If you really are worried about feedback damaging your speakers and want to protect your speakers as much as possible. Maybe you should add fuses to them, paying a bit of money for the fuses is better than paying a lot more to have your tweeters and woofers replaced.
So does feedback damage speakers? Yes, it will but also depends on how loud and how long is the duration of the feedback. When feedback is sustained for a period of time at high volume, this will damage your tweeters and woofers. Even if the feedbacks are not loud, this will still cause wear and tear to them. There is also a possibility it will destroy your speakers even if it was a small amount of feedback. Prevention will be the best way to avoid this mess, and here are some of the typical scenarios that may create feedbacks.
Microphone Feedback Loop
Usually happens when you have multiple sound systems around the area which one of them has a microphone or a built-in mic (could be integrated into your laptop or mac or headsets). Your other sound systems could be used for home cinema or for instrumental purposes such as electric guitar, typically generating a high volume of sound. Just imagine these loud sources of sound is been picked up by your microphone and creates a feedback loop in which your speakers start to scream. That could be a lot of damage.
The best way to avoid this is to separate the systems into different rooms or at least place the system with a microphone somewhere else. If it is not possible or all of them are sharing the same set of speakers, then the only way to prevent feedback will be you been more careful and check your mic if is off.
Computer Speakers Feedback
Even though it is still about feedbacks generated by a microphone, but this is more specific and happens more often. Nowadays, PCs and laptops have a wide array of usage which involves using the microphone. From playing video games with your friends using in-game voice chat systems or platforms similar to Discord to streaming live using Twitch as you play and converse with your audiences. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, a lot of people are working or studying from home and will have frequent video conferences.
Plenty of chance of getting computer speakers’ feedbacks, because you will more than likely increase the Microphone Boost option in order to ensure all other parties can hear you speak. Due to the above uses, you and your microphones will be quite near to your speakers with the volume turn up as well since you need to hear the other parties clearly. So with these following conditions been met, you may hear feedback from your computer speakers.
There are a few ways to minimize or prevent this from happening, as you can just use a headset and forget about having speakers. But you’ll miss out on all the fun in using speakers though. Another way will be going into your audio settings which greatly depends on the type of audio software or hardware you are using, and enable noise suppression and acoustic echo cancellation or similar features. The best prevention method will still be yourself, like remembering to decrease the microphone boost or adjust the settings accordingly for various uses. Or get a better microphone (directional type) where it will only capture sound coming from your direction.
Audio Enhancements and Sound Settings
We sure love customizing via the sound setting to create a unique sound signature to our personal liking (even though it could create very colored sound) but these settings may create various distortions and even feedbacks due to the various boost and EQ adjustments at high volumes. Typically for myself, I will disable all of them, and will only touch the settings on my sealed subwoofer or settings related to the sub since it was built to unleash subterranean bass. You may want to disable some or all sound enhancements if the feedbacks persist.
Just a reminder, this also applies to your microphone, as you may set the gain wrong somewhere so you need to be cautious when you adjust the sound settings.
As you can see, microphones are the usual culprit when it comes to feedback loops which may damage or completely destroy your speakers. If you have multiple microphones, you should always keep the number of open microphones to a minimum.
In truth, the usual culprit is actually the user if I were to be honest.
And so in the end, the ultimate prevention will be your vigilance. For instance, I do occasionally play video games with my buddies online, this is when I will switch off my speakers sound system and just use a headset. When I am done, I will completely disconnect my headset. This is why I have never encounter feedback loops and would like to keep it that way as I couldn’t bear to have my speakers get damage from such folly.