Music has been a part of our culture since our species began. It’s no surprise that music has become an essential part of the bedtime routine for many people.
From lullabies to Ed Sheeran, music has been helping people to sleep for millennia. Technology has helped to bring convenient music to your bed, on demand. However, as technology always does, concerns have been raised over the potential risks.
So, we’ve done a bit of research to unearth the truth behind these concerns. Just how safe is it to sleep with earphones in?
Whenever noise is involved, there are always risks to be aware of. It’s definitely important to be aware that a lot of the concerns raised about listening to earphones in bed are unsubstantiated or backed by flimsy science.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
This might seem like a very unlikely risk. However, far too many people use their earphones to block out ambient noise. Whilst cranking up the volume may block out the sounds of your neighbor, it does drastically increase your exposure to noise.
Noise exposure above 85dB is considered to be harmful, legally requiring hearing protection if it’s in the workplace.
Most people would find those noise levels to be uncomfortable when trying to sleep though, so you’re quite unlikely to be putting yourself at risk without knowing about it.
One of the most commonly mentioned risks associated with earphones in bed is accidental strangulation. The theory is that you fall asleep with the earbuds in, then roll around until the cord wraps around your neck, cutting off the airflow.
In reality, humans have evolved to the point where being unable to breathe traditionally causes one to panic. If you were to somehow become tightly wrapped in your headphones, you would likely wake up as soon as you became unable to breathe.
Death by electrocution via headphones was a story that circulated social media a couple of years back. The story goes that some girl was sleeping with headphones in when her charger sent too much current into the phone, electrocuting the girl via her headphones.
There is a very good reason that plugs have fuses in them. It’s to prevent things like this from happening. The story had been thoroughly debunked, apparently originating from a fake news site.
This is potentially one of the more dangerous risks associated with earphones in bed. If your fire alarm goes off, you may not be able to hear it. These risks are higher if you’re using noise-cancelling earphones.
If your smoke alarm is too far away from your bed for it to be easily audible with earbuds in, you should definitely avoid sleeping whilst listening to music.
In summary, you are extraordinarily unlikely to cause yourself any serious injury by listening to music in bed. Other than the discomfort caused by sleeping on your side with earphones in, there’s not a lot of harm that can be done by earbuds.
If you’re seriously concerned, wireless headphones are an option. Alternatively, you may simply prefer using a set of speakers instead.