How much exposure to radiation do wireless bluetooth earphones cause?

More and more people are aware that holding a mobile phone to your ear during a call leads to excessive radiation exposure. Even Apple warns in its manual that you should not put the phone against your head. So it’s safer to use the speaker or a headset. But which headset is the lowest radiation? And what about Airpods or other earbuds?

Bluetooth radiation

Wireless headsets work via bluetooth. That’s a technology that emits electromagnetic fields (EMFs) similar to what comes out of your phone. There are many studies showing biological effects of EMFs. The point is, bluetooth earbuds sit in your ear, and because they sit right next to your brain, these earbuds expose your brain to risky EMFs. You may have heard that radiation from wireless earbuds is “low.” While the transmission power is low, the distance is very small. Exposure is a function of transmission power and distance, and decreases with the square of the distance. For example at 1cm distance the radiation is 100x higher than at 10cm distance. Because of the very small distance, the exposure is indeed high. In addition, many people wear the earphones for hours a day so the dose (exposure x time) is also high.

In the video below, Airpods are measured:

Airpods Emit Wireless Radiation
Airpods Emit Wireless Radiation

Magnetic induction

In addition to bluetooth, wireless Airpods use a magnetic field to communicate with each other. Dr. Joel Moskowitz of the University of California explains what few people know: “Wireless Airpods from Apple communicate with each other through a magnetic induction field, which is sent through the brain to the earpiece in the other ear. There hasn’t even been research done on what this might do to the brain, let alone regulations to limit the possible effects. I can’t imagine this being good for you.”

Apple itself warns against holding Airpods and phones too close to the chest if you use a pacemaker, for example.

Low-radiation alternatives

  • Use a radiation-free Airtube headset. The air tube prevents EMFs from reaching your ears through the wires, as is the case with regular headsets. An iPhone no longer has a jack plug for a headset these days, but fortunately there is a simple solution for that in the form of a small accessory: Lightning to 3.5mm headphone adapter.
  • When you make calls, use the speaker as much as possible.
  • Don’t wear the phone on your body all day but put it on the table when you are on a location. Do not carry the phone in your pocket.

Additional tips for reducing radiation from smartphone, wifi and iPad

A new study by published in the journal Scientific Reports by Zhou et. al (2024) found that prolonged daily use of Bluetooth headsets was “strongly linked” to an increased risk of developing thyroid nodules.

Now available for free download: Tips to reduce EMFs in your home – e-book

Airpods measured with a Cornet elektrosmog-meter:

RF Radiation from AirPods explained
RF Radiation from AirPods explained

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