(Image courtesy of Jessica Nguyen)
Fountain Valley High School

Opinion: AirPods might not be music to your ears

Your AirPod case pops open with a click and you slip the cold, smooth plastic into your ear, waiting for your music to begin blasting; but although the music may sound good, its harmful consequences might not be music to your ears, including hearing loss and even cancer.

Your ear is made of three parts; the outer, middle and inner. Tiny hair cells called cochlea are apart of the inner ear and send sound messages to the brain; they can be easily damaged by loud sounds.

The louder the sound is, the quicker it can cause injury to your eardrums and nerves. The sound of your everyday life is around 80 decibels; but, if the sound of your music becomes louder, like when you are in a crowded room, nerve damage can happen in less than a minute.

Hearing loss may not be apparent at once and its effects are gradual. By the time you realize it, it is too late because ear damage is irreversible. AirPods along with earphones are especially bad because they are directly emitting sound into your ears. Sounds of hearing loss include ringing, buzzing, roaring, muffling or distortion of sounds.

While earphones or headphones may cause hearing loss, they do not have the same side effects that AirPods may have. After Apple killed off the headphone jack on the iPhone, the future of headphones have become wireless, leading to constant radiation from our devices. In 2018, US scientists released that cell phone radiation could cause cancers in rats.

AirPods use Bluetooth technology, which emits electromagnetic field radio frequencies. According to an appeal to the UN, EMF exposure can cause increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders and negative impacts on general well-being in humans.

Past studies on radiation from cellphones are linked to brain cancer, lower sperm counts and headaches and effects on learning, memory, hearing, behavior and sleep.

Although Bluetooth radiation is less dangerous than other high-energy radiation sources, like X-rays, the proximity to your head makes up for it since it directly exposes the ear to radiation. Many people also wear their AirPods for long periods of time, which could further increase the risk of developing problems.

If you still want to listen to your music with your AirPods, you can turn down the volume or trying using headphones, which are farther from your ears. Noise-canceling headphones are actually better for you because they block out external sounds and you can enjoy music at lower volumes. The best option would be to not use AirPods at all or at least limiting your use.

So, the real question is should you keep using your AirPods?

If you choose to not listen to the dangerous effects of AirPods, it’s the radiation already getting to you. While they may seem cool and convenient, it is probably better for your health to ditch your AirPods.