Do Headphones Emit Harmful Radiation?

Over the years, headphones have gained wide popularity and are becoming highly sought-after on the tech market. But this is not without some growing concerns.

Many users have expressed concerns about whether or not their headphones emit harmful radiation and how lethal these energies are.

Of course, headphones emit radiation, but only in small amounts.

Wireless headphones emit radiation compared to wired devices, especially when used for extended periods.

This article will explain everything you need to know about headphones and radiation transmission and show you how to use your headphones to avoid harmful wave exposures.

To help you better understand this topic, let’s take a cursory look at radiation and how it works. We will do this by defining some important terms.

Definition of terms 

Radiation

Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) is the energy produced by waves and particles traveling through space. They come in various forms and may or may not be harmful.

Radiation is divided into two major types; ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. 

Ionizing EMR possesses more energy and can cause damage to cells because of its ability to alter electrons from atoms. Popular sources of ionizing radiation are nuclear waste, X-ray machines, and the sun.

Non-ionizing EMR, on the other hand, contains low energy levels and is generally safer. Sources include microwaves, cellphones, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth devices.

EMF

Electro-Magnetic Field (EMF) is a near-field (less powerful) wave emitted by electrical devices such as smartphones and Bluetooth headphones.

RF

RF or Radio Frequency are electromagnetic waves with longer wavelengths than microwave radiation. These radiations are commonly emitted by mobile phones and TVs.

Do wireless headphones emit radiation?

Wireless headphones emit RF waves that can be detrimental to one’s health if used for long. The brain absorbs RF radiation, and high RF exposure can lead to cancer. 

For this reason, it may be best to stick with corded headphones or, better still, use your wireless headphones less often (especially for children). 

Aside from Bluetooth devices, cell phones, microwaves, Wi-Fi networks, and computers all emit electromagnetic radiation.

Do wired headphones emit radiation?

Wired headphones do not emit any RF waves, making them a safer and better option for long-term use. 

They do, however, emit EMF radiation, but at a very low level. It is also noteworthy that cell phones emit radiation higher than headphones (both wired and wireless).

Should you be concerned about headphone radiation?

If you own wired headphones, you can use them for as long as possible. However, if you have Bluetooth headphones, you should be concerned.

Fortunately, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has reported that headphones and other lower-level emitters are not powerful enough to produce very high heat levels to cause harm. 

This means that you don’t have much to worry about when using your headphones. 

Direct exposure to intense non-ionizing radiation is only possible with people who work with devices or instruments that emit large amounts of non-ionizing radiation, such as radiologists. 

precautions to take when using wireless headphones

The best way to protect yourself from non-ionizing EMR emitted from headphones is to opt for wired devices. If you must use wireless headphones, ensure you don’t wear them for long periods. 

Another precaution is always to turn off the Bluetooth when not in use and ensure your device is within the FCC limits.

Additionally, as a tip, if you want to protect yourself from cellphone radiation, reduce the time you spend on your phone or place the device in aeroplane mode when not in use. Lastly, answering your calls on speaker mode helps to reduce exposure to non-ionizing radiation.

Tips to protect against headphones radiation

As earlier mentioned, headphones produce non-ionizing radiation, which is not harmful. However, long-term exposure to them can cause headaches and increase cancer risk. 

To help minimize your exposure to headphone radiation, try the following options.

Use ferrite beads

A ferrite bead is a tiny device wrapped around the wire of a headphone to absorb RF and EMF waves. They are usually made of oxides or metal alloys and are inexpensive.

Installing this device on your headphone will also help reduce vibrations, hums, and high-pitched whines caused by radio frequency interference.

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How to install ferrite beads on your wired headphone

  • Place the bead approximately 2 inches away from the device on the wire. 
  • Close the bead. If the wire is too loose on its own, make a loop out of it first before closing the bead.
  • Now, you’re set to use your headset with your mobile device. 

To remove the ferrite bead, open the bead and detach it from the wire.

Opt for air tube headphones

Air tube headphones are another popular device used to reduce exposure to headphone radiation. They work by producing sound at a safe distance from your ears and then transferring the sound up to your ears through empty tubes. 

All this process takes place without internal wires.

Conclusion

Headphone radiations are EMF waves and are not powerful enough to cause cell damage, but prolonged usage could be dangerous. 

Also, as discussed in this article, wireless headphones emit more radiation than wired headphones. Therefore, if you need to use headphones for a more extended period, you should settle with wired models.

You can, however, minimize the risk of radiation exposure by using anti-EMF accessories like ferrite beads or purchasing an air-tube-style headphone. Additionally, reduce the amount of time you spend with your wireless headphones.

Limiting your headphones usage will also prevent ear damage, as prolonged exposure to loud noises can cause temporary hearing loss.

Jude is a music and headphone lover. He has tested and reviewed several audio listening devices and enjoys writing helpful tips and information for readers like you.