Q: My mom tells me that if she can hear my music, my earphones are too loud. Is this true?
A: It may be annoying to her and those around you, but the research shows that it may or may not be loud enough to cause hearing damage. How much sound others around you hear depends on how your earphones and earbuds couple to your ear. Tight earbuds tend to trap all the sound in the ear canal. If the volume is set high, this could result in damaging levels of sound without it even being audible to those around you. And loose-fitting earbuds may have the volume set a perfectly safe level, but because the sound is allowed to bleed out of the ear canal, those around you hear more – and they think your music is “too loud”. It’s difficult to judge how loud is too loud – but if your ears are ever ringing after listening to music, that’s a sign that the music was definitely “too loud”.