How Prolonged Use of Earphones Affect Our Health

What are the potential health risks of prolonged exposure to EMF (electromagnetic fields) ? Can wearing headphones cause hearing loss?

Most of us praise the positive changes technology has made in our lives without question. Most of us also assume that these advances are safe and have zero to little negative side effects. There’s a collective agreement and overall excited acceptance of these technologies in our everyday activities. However, the assumption that things like cellphones or Bluetooth earphones are entirely safe may not be correct.  This topic has caught fire once again as many people find themselves working from home and using headphones and earphones more frequently and for longer time periods. The main topics of concern are the potential health risks of prolonged exposure to EMF (electromagnetic fields) and if wearing headphones can cause hearing loss.  


Don’t Surf Radio Waves

Bluetooth technology at its commencement was groundbreaking and hailed by all. It wasn’t until later that consumers and medical researchers started to question it. Bluetooth devices use radio waves to transmit short-range communications, as do microwaves, cellphones, radios, and WIFI routers. These radio waves exist among the electromagnetic fields; hence they emit radiation. It’s no secret that radiation exposure is bad for your health. Our immune systems are able to break down small amounts quick enough to cause no harm, but what about prolonged exposure to small amounts? When it comes to products like Airpods and other Bluetooth earphones, the main concern is the placement of the devices being so close to the ear canal, exposing the tissues in the head to relatively “high” levels of radio-frequency radiation.

Experts Vs Experts 

Some experts argue that the prolonged use of such devices may cause neurological disorders, genetic damages, memory deficits, headaches, hearing loss, and cancer in extreme cases. An infamous petition to the UN and WHO (World Health Organization) was signed by 250 researchers from over 40 countries expressing “serious concern” for the effects of the non-ionizing EMFs. However, the latest scientific research shows that EMF affects cell functions at levels well below most international guidelines, meaning Apple’s claim that their product complies with safety guidelines holds true.

Only Time Will Tell

Truth be told, most research has been done specifically on EMFs, not on Bluetooth devices, and may suggest that this type of radiation could produce negative health effects, but the hard evidence is lacking. Many experts agree that when the data is all pooled together and analyzed, it clearly indicates an absence of harm, giving the opposing argument no credibility. The evidence shows that exposure levels below the international limits cause no harm or are a health hazard in any way. One thing both sides of the argument can agree on is that there is just not enough data to know for sure and that only time will tell.

Can You Hear Me Now? 

As for the argument of hearing loss, that depends on a different set of factors. The prolonged use of headphones and earphones definitely has the potential to cause harm because they generate loud volumes for extended periods of time and are located very close to the eardrum. Those who find themselves working from home and using their earphones or headphones for most of the day should focus more on the short-term effects like damage to the eardrums than the long-term effects of EMFs. You should invest in products with high-quality sounds, and they should fit your ears properly and be cleaned regularly.

By John Toroff

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