The Evolution of Headphones: Insights from Mimi User Survey 2023

In the age of ever-changing technology, headphones have transcended their traditional purpose of music consumption. Today, they are essential for various activities such as listening to music, audiobooks, virtual meetings, making calls, and gaming. 

With the central role that headphones play in our lives, Mimi reached out to True Wireless Stereo (TWS) headphone users around the globe to understand how they use their headphones and what matters most to them when speaking about sound experience. Our survey gathered data from 1,015 respondents across North America (61%), Europe (24%), Asia (8%), and other regions (7%), shedding light on the multifaceted world of headphone usage.

The Everyday Headphone Experience

The widespread use of headphones is no longer a revelation in today’s fast-paced world. Our survey confirmed that approximately 60% of respondents, particularly favoring wireless earbuds, use headphones for several hours each day.

As individuals integrate audio into various aspects of their daily lives, including entertainment and leisure (71%), work (61%), exercise (57%), relaxation (56%), and communication (46%), it comes as no surprise that the majority of our respondents (70%) own more than one pair of headphones.

The top three devices used to connect headphones include smartphones (94%), laptops/computers (63%), and TVs (20%).

The graph listed activities that users use headphones on
When do you usually use headphones?

Understanding User Concerns

One significant finding from our survey is that at least 79% of respondents experienced some type of hearing problems over the past year. These problems varied from struggling with conversations in noisy places to discomfort caused by ringing in the ears/ tinnitus. Moreover, 40% found it challenging to follow conversations when multiple people were speaking simultaneously. The 2023 Qualcomm State of Sound Report Qualcomm State of Sound Report for 2023 supports the notion that hearing difficulties are not limited to those with hearing impairments.

The chart shows the hearing problem that headphone users encountered past 12 months
Do you have or have noticed any of the following hearing problems during the past 12 months?

However, it’s striking that only 30% of respondents (312 out of 1,015) actively take measures to protect their hearing. Among those who do, popular tools include noise-canceling headphones, audio exposure tracking apps, ambient sound meters, and earplugs. Some respondents also utilize hardware or software volume limiters or manually restricting volume levels.

The graph shows if headphones users used tools to protect their hearing
Do you use any tool/hardware/software/service to protect your hearing?

Sound Check: The Growing Trend of Hearing Wellbeing

Although the survey participants were not proactive in using hearing protection, there is a positive trend when it comes to hearing assessments. More than 70% of respondents have, at least once, evaluated their hearing either independently, for example using smartphone apps, or with the guidance of an audiologist. This demonstrates an increasing awareness of the importance of monitoring and maintaining hearing health.

Taking simple steps to prevent hearing loss in everyday life, like tips to prevent hearing loss, can help users protect their ears and maintain their hearing health. Regular hearing assessment either with assistance of hearing care professionals or from the comfort of their own home, by using a hearing test app like Mimi, can help identify and address hearing health issues proactively.

The Evolution of Headphones and the Need for Hearing Health Awareness

The Mimi Hearing User Survey and the Qualcomm State of Sound 2023 Report emphasize the changing landscape of audio technology and the growing interest in personalized audio solutions. These reports also underscore the need for more awareness around hearing health. For headphone users, it’s essential to strike a balance between immersive audio experiences and safeguarding your precious sense of hearing. 

This is where Mimi steps in. Mimi-enabled partner devices  allow users to customize everyday technology to meet their unique hearing needs. Users can enjoy richer and more sound quality with lower volume, but also keep track of their hearing ability and changes over time.  

Click here to find out more about the benefits of Sound Personalization and unlock a world of audio that really fits you.