Is Bluetooth Headset a Health Concern?

“Hi there, I’m using Bluetooth headphones for listening to music. The other day, my neighbor told me that these devices are bad for health and pose a great risk. Please tell me, can Bluetooth cause cancer?, asked, Janet Springfield, a TechWelkin reader through email. To answer this, I did a bit of research and based on that, I am writing this article.

Imagining a world without wireless devices is increasingly becoming difficult. Such devices are very convenient to use as they cut away the hassle of managing wires. Mobiles phones, Bluetooth headsets, FM radios –all these are the examples of wireless devices. However, because wireless devices work on the grounds of radiation; there has been a growing concern about how safe are Bluetooth devices?

Bluetooth is an industry standard that is used for transferring data over small distances through radio waves. It has become almost an established fact that mobile phone radiations are dangerous for our health. Mobile phone radiation can cause cancer and tumors. Combined with the ease of use; these concerns have sky-rocketed the acceptability of devices like hands-free earphones and Bluetooth headset.

But many people still fear that, like mobile phones, Bluetooth headsets can also cause cancer!

There are concerns about Bluetooth headsets causing health risks like cancer. But these concerns are baseless.

People get anxious because of the thought of having a radio antenna planted so near their brains! After all, Bluetooth devices also work wirelessly just like mobile phones! So what’s the difference?!

The Truth of Bluetooth’s Effect on Heath

Well, let’s get to the point. The truth is that Bluetooth is as safe to you as your FM radio. Let me explain how.

On 31st May 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that excessive use of mobile phones may represent a long-term health risk. Cell phones are dangerous as they emit high powered radiations. This is because mobile phones have to send signals to the base station which could be located miles away.

On the contrary, range of Bluetooth is less than 100 feet. So, Bluetooth radiations carry comparatively negligible energy.

Bluetooth uses the microwave frequency spectrum in the range of 2.4 GHz to 2.4835 GHz while the FM radio uses 87.5 to 108.0 MHz. Do not worry about the big difference between the used frequencies. It is not the frequency that matters but the energy carried by the waves. Bluetooth waves are not expected to travel long distances –so they carry very little amount of energy.

Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) is the measure of how much radiation energy our body absorbs if exposed to a particular frequency. In United States, only those mobile phones are allowed to be sold that have an SAR rate of 1.6 watt (of energy) per kilogram (weight of the user’s body).

According to Wikipedia, the SAR rate of LG Optimus 2X mobile phone is just 0.545. Similarly:

Motorola Devour has an SAR rate of 0.45
Nokia 3310 has an SAR rate of 0.99
Motorola Stature i9 has an SAR rate of 1.44

The least harmful phone on the list is Samsung Acclaim with an SAR rate of just 0.29

Now let’s see how bad is Bluetooth headset in comparison.

A study by William G. Scanlon of Queen’s University in Belfast found that a typical Ericsson Bluetooth radio module generates an SAR rate of just 0.001 !

Even our sun emits much more powerful radiation than Bluetooth!

Rest assured, so far, none of the studies have linked Bluetooth with health hazards.

It is in fact better to use a Bluetooth headset because not only it saves you from tangled wires of a hands-free but also it increases the average distance of mobile phone from your body.

Did you get the point? The real problem is the mobile phone itself. The farther it is from your body –the better it would be. Bluetooth headsets allow you to keep the phone much farther away from your body.

Conclusion

So, dear reader, don’t be afraid. Get a Bluetooth headset and enjoy using mobile phones in a better and more convenient way! The best way is, of course, to use earbuds (aka hands-free or earphone) because they don’t emit any radiation at all and also keep the mobile phone away from your body. Bluetooth is the second best choice. Using Bluetooth headset is definitely better than pressing a nasty mobile phone on your ear. Mobile phone is the real bad guy! Keep it away from your body.

19 thoughts on “Is Bluetooth Headset a Health Concern?”

  1. i am using it everyday for music. is it bad?? i am now scared because a lot of people say it is really bad for you then other says it is not. i don’t know what to believe now

    1. Hi Adri, Bluetooth is safe for you but too much music is harmful for you. According to the study wearing earphones with music for more than one hour is destroys your listening tissues. According to the Manchester Evening News, regular use of earphones can enhance the growth of harmful bacteria, and sharing or borrowing earphones may just cause the transfer someone else’s bacteria to your ears.

  2. Now while you clarified the Bluetooth itself not being harmful… What about the battery in those headsets which is now really close to your head the whole time?

    1. I’m completely on the fence about wireless technology, I like the idea mentioned of making sure we moderate use, but one thing I’d point out for all of the referenced research – and I haven’t read it all – is they all seem to date from Pre-2000 ?

  3. Thanks, but does it matters that bluetooth is always around the neck in power ON condition while mobile comes in contact only during a call.

  4. I am really sorry if I am awakening old subject but please can you explain to me scientifically why wired headset is not dangerous (not having antenna effect). Thanks in advance.

  5. Hi Lalit, I in part agree. I trust your data about the radiation level. However, another thing to be taken into account is the duration and distance. The harm could be accumulated when someone uses blue teeth headset to listen music for hours every day. In comparison, you only expose to mobile radiation for a few minutes when you speak on the phone (in other time, the radiation is far more less). Concluding whether wearable blue teeth device is harmful to health needs long term monitoring. I am not convinced the limited research in the market can give sensible advice. My opinion only.

    1. Hi Andy, I tend to agree with this. I am also of the opinion that duration of use will matter somehow. So, we should try and avoid too much use of gadgets, including Bluetooth devices. Too much of anything is bad!

  6. This is the first scientific breakdown I’ve read on an important topic that is fraught with misinformation. I wear my Bluetooth headphones very regularly, and from the first few websites I researched, I should have Kuato from Total Recall growing out of the back of my neck. Thanks for distilling this issue in a logical manner.

  7. Your clarification is clear & gives more satisfaction. No doubt. I am a Bluetooth user and people always tell me, please Caesar, you’ll be affected with cancer. I love using Bluetooth and people’s talk worries me. But now I know will explain everybody. Thanks!!!

  8. I am concerned that the earbuds are not the best chioce. Do not they work as an antenna when you plug them into your mobile phone? Thanks!

      1. santhosh kumar cp

        wired headset are also not safe, because in mobile phone the antenna section is always grounded. ground is common for headset wire also so some amount of transmission is through headset also. so better to use air tube headsets to avoid radiations.

  9. ya, i am satisfied with you because mobile phone really harm us. when we purchase the new mobile phone and talk through the mobile. it leaves a imaging smell like camical. it was happened with me when i purchase the mobile set 2900 of tata company. i felt personaly that its bad for us to use the mobile more, as you suggest us that bluetooth head set is better than the mobile phone use. i did not know about it before but from this article, i get the more knowledge about the SAR RATE OF bluetooth headset and mobile phone. your article is really knowledgeable for as like me student which don’t know about it too much. carry on……….
    thank you so much for giving us such a good article.

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