An Auditory Safety Analysis: Which Is Safer – Wired Headphone or Wireless Headphone?

Sometimes a decent pair of headphones is all we need to create a world of our own, a world to delve into. Eliminating the outside chaos, a comfort headphone provides an audio-studio like experience that too without any kind of room reverberations. But raises the frown when comes the issue of health concern and safety analysis!

The perks of having headphone is too great many without a doubt, but also we can’t afford to ignore the auditory risks it brings along. Since decades now, the experts have repeatedly warned about the hearing loss, ear infections and life-threatening accidents caused by headphones. The question arises – to which extent are these predicaments applicable? Do all headphones pose a threat or a particular one? Will it be safe to use a wired headset instead of a wireless one?

These numerous puzzles must be hovering over your mind like an entangled headphone’s wire! And that’s precisely why in this following article, the _ Research Team will try to analyze and solve all the rumored and validated queries for its concerned users.

Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) – A Protection Measure from Exposure

This digitalized world of 21st Century requires us to be intricately connected more than ever before. But little did we realize, this very connection would expose us to health-hazard!

The Specific Absorption Rate or, popularly known as the SAR is a specified measure to determine the rate of energy absorption by per mass unit of a human body, while coming in the exposure of an electro-magnetic field’s radio frequency (RF). And this Radiofrequency is a form of Electromagnetic Radiation.

According to the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s regulations, all mobile phones will have to mandatorily comply with a standard SAR reading of 1.60 Watts/Kilogram or even less. Which denotes that, any mobile phone emitting radio-active frequency of more than 1.6 Watts power to a kilogram mass weight of the human body – will not be allowed to qualify for the present market.

Cell Phones Radiation & Interrelation with Health-Hazards as Cancer

With the exponentially increasing number of mobile phone users, grows the panic among people for life-threatening malignant brain tumor or, cancer.

Now the question arises whether to be scared or free-of-concern?

Telecommunication devices like televisions, radios and cell phones use an electromagnetic field which emits radiofrequency radiation.

cell phone radiation

And this low level of non-ionizing radiation is the cause which creates the fear of a probable cancer! Well, on an optimistic note, in 2011 the American Cancer Society Exit Disclaimer made a statement that, the evidences found in support of a cancerous risk – were not strong enough. Nonetheless, experts would still recommend the users to limit their exposure to radiofrequency’s radiation – through limiting the cellphone usage hour and particularly using an ear piece – especially applicable for new generation’s children.

Do Headphones Emit Radiation?

While talking on your cellphone, you are exposed to 2 types of radiation. The first one is, Electro-Magnetic Radiation – caused by mobile’s frequency connection and the second is, the phone’s internal Magnetic Field Radiation – caused by the electric charges of internal circuits.

And the headphone was basically invented to solve this very problem. Since a headset requires no frequency connection with the cell network tower unlike mobile phone, it doesn’t emit Electro-Magnetic Radiation! But it does exhibit a smaller amount of Magnetic Field Radiation through internal circuits. Variation applies in the case of Bluetooth earphones though.

In essence, yes, the headphones do give off radiation but the degree of exposure is significantly lesser compared to a cellphone’s radiation.

Do the Earpieces Help with Radiation?

Bluetooth or wireless earpieces, just like headphones are not free of radiation effect either. The exposure from the earpieces is caused by its internal circuits’ Magnetic Field Radiation. Biochemists often opine that AirPods can pose serious health-threats to the ear canal tissues due to its Radio-Frequency Radiation – which is relatively higher than wired headsets’.

Although the extent of earpieces radiation is incredibly lesser compared to the exposure of a mobile phone’s Radio Frequency, still wiser not to neglect it. An effective solution to outsmart the earpieces’ radio is to keep exchanging its wearing position. The experts have forever recommended not to wear an earpiece 24/7. But the busy schedule often makes it harder for us to put down this micro-medium of communication off-ear. Which is why, to avoid long-terminal exposure to earpieces’ Magnetic Field radiation, you need to take turns and alternate the ear you will be wearing it in.

Wired Headsets & Correlation with Radiation

After reading all these issues, a question naturally pops up on my mind: What is the status between Corded headset and Radiation? In simple words, wired headset is a device equipped with an earpiece and microphone – to be positioned near ear canal tissues – channeling the connection between auditory system and your cell phone.

The status between wired headsets and radiation is pretty much straight – A Positive Correlation! But on the forward-looking side, the Radio-Frequency Radiation sent by corded earpiece gets mostly worn out while reaching your brain. Those exposure waves are too weak to cause a damage in moderate-terminal use.

Does the Corded Earphone Equally Give-Off Radiation?

First rule about any working wire is – this generates electric current and thus, transfers the flow of charged particles. Like the cell phone, Bluetooth device, wired headsets emit radiation too. But on a varying degree!

In a wired headset, the radiation waves travel the pathway from cellphone to ear canal cells and brain – through the cord’s metal. This poor form of audio-frequency is known as Magnetic Field Radiation, earlier mentioned too. So weakened waves that are often hard to detect. And certainly, much lesser exposure than cell phone or Bluetooth device.

Bluetooth Headsets & Correlation with Radiation

By now all of us must have realized the radiation power of Cell phones! But we are yet far from realizing the potential cons of Bluetooth headphones.

In simple words, Bluetooth devices are a wireless technology which acts as a medium for data transmission and uninterrupted communication – within a small distance. A multi-tasking device as it is, has quite swift maintenance too.

Nonetheless Bluetooth earphones are not free of health-hazards. Bluetooth devices radiate a wave which is known as Audio Frequency radiation albeit Magnetic Field radiation and Electro-Magnetic radiation. And yes, over a longer period of use, it may cause serious health issues like ear infection, loss of hearing power for anyone, especially to children.

Do the Bluetooth or Wireless Headphone Emit Higher Level of Electromagnetic Radiation?

Technically Bluetooth devices are made without wire and hence, have the same effect as earpieces. Often we tend to assume that the Bluetooth radiation is safer than cell phone radiation – which is NOT the actual reality!

In fact, Bluetooth devices have been found to be using the same frequency as microwave oven. The radiofrequency radiated by microwave oven is almost similar to that of a wireless headset.

Which may sink your heart more is, the weak radiation exposure through constantly using Bluetooth over a longer term, can prove to be more health-threatening than some device’s strong radiation exposure for a short term. And we know those health-risks by the name of headache, dizziness, insomnia, and many more on the list. 

Comparison of Radiation Level: Bluetooth VS. Wired Headphone

A statement made by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health testifies that, the use of a wired headphone – can reduce the value of Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) – by at least 8-22%.

The wire which works an ANTENNA to transmit radio wave from cellphone to the skull, loses much of its harmful effects on brain – due to the indirect travelling route system.

Radiation Level of Bluetooth VS. Wired Headphone (banner)

The combination of two radiations – Electro-Magnetic Radiation and Magnetic Field Radiation – generated by non-wired headset is much higher than wired headset’s.

A Bluetooth device can be compared to a mini Wi-Fi router which transmits signal. Numerous tests have validated that Bluetooth earpieces are a successful measure in reducing the SAR in human body, to a significant extent.

Are Wired Headphones Safer than Wireless Headphones?

In 2012, a research by Dr. Andrew Goldsworthy revealed that Bluetooth earpieces emit short-wavelength energy, additionally causes rapid rise and fall of pulse – which is potential of severely affecting human cells. This short wavelength disrupts the Calcium Ion signal and hence, the ion channels end up leaking. If such disruption is caused frequently, then after a long while human body becomes vulnerable to irreparable DNA damage. And since the Bluetooth signal gets transmitted to your ears – closer to head – the risks of Neuronal damage accelerates.

Radio or cell phones function as the “signal source” for wired headsets. The sound energy generated from these signal sources is then transformed into electrical energy. And like any other electrical energy, this wired set as well radiates a low form of EMF wave – known as Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) radiation. As a result, the radiation emitted by wired headsets is less dangerous than the radiation effects of wireless headsets.

Is the Wireless Headphone Bad for Your Health?

Well, the science here is more conclusive than a straight no or yes!

Lately there has been a buzz on the internet about how Apple’s $250 AirPods Pro and some other headphones are becoming a cause of you being Carcinogenic. The real truth is much more complicated…

Examples are often used of a 2015 incidence when nearly 250 scientists from all over the world signed a petition and appealed to the United Nations (UN) – expressing their concern for the non-ionizing Electro-Magnetic-Frequency (EMF) radiation.

What we again and again failed to notice is, in that particular appeal, Bluetooth was not the only device to be specifically mentioned! Rather it contained EMF wave emitting Cellphones, WiFi devices, broadcast antennas and baby monitors as well.

And hence, it would be safe to recommend that though wireless headphones emit an EMF radiation, still for the better protection of ear canal tissue – not raising earphone’s sound above the measured safety level – would be more helpful rather than getting another headache pondering over Bluetooth radiation.

A Radiation-Safe Solution: Stop the Phone Radiation from Reaching Your Brain

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that just like Chloroform, Lead, Engine exhaust, mobile phones are now in the same category posing carcinogenic-threats. Which makes now a high time to act on your health favor. And stop the radiation from getting onto you.

I. Do NOT Wear Bluetooth Earpiece 24/7

Well, Bluetooth was never designed to be worn 24/7! From the above information, you must have realized by now how effortlessly it emits radiation on own.

We wouldn’t suggest to stop wearing Bluetooth at all. Since we know, driving, office meeting and tasks like these make it quite impossible to resist from wireless earphones. But what we can recommend is, USE IT LESSER! And while wearing, keep exchanging it from ears to ears within a brief interval.

At the end of the day, it’s all about our good health!

II. Avoid Body Contact with Phone

Make the most minimal body contact with your phone. It’s the best thing to do if you want to avoid harmful radiation exposure.

So, instead of carrying the cellphone in your pocket – put it in a small handbag or backpack! If you are inside a car, keep it in the front gloves department. And most importantly, do not sleep with your phone! In a nutshell, let the cellphone maintain a safe distance from your valuable organs.

III. Do NOT Use Headphone in Low Signal

Try to avoid using headphones when the cellphone’s signal is low. When the signal comes lower, usually such happens in remote areas or moving bus, train. Then the phone attempts to connect to the nearest cell tower transmitting its highest radiation. Now you probably realize why your battery gets drained fast in low signal! Because the phone uses extensive power at that moment.

And this is precisely why, for the sake of safe health – you should try to avoid using headphone in a low signal.

IV. Attach Headphone after Call Connection

Attach the headset to your ear only after the call is connected. The phone radiates extreme waves during the earlier few seconds of dialing a number. After a strong connection is established – which usually happens after the receiver picks up the phone – the radiation level then gets back to normal proportion.  So to escape from this extra radiation, you may attach the headset to cellphone, but put it on ears only after the call connection has been established.

V. Better to Use Wired Headset

No, we won’t give the impression that wiring doesn’t conduct radiation. It does – but the truth is it radiates on a much smaller scale compared to other alternatives available.

You must have often seen a cellphone box features an entangled headset with additional accessories. Ever thought why? This is only because the manufacturers recommend to keep the radiation as far away as possible from your body and thus, suggests using a wired headphone!

VI. Try an EMF-Free Air Tube Headsets

In air tube headsets, the braided Nylon wire is infused with Copper. This infusion works as a potential safeguard from Extremely Low Frequency (EMF) radiation. And for this reason, a hollow air-tube headset is effectively much safer than traditional headsets, against radiation.

VII. Get Ferrite Beads Attached

If you’re still afraid of the radiation exposure, maybe you should think of buying a ferrite bead. As pocket-friendly as it is, helps on lessening absorption. Find out right below how it works!

Reduce the Wired Headphone’s Radiation with Ferrite Bead

Ferrite beads have been featured over the years as an effective way of eliminating radiation. These little beads can be attached with laptop, television, cellphone, headsets and many more electronic devices.

By filtering nearly 90% more Radio Frequency (RF) radiation than your normal exposure, it makes your wired headset a lot safer than before. Ferrite beads absorb the radiation traveling through chords and reduce the amount of radiation waves that reach your brain. In other electronic devices, it stops the sudden flow of high-frequency electricity and ensures that abrupt frequency spikes do not damage the circuit board.

And so by pairing these ferrite beads with your cellphone or headphone, you can make the talking experience 90% safer than before!

How to Make the Wired Headset Safer with Ferrite Beads: Step by Step

Here’s to how you can install the ferrite bead with your electronic devices and take comfort on free-of-worry using!

·         Purchase the right size of bead suited to your device from an electronic store or, online.

·         Attach the ferrite bead on the wire.

·         Position it near the device source. Preferably maintain a distance of 5.1 cm. It prompts blocking the exposure if placed nearer to the radiation source.

·         Clamp the ferrite bead firmly to make it tight-sealed. That way it won’t slide down the wire.

·         If the placement is still too loose and it comes sliding down, try a double-loop to thicken the wire or, use a space-filler like Plastic paperclip to fill out the extra space.

Thoughts of the Final Hour: Wired or, Wireless?

When it finally comes to the question – which is safer among the two: wired or wireless, we would recommend – none singly! Well, by none we don’t mean neither of these is safe. That’d be an outrageous misconception! What we mean to say is, do not use the headphones without additional accessories.

And the additional accessories are namely a perfect-sized radiation blocker like Ferrite Bead. Or, even smarter to go for an EMF-free pair of hollow headphone like the Air Tube Headset.

In this fast-paced world of today, without being concerned over privacy-lost and danger-radiation, the above mentioned knitty-gritty tricks can be your life-saver. Hopefully you are now clear of all the perplexing confusions – wired vs. wireless, radiation vs. no radiation, safe vs. unsafe; and opting to make the right choice.

Here is to your safe-health, free of overflowing thoughts and entangled radiation!

Vitaly Fedorov

Vitaly Fedorov is a seasoned audio technician and writer. After spending ten years in a studio team, I have decided to spread my knowledge to people in this domain. On this site, I work for headphone fixing or repair issues, that you’re thinking about fixing. Click on any article on my site and read the complete answer about that issue. I am excited to read your feedback.

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