Is the use of a Bluetooth headset harmful to health?

Myth or Truth: Could Bluetooth Headphones Really Be Unhealthy?

Bluetooth technology has been with us for a long time - and some myths about this wireless connection option have lingered for at least as long. Above all, the unfounded concern that Bluetooth headphones could somehow be unhealthy. We get to the bottom of this and a few other Bluetooth myths and dispel prejudices.

To understand: How does Bluetooth work?

Along with WLAN, Bluetooth is an important and widely used radio standard. It is built into numerous devices across all manufacturers and works like this: For example, if you connect your smartphone to a Bluetooth speaker, the two devices communicate using high-frequency electromagnetic fields. This is where the “Bluetooth radiation” occurs. The devices exchange data wirelessly via this very stable connection - usually only over short distances.

How far a Bluetooth signal goes depends on the transmission class. Classes 2 and 3 reach ranges of 5 to 30 meters. This standard is built into most devices - such as Bluetooth headphones, speakers, wearables and most smartphones. With class 1, ranges of 100 meters or even more are possible.

Is Bluetooth radiation unhealthy now?

In our everyday life we ​​are almost constantly surrounded by electrical radiation, which is also known as electrosmog. Bluetooth also contributes to this. However, the radiation emitted by conventional Bluetooth devices is very low - less than, for example, from a smartphone or WLAN router.

SAR - the unit of measurement for electromagnetic radiation

The unit of measurement used to judge how strong the emitted radiation is is the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR). It indicates how much radiation is absorbed by the human body. Of course there are regulations and maximum values. These come from the Federal Office for Radiation Protection and state that up to 0.08 watts per kilogram of total body weight or up to 2 watts per kilogram locally are harmless in individual areas of the body. The latter means, for example, the head.

How high is the radiation from cell phones and Bluetooth headphones?

You can check the SAR values ​​for certain smartphones at the Federal Office for Radiation Protection. A couple of specific examples:

  • Huawei P30: SAR value on the ear 0.33, SAR value on the body 0.85.
  • Apple iPhone 11: SAR value on the ear 0.95, SAR value on the body 0.99
  • Samsung Galaxy S10: SAR value on the ear 0.48, SAR value on the body 1.59

The Apple Airpods - one of the first true wireless in-ear headphones - have class 1 transmission power, which means a high range and also a SAR value that is comparable to that of smartphones, namely 0.466 watts per kilogram. Which is still well below the limit of 2 watts.

Most other Bluetooth headphones belong to transmission class 2 or 3 and therefore have significantly lower values. Like our AIRY TRUE WIRELESS, which with a range of 10 meters belongs to transmission class 2.

All clear: Bluetooth headphones are harmless

As you can see, all of these devices are in a safe area. Bluetooth devices with transmission classes 2 and 3 always remain below the recommended maximum values ​​due to the low transmission power - the Federal Office for Radiation Protection has given the all-clear. In fact, you're doing yourself a favor if you use Bluetooth headphones instead of your mobile phone to your ear - for example with our REAL Blue with built-in hands-free system.

Too much electrosmog should be avoided: Tips for the radiation detox

Specifically, we can give the all-clear for Bluetooth: You don't have to worry, using Bluetooth headphones is not dangerous. However, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection generally recommends minimizing the electromagnetic radiation around you. We can practically not escape electrosmog - but as always: the measure is decisive. The most important tips include, for example:

  • WLAN routers should be set up in areas where nobody is in the immediate vicinity for long.
  • Devices or transmission functions such as Bluetooth, WLAN or mobile data that are not in use should be switched off.
  • At night, the smartphone should not be right next to your head or, ideally, not in the bedroom at all. Tip, if you use your mobile phone as an alarm clock: switch to airplane mode at night.

Further tips on how to keep your personal radiation exposure as low as possible in everyday life can be found at the BUND.

Bluetooth speakers from Teufel

More bluetooth myths

The claim that Bluetooth headphones are harmful is not the only myth that circulates about Bluetooth - here is a selection of other claims regarding the transmission standard:

  • Bluetooth cannot transmit through walls: This myth may simply result from the limited range of a Bluetooth connection. Thick walls are an obstacle that can limit the quality of the connection. But as soon as you disappear behind a wall, the connection is by no means immediately broken. Much more important with Bluetooth is the distance between the paired devices.
  • Bluetooth and WLAN cannot be used at the same time: Both transmission paths actually use the same radio frequency band to send data. However, there are several channels on this frequency band that can be used by Bluetooth and WLAN. The technologies are now so intelligent that they are constantly looking for a free frequency and can switch back and forth when things get tight. So you can use Bluetooth and WLAN at the same time without worrying about radio interference.
  • Bluetooth constantly consumes battery power: In the early days it was actually the case that Bluetooth drained your cell phone quite a lot of battery charge. Fortunately, technologies keep evolving. With newer Bluetooth versions (we are currently at Bluetooth 5) you don't have to worry that a permanent Bluetooth connection will drain your battery. For example, if you have paired your smartphone with your in-ear headphones, the battery will only be used when the connection is established and when music is played. If the headphones remain mute, the Bluetooth connection is also idle.

Bluetooth headphones for carefree music enjoyment

  • ▶ AIRY: Listen to music wirelessly and without worries - on the sofa or on the way to work. The AIRY is hardly noticeable due to its particularly low weight and is very comfortable to wear even for a long time: also due to the wonderfully clear music reproduction. Because the AIRY has Bluetooth aptX, for the best sound quality.
  • ▶ MOVE BT: Do you want to listen to music, especially while doing sports, and preferably without cable clutter? Then the wireless in-ear headphones MOVE BT are the right companion for you. It is light, yet robust and also splash-proof according to IPX5 - a rain shower or sweaty training cannot harm it.

More headphones from Teufel

Conclusion: radiation from Bluetooth headphones is not harmful

  • Manufacturers of Bluetooth devices must observe certain maximum values ​​for the emitted electromagnetic radiation.
  • The Bluetooth radiation from headphones is so low that it is completely harmless.
  • You get more radiation when you use your cell phone to call your ear than when you listen to music with in-ear headphones.
Cover picture: © Emily Morter. Source: Unsplash