Is It Safe to Sleep with Headphones or Earbuds?

Sleeping with Headphones or Earbuds – Is It Safe?

In this day and age, many of us can sleep only while listening to music. In metropolitan cities, this is mostly due to noise around us, from the outside streets, any construction going on nearby or any procession happening in the area. Also for frequent travellers, sleeping with earbuds or headphones is extremely necessary to shut out the noise of other passengers. As such, sleeping with either of the two is becoming more and more common these days. Let’s have a look at some safety aspects of using such aids.

Is It Safe to Sleep with Headphones or Earbuds?

When used appropriately, sleeping with earphones, earbuds or headphones can be safe, and they help you fall asleep more easily. In case of headphones with music, you have to be careful with the volume of the music so that you don’t put pressure on your ears and damage them over a period of time. With normal earbuds, you have to be conscious of the same and be alert that they are not exerting undue pressure inside your ears.

Sleeping Woman Listening to Music

Dangerous Effects of Sleeping with Earbuds or Headphones

When used inappropriately, headphones or earbuds can cause harm to your ears. Below are a few side-effects you might risk experiencing:

1. Ear Wax Accumulation

If you are wearing earbuds that sit a little more deeply in your ear, you might risk developing a build- up of ear wax in your ears. This is because the earbuds will block the air circulation around your ear, causing the wax to be more easily pressed into your eardrum. If a lot of ear wax builds up over time, it might be difficult to remove it without causing damage to your ears.

2. Otitis Externa

This is the name given to a condition which involves irritation to your ear canal. Worst case, the skin around your ear canal area will slowly wear out and cause fluid to get into the ear. This will also result in pain in the outer ear. The ear canal is important as it connects the outer ear to the eardrum. This condition is common among swimmers but can also happen in people who constantly wear headphones. Therefore, you will have to be cautious while wearing them to sleep.

Dangerous Effects of Sleeping with Earphones

3. Necrosis

If your earbuds do not fit well, they will exert pressure on the skin inside your ear canal. The skin will start to wear away, and necrosis (death of tissue) can happen.

4. Issues of Safety

If you are wearing headphones which have music or any noise-cancelling earbuds, then you face a safety risk of failing to hear an alarm going off in the middle of the night. This can have catastrophic results, especially during emergencies.

Benefits of Sleeping with Headphones or Earbuds

There are many benefits to sleeping with headphones. Here are a few :

1. Can Shut Out Noise

You can use headphones or earbuds to shut out all kinds of noise, like people talking or traffic sounds outside, helping you sleep more peacefully. You can even listen to music you want and block out the noise keeping you awake.

2. Relaxing with White Noise

White noise is something which can help you sleep comfortably. You can listen to white noise on your headphones to relax and get into a state of sleep. Studies show that music helps to lower your breathing and your heart rate. Listening to music before you go to bed always can relax your mind, so you can listen to soft music on your headphones. This will help your body loosen up and focus more on sleeping, instead of on other pesky daytime thoughts.

Benefits of Sleeping with Earbuds

3. Treatment for Insomnia and PTSD

Studies have shown that listening to music while sleeping can be a great form of treatment for people suffering from PTSD or insomnia, as it can relax their minds and improve the quality of their sleep.

4. Stimulates Serotonin

Serotonin is a chemical produced in our brain which makes us feel good. Listening to music we like is a way to stimulate serotonin production and make us feel happy and relaxed. When you’re in such a pleasant mood, falling asleep and staying asleep becomes much easier.

Precautions to Consider when Using Headphones or Earbuds while Sleeping

Always keep in mind the following precautions when you use headphones or earbuds to sleep:

  • Don’t blast music in your ears at a loud volume. Not only will this cause damage to your eardrum but also stimulate your brain, leading to wakefulness.
  • If you are alone sleeping in your room, try using a radio instead of earbuds to listen to something.
  • If you don’t have a radio, just turn on the television and set it to a channel you like at low volume. You can fall asleep listening to it.


Below we will answer a few frequently asked questions on this topic:

1. Does Sleeping with Headphones Cause Cancer?

No, it does not cause cancer. A lot of people question whether sleeping with Bluetooth headphones is safe. This may be because of what they hear about the electromagnetic waves that come from these headphones. However, there is no connection between Bluetooth and cancer.

2. What Types of Songs are Good for Your Sleep?

Every person has their own preferences when it comes to falling asleep to music. Some fall asleep to fast music while others to a slow relaxing tune. The ideal type of song to listen to when you want to sleep is one which is close to your heart rate; between 60 to 80 BPM (beats per minute). You can look up which songs fall in that range online or on an app.

The main things to remember while sleeping with headphones or earbuds is that they should fit well, and the music volume should not be too loud. Avoid sleeping with headphones while your phone is on charging as you don’t want a risk of electrocution. Happy sleeping!

Also Read:

Yoga Poses & Mudras for Healthy Heart
Health Benefits of Drinking Hot Water
Should You Drink Green Tea Before Bed?
How to Get Rid of Negative Thoughts

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