Is it dangerous to sleep with your headphones on?

Many of us like to fall asleep while listening to music or a podcast. 25% of French people say they have already fallen asleep with headphones or earphones. But this habit has harmful effects, and can even be dangerous. We explain why.

The main danger obviously concerns hearing. Listening to music or even conversations for long periods of time, even at a relatively low level, can lead to loss of hearing ability and possibly even whistling or tinnitus in the ear.

WHO therefore recommends limiting listening to music, even at a moderate volume, to one hour per day. However, falling asleep with headphones or earphones on your ears exposes you to listening to music for several hours, or even all night.

In addition, sleeping with music or any other sound decreases the quality of sleep, which can prove catastrophic for long-term health.

An increased risk of deafness

And according to scientists, using headphones or earphones while sleeping is more risky than while awake. When sleeping, blood circulation is slowed down, and the ears are therefore no longer sufficiently supplied to resist the sound aggression. The risk of deafness is therefore increased.

Last year, a Taiwanese student went to hospital after waking up deaf in one ear: he fell asleep with headphones on, but one of them had slipped. Fortunately for him, he regained his hearing ability after five days of anguish.

Another danger threatens those who fall asleep with wireless headphones, such as AirPods. A Taiwanese (another, editor’s note), who fell asleep with it, noticed when he woke up that one of them was missing. Using the locate feature on his iPhone, he realized it had slipped in his stomach. He was able to recover it after being prescribed a laxative by the doctors.

In some cases, sleeping with headphones can even prove fatal. Last year two teenage boys (a Malaysian and a Brazilian) were shocked by their headphones while sleeping.

Finally, abusing wireless headphones could promote the appearance of cancer, especially in the brain, scientists believing that the presence of headphones near the ear canal exposes this area of ​​the ear to radiation.

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