Buying new headphones means choosing between wireless and wired.
Bluetooth used to be a lot more expensive but now they’re priced far more competitively. Previously, you may have made your purchasing decision based either on audio quality or budget but now you may also have safety concerns about Bluetooth headphones and radiation emissions.
The word radiation makes people uncomfortable. It sounds dangerous. For those of us who already own wireless headphones, it could be enough to make us plug our cables back in or put our cans back into the box forever. No one wants the mental image of their brains being fried just because they’re listening to a bit of Miley Cyrus.
What is Radiation?
Radiation is everywhere and all around us. It’s in the soil and the rocks; it’s in our bodies and in the food we eat. Our entire planet is radioactive and constantly being bombarded with radioactivity from space.
There are different types of radiation but when we’re talking about Bluetooth vs wireless headphones it's electromagnetic radiation that we mean.
Electromagnetic radiation can be further categorized as ionizing and non-ionizing.
Ionizing radiation is strong enough to disrupt things at a cellular level and can damage human DNA. Medical News Today writes that Ionizing radiation is found in sunbeds, sunlight, x-ray machines and radioactive waste.
It goes on to list non-ionizing radiation (which does not generally affect humans) and includes computers, smart meters, mobile phones, MRI machines, WIFI networks and, interestingly, Bluetooth devices.
Do Bluetooth Headphones Give Off Radiation?
Yes. Bluetooth headphones give off non-ionizing radiation. Scientific evidence, on the whole, suggests that non-ionizing radiation does not pose a threat to human health but some scientists believe long-term research studies are needed to be sure. They’d argue that the lack of evidence about danger is not the same thing as being safe.
The World Health Organisation does, too.
In 2015, an article published on Medium highlighted the concerns of 250 scientists who’d previously signed a petition calling for a greater study into the effects of long-term exposure to low-frequency radiation. The petition was concerned with Bluetooth technology in general but the Medium article mentioned Apple’s AirPods specifically.
The author voiced his concerns about high radiation levels paired with the fact that AirPods sit directly inside the ear and near to the brain. Which stirred a lot of people up. But in 2019, the California Department of Health conducted a study that found Bluetooth devices released 10 to 400 times less radiation than a mobile phone.
If you’re not worried about radiation exposure when you’re making calls, then does it make sense to be so concerned about wireless headphones?
And it’s easy to get swept up in terror at the things we don’t understand and let’s face it, Bluetooth is something most of us have little understanding of. Radiation is a scary word but as we mentioned in the introduction: our entire world is radioactive.
You’ll find plenty of websites arguing that Bluetooth is dangerous to human health. Some raise interesting points balanced with sensible scientific commentary but others are highly one-sided and prone to hysterical imagery often used to sell a product which ‘cancels the radiation’.
We’ll include some links at the bottom of this post that you might find interesting for further reading. As always, use your discretion as to whether you think it is safe to wear Bluetooth headphones.
Don’t forget that you can also turn off the Bluetooth function and use the wired connection both for on and over-ear headphones. For in-earphones you can buy an adaptor.
Do wired headphones give off radiation?
Bluetooth vs Wired Headphones for Radiation
The consensus is that the radiation emitted by wireless headphones is not harmful to human health. We’re surrounded by radiation both natural and man-made and the levels coming off your headphones are negligible.
There are concerns, however, that we’re now being exposed to higher levels of low-level radiation throughout the day both in our homes and offices. There isn’t yet sufficient long-term evidence to know conclusively whether long-term exposure to even low levels of radiation is dangerous.
If you’re not worried about your mobile phone, your smart-meter or smart speakers, taking flights or going for X-rays, then it’s unlikely you’ll be too concerned about Bluetooth headphones.
If you’re genuinely concerned or anxious, then wear wired headphones or don’t wear headphones at all.
GymHugz can’t protect you from low-frequency radiation, but if you exercise in headphones, our sweat-resistant headphone covers can stop your cushions and earpads being damaged by moisture and makeup.
Medical News Today
Radiation Health Risks
World Health Organization