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Can listening to frequency audio damage headphones?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by Okrelayer, Oct 9, 2017.
  1. Okrelayer
    Long story short, I wanted to test my hearing. I went to youtube and played a few frequency range test videos through my headphones. Now I'm worried that what I played may have done damage to the headphones. Is this possible?

    videos in question:

    Thank you guys, but I'm freaking out lol.
  2. castleofargh Contributor
    no reason to worry, headphones play plenty of frequencies all the time. you know, music ^_^.
    the only important aspect of those tests is that you must never try to boost the volume level when reaching frequencies you can't hear. because of course the signal and its energy might still be very much present. so if you could boost such signal a lot, you'd reach a point where you could indeed damage the headphone but more importantly, your ears. but that's simply the principle of going way too loud with any sound.
    just listening to test tones at normal to fairly loud listening level does nothing aside from not being the most enjoyable thing in the world :wink: .
  3. Okrelayer
    Thank you so much for your response. Though I might over think and wonder the volume level that I had it on, but I consciously (hopefully!) made the volume really really low before hand. I just bought these wonderful $399 headphones and I didn't want to potentially ruin them by playing these stupid tones.
  4. castleofargh Contributor
    better ask questions than stress yourself needlessly, so you were right to come and ask.
    Okrelayer likes this.
  5. pinnahertz
    If I could only count the hours I've spent listening to test tones! But over the course of many decades I've also used hearing protection whenever possible, like when mixing a live band, using my chain saw, or even mowing the lawn. My hearing tests as very good for my age, but most of my peers are wearing hearing aids.

    Tones themselves don't hurt you, but the combination of volume and time does. So very, very loud but short (gun shots) can damage, but so can loud for a hours time (concerts) or medium loud for many hours.

    OSHA publishes maximum limits (of course, as audio folk, we all want to be well under these!)

    If the tones mid band didn't sound loud, there is likely no damage.
    Okrelayer likes this.
  6. ev13wt
    Its certainly easier to hear "too loud" when listeng to sine waves and test signals. But how can you ever think it would damage your system? Explain the thought process please :)

    What are you trying to achieve? Most youtube sweeps are very bad, with artefacts all over the place with each frequency change.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017

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