Bluetooth has emerged as an effective short-range connectivity method in the modern world. Ever since its advent, this technology’s application in human lives is on the rise. There was a time when this connectivity method was frequently used for sharing files between devices.
Sharing data between smartphones via Bluetooth has become obsolete and now Bluetooth is majorly used as a means of connectivity between different devices (earphones, speakers, smartwatches).
With Bluetooth devices becoming a part and parcel of the daily routine it is crucial to address one question i.e. Is Bluetooth bad for your brain and your health?
In this article, we shall be debunking all the myths surrounding Bluetooth radiations and their impact on the human body.
What is Bluetooth Radiation?
To understand the impact on the body, we first need to know about the type of radiation.
Types Of Bluetooth Radiation
Bluetooth waves fall into the category of electromagnetic radiation (EMR).
Whenever you are connecting your smartphone to the wireless earphones or your smartwatch, the devices emit a specific type of low-level or non-ionizing EMR.
The non-ionizing radiation radiations from Bluetooth are specifically referred to as radiofrequency radiation (RFR).
Ionizing Vs Non-Ionizing Radiations
Bluetooth radiations are considered innocuous because the low-energy radiations, unlike ionizing radiations, can not knock out electrons from atoms in the air. Ionizing radiations are so-called because they ionize the structures and have the potential to have devastating effects on human health.
Ionizing EMRs include X-rays and radioactive waste. These radiations are powerful enough to cause damage to the human body by altering the DNA structure of the cells.
Are Bluetooth Devices Really Bad For Your Health?
While cellular networks can potentiate cancer in rats, Bluetooth radiations can not cause appreciable damage to the human body. There are two reasons for this safety.
First, the non-ionizing radiation of Bluetooth is weak and can not interfere with the cellular structure of humans. And secondly, the radiation can not penetrate deep into the body due to low SAR values.
Specific Absorption Rate (SAR)
The Specific absorption rate or SAR is a measure of the extent to which radiations can seep into the body. Bluetooth radiations typically have a meager SAR and the values of most Bluetooth earphones and Bluetooth speakers are kept under 1.6 watts per kg which is considered completely safe for humans.
Safety Concerns Regarding Bluetooth Devices
All the health concerns regarding Bluetooth started off in 2015 when studies started investigating the impact of mobile phone usage on different health aspects including brain health, cancer, and fertility.
The studies prompted a massive response from health organizations across the globe to impose restrictions on EMR device usage. In 2019 we saw Apple’s Airpods come under the microscope for their impact on health.
Just to be sure, Airpods are well under the recommended range of SAR and are completely safe for you!
The issue, however, was found to be linked to cell phone use and not explicitly to Bluetooth devices. Therefore, Bluetooth devices didn’t become a part of the concerned list.
Can Bluetooth Headphones Make You Infertile?
Keeping a smartphone close to the genitals can cause a decrease in fertility. As per a study, smartphone usage can lead to decreased quality of semen but that is not entirely attributed to Bluetooth waves or headphones.
The electromagnetic waves from cellular networks might be hazardous to reproductive health (especially in men) but Bluetooth headphones can not cause infertility.
Do Bluetooth Devices Cause Cancer?
In 2011 the International Agency for Research on Cancer, declared electromagnetic radiation (EMR) to be “possibly carcinogenic to humans”. The radiations from a wireless phone were found to increase the risk for glioma (brain cancer).
Many scientists believe that the perpetuation of the cancer is attributed to the stronger cellular network waves rather than the low-energy Bluetooth emissions.
Are Bluetooth Headphones/Earphones Bad For Your Brain?
One might think that Bluetooth earphones/headphones can cause damage to the brain due to their close proximity to it. Experts believe that even Bluetooth earphones and headphones being close to the brain only have half or one-third impact as compared to cellular radiations.
Scientists also believe that prolonged, chronic usage of Bluetooth earphones and headphones can be a risk factor for brain damage. However, as yet of now there is insufficient data to prove the harmful impact of Bluetooth earphones/headphones on the brain.
What Safety Measures Should Be Taken While Using Bluetooth Devices?
You can adopt these safety/precautionary measures when using Bluetooth devices:
1. Limit Prolonged Usage Of Bluetooth Devices
If you are planning to attend to long phone calls or enjoy music for long durations, it is recommended that you do it using a speakerphone or a wired headphone. This is because chronic exposure to low-energy Bluetooth waves can cause health complications.
2. Restrict The Number Of Bluetooth Devices At A Time
Despite the low SAR of Bluetooth radiation, exposure to multiple Bluetooth devices at the same time can increase the overall SAR levels and cause neurological and carcinogenic issues.
So, avoid exposure to multiple EMR devices at the same time.
3. Be Sure About What You Buy
Make sure that the Bluetooth devices you are purchasing fulfill the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) standards.
Is Bluetooth Safe During Pregnancy?
Though Bluetooth devices are safe for usage during pregnancy it is recommended to keep such devices away from the body during pregnancy (as a precautionary measure).
Is Bluetooth Safe For Babies?
Yes, Bluetooth devices are safe for babies and toddlers. However, you should monitor the time duration for which they use the devices.
Are Bluetooth Radiations Harmful To Humans?
No, due to the low SAR values and non-ionizing nature, Bluetooth radiations are not harmful to humans.
Is Bluetooth Safe Than Cell Phone?
Yes, cellular networks are linked to different health complications including infertility, increased chances of brain cancer, and neurological complications. Bluetooth waves, on the other hand, are safer than cell phones.
Is Bluetooth More Harmful Than WiFi?
The radiations emitted from WIfi and Bluetooth are basically the same. So, radiations from Wifi and Bluetooth are equally safe (or equally harmful).
Why Do Airpods Hurt My Head?
Headaches from Airpods use can be due to improper placement. Placing the earbud tips deep inside the ear canal can cause headaches and earaches.
Is There Any Scientific Finding That Bluetooth Is Harmful?
No, currently there is insufficient scientific evidence to prove that Bluetooth is harmful to human health.
Bluetooth radiations are non-ionizing electromagnetic radiations (EMR) that have low specific absorption rate (SAR) levels, therefore, they are completely safe for daily use. Studies regarding the increased occurrence of brain disorders, infertility, and cancers were based on cell phone usage and not Bluetooth devices.
So, Bluetooth devices (headphones, earphones, speakers, headsets) are not harmful to the brain or the body and are unlikely to cause brain cancer or cancer of any sort. Research is underway to investigate the impact of Bluetooth radiation but up till now, there is insufficient evidence to declare Bluetooth rays as harmful.