In 2017, scientists reported on studies that were showing the effect electromagnetic fields (EMF) can have on humans. Particularly on the central nervous system and even cognitive performance. Do you want to use Bluetooth headphones, but worry about whether electromagnetic waves could lead to brain damage? Are headphones bad for your brain, or is that just a myth?
I’ll explain what scientists are saying right now, and dig into what the latest research and studies have shown in this article.
Let’s get right into it.
What are Electromagnetic Fields (EMF)?
Wireless devices, such as your cell phone and Bluetooth headphones, emit EMF. An EMF is an invisible field of energy. This means that it is radiation that is created by electricity. With a Bluetooth device, the EMF is a non-ionizing type of EMF. This means that it is a low-level EMF. It’s also referred to as RFR, or radio frequency radiation.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer reported that this kind of radiation is potentially carcinogenic in 2011. This classification decision was linked to a higher risk of glioma, which is a type of brain cancer. The National Toxicology Program (NTP) did research in 2018 that showed exposure to RFR at high levels can lead to cancer in rats. The level of RFR used in this study was the kind you find in 2G and 3G cell phones.
Studies have shown that exposure to RF-EMF can potentially lead to changes in the nerve cells of the central nervous system, as well as alterations in how the nerve myelin and ion channels function. Generally speaking, RF-EMF exposure is believed to create stress for living creatures.
Is RFR from Headphones Bad For Your Brain?
Your Bluetooth headphones emit a lot less radiation than a cell phone. However, since headphones are placed on your head and are therefore closer to your brain, this can still be a cause for concern. There are experts in the field who predict that even with lower levels, using Bluetooth headphones for extended periods of time on a habitual basis may lead to problems over time.
There is certain to be many more studies to collect data on how chronic use of Bluetooth headphones and other wireless devices can affect your health. However, we know that the RF signals that come from Bluetooth and WiFi are a non-ionizing form of radiation. This means that it’s different than the type of radiation that comes from X-rays or the sun.
Non-ionizing radiation doesn’t have enough energy to directly change human DNA. However, there have been studies indicating that non-ionizing radiation is still able to have a significant effect on living things. It is still unknown how significant of an effect this could be.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the United States states that exposure to non-ionizing radiation on a routine basis is generally harmless to humans. According to the CDC, current knowledge indicates that you only need to be worried about the effect of non-ionizing radiation if you are having intense and direct contact with it, presumably on a prolonged basis, and only if you are using devices and instruments that are especially large non-ionizing radiation sources.
How to Be Safe with Your Bluetooth Headphones
There is still work to do on studying the potential effects of wireless technology on human health. However, it’s advisable to use precaution and moderation in how you use your Bluetooth headphones.
Try to avoid getting in the habit of having them on your head all day. If you have kids, be aware that potential effects of wireless technology may be more severe for children. This is because they have thinner skulls and smaller heads. Any effects that may be caused by Bluetooth headphones are likely to be more severe for them. Monitor how often and how long your children use Bluetooth headphones and other wireless devices.
You could also try using wired earphones or earbuds more often. There are Bluetooth sets available on the market that come with a cord and are able to be connected in that way whenever you would like. Depending on what kind of device you want to connect your headphones to, you might have to use an adapter, so keep this in mind and perhaps shop for the appropriate adapter at the same time that you get your headphones.
If you buy Bluetooth headphones that cannot be connected with a wire, you could also get a pair of less expensive wired headphones or earbuds. That way, you could wear the wired ones sometimes, and then only wear your Bluetooth pair when you need or specifically want to do so.
Headphones Might be a Better Choice than Earbuds or In-Ear Earphones
If you’re going wireless and you haven’t yet purchased your personal listening equipment, think about going with headphones instead of earbuds or in-ear earphones. With earbuds or in-ear earphones, there is much closer contact with your ear, or the device is actually inside your ear. If you choose headphones instead, at least there is a little more distance.
However, if you have your heart set on AirPods, the device’s antenna does not go inside your ear. Rather, it sits in the part that stays outside your ear and goes down beneath the ear.
Be Careful with the Volume and Keep Your Equipment Clean
One of the most significant potential hazards of personal listening equipment is the possibility that you might turn the volume up too high and cause damage to your ear drums and hearing. Using moderation with the volume is especially important if you’re using in-ear earphones, as they actually go inside your ear canal. It’s easy to become accustomed to noise that is too loud and this can lead to permanent hearing damage.
Also remember to clean your personal listening equipment on a regular basis. This is especially important if you are using earbuds or in-ear earphones, as failing to keep up proper hygiene can lead to an ear infection. Make sure to check the instructions that came with your device when deciding how to clean them.