Sleeping with Headphones Death: What Are the Chances?

By John Adebimitan

While it might be the only thing that can put some to sleep, it could also be the thing that kills some. Those who sleep with headphones, earplugs, or earbuds in can’t help but get worried that it might not be healthy. Stories of sleeping with headphones death can be terrifying, but then, you wonder if you really have any reason to worry.

So what is the truth?

Can someone actually die from sleeping with headphones, earplugs, or earbuds? Keep reading to find out. This article will discuss the dangers of this habit and how to do it right if you must to prevent a sleeping with headphones death. If you are worried about your habit, this article has the answers.

Sleeping with Headphones Death: What Are the Chances?

You’re unlikely to die from sleeping with headphones. The significant dangers of sleeping with headphones are partial or complete ear loss and strangulation. Some other risks include; hyperacusis, tinnitus, stiff neck, damage to the headphones, uncomfortable sleep positions, ear infections, hard wax buildup, missing important sounds or alarms, and hot ears.

While it has its disadvantages, death is not particularly one of them. The disadvantages also depend on how you use them. If you tend to wear them wrongly, use them at high volumes, or overuse them, you might encounter more problems than otherwise. Death becomes a possibility when one sleeps with earphones or headphones plugged into a charging phone.

Is It Bad to Sleep with Earbuds In?

No, it is not necessarily bad to sleep with earbuds in. However, if you need them to sleep, we recommend getting those built for sleeping and using them at a low volume. Alternatively, you can purchase a white noise machine, pillow speakers, play music on your phone/stereo/portable speaker, listen to something on the radio, or turn ON a show you like on the television.

If you do not need them to sleep, we recommend not sleeping with them or at least not very often. Sleeping with earbuds in can cause a range of ear infections as well as hearing loss and hard wax buildup. You can also use them just to fall asleep instead of the whole time you’re sleeping.

Can Sleeping with Earbuds Cause Ear Infections?

Yes, sleeping with earbuds in can cause ear infections. Infections like otitis externa and necrosis are often associated with sleeping with headphones or earbuds. In some cases, one might partially or entirely lose hearing.

OTITIS EXTERNA

This infection happens when there is too much moisture in the ear. With more and more use of earbuds, the skin of the ear canal can wear out. And once this happens, the ear becomes unable to produce wax or keep fluids out.

Wax is a natural protector against microbes, and when there is no wax production in the ear, it increases the risk of ear infections and hearing loss. Some symptoms of otitis externa include swelling, redness, itching, and pain in the ear. Some could also notice fluid or pus discharge or temporary ear loss. Once treated, all this goes away.

HARD WAX BUILDUP

The seal of the earbuds on the ears prevents air circulation, which causes the ear wax to harden. Hardened ear wax can cause temporary hearing loss and other permanent damages in the long run. Therefore, if you feel pain or discomfort, it is best to visit an ENT specialist immediately to get the ear wax out.

NECROSIS

Necrosis is also the death of tissue cells. For example, this could happen when earbuds don’t fit properly, causing tissue cells to die. Necrosis can result in partial or complete hearing loss and, in worse cases, amputation of the ear or the removal of some parts of the ear.

To prevent these infections when sleeping with earbuds, we recommend wearing them just to fall asleep rather than the whole time you’re sleeping or getting the earbuds built for sleeping. Alternatively, you can purchase a white noise machine, pillow speakers, play music on your phone/stereo/portable speaker, listen to something on the radio, or turn on a show you like on the television.

Sleeping with Headphones Death: What Are the Chances?

What Happens If You Sleep with Earphones In?

Sleeping with earbuds can be good and bad, depending on how you do it. It can be good if you need them to sleep, know how to sleep with them, use them at low volumes, have the right earphones for sleeping, and don’t overuse them. Otherwise, you could encounter various issues, including ear infections, hearing loss, and strangulation. You also risk missing important alarms – especially in emergencies – and damaging the earphones.

Hearing Loss

Nowadays, earbuds and headphones come with various touch commands that control volume, play/pause, and power. Unfortunately, when sleeping with these devices, one could accidentally increase the volume, and listening to loud music for several hours can result in permanent ear damage and hearing loss.

Strangulation

This is more common amongst rough sleepers. If you are one and you sleep with wired earphones or headphones, you run a risk of getting strangled while you sleep. In more severe cases, you could pass out in your sleep.

How To Keep Earbuds In While Sleeping

To keep earbuds in while sleeping, you can try some of these tips:

  1. Insert the buds more firmly and make sure they fit right
  2. Get custom earbud attachments
  3. Wear them with the cord over your ears
  4. Use the attachments that come with the earbuds
  5. Use earbuds with ear hooks instead

Alternatively, you can use travel pillows, pillows with a hole, true wireless earbuds, headphone headbands, or earbuds/earphones built for sleeping. Some popular brands for headphone headbands include CozyPhones, SleepPhones, and Jarvania. Some popular sleeping earbuds/earphones brands include Moondrop Kanas pro, Bedphones by Moonbow, and QuietOn Sleep Earphones.

Read also: Is it bad to sleep with AirPods in?

Is Sleeping with Bluetooth Headphones Bad?

Sleeping with Bluetooth headphones is not any worse than sleeping with regular headphones. Some say that the radiation from the Bluetooth of the headphones can cause significant damage and even cancer. However, there is no conclusive evidence of this, so there really isn’t anything to worry about. Although, the earlier mentioned dangers of sleeping with headphones still stand in this case.

The significant dangers of sleeping with Bluetooth headphones are partial or complete ear loss and strangulation. Some other risks include; hyperacusis, tinnitus, stiff neck, damage to the headphones, uncomfortable sleep positions, ear infections, hard wax buildup, missing important sounds or alarms, and hot ears. Therefore, it is better to wear them just to sleep rather than the whole time you’re asleep.

Conclusion

It must be chilling to wonder if one of your habits could kill you – but then anything could. Thankfully, that is not the end of this story. Sleeping with headphones is unlikely to kill you unless the headphones are plugged into a charging phone. However, it would be best to limit headphones’ use – your ear health depends on it.

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