just isolate pressure (of the air) from the sound and argue about them in different terms. The bigger/lower the air pressure wave = the bigger/lower the sound volume. So 100dB SPL (or any dB SPL) is always the same dB SPL no matter it is from an IEM or a big can. That is just Physics 101.
From my studies (which admittedly involved speakers more than headphones), there are multiple pressures against the ear drum, both infront and behind it. The drivers of headphones themselves move air as well as producing sound with the movement as does any speaker, where both the air and sound are a cause of pressure on the drum. A higher percentage of air movement from the oscillation of a loudspeaker will make contact with the drum when the speaker is inside the canal and will apply more pressure per perceived volume of sound (which is where most of the risk factor comes into it ime).
post #24 of 25
^ You do realize we are talking about transducers that can be as small as (if not smaller than) 8mm x 6mm x 4mm, with total diaphragm surface smaller than 8mm x 6mm (+ oscillating less than 2mm in total depth) while still capable of producing 135dB SPL in maximum output? That is still in total less than 0.192mL of air movement (for the whole oscillating process), even the air sealed inside the canal when using IEM is more in volume than what the transducer can actually move. When we talking about IEM, we are talking about a fixed and very small amount of air sealed b/w the eardrum and the transducer - because the amount of air is fixed, the movement of air that required to reach a certain SPL is less, as much less energy is loss during the transfer process. This is very different from the opened aspect of a speaker. An IEM don't need a lot of pressure/air movement (from the transducer) to achieve the needed SPL (on the eardrum).
post #25 of 25
iem's just weird me out. I have no source, and I know nothing scientific or fancy to say here. I just get the heebie jeebies when i try to put one in my ear.
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