Side Effects Of Sleeping With Your Headphones On

Side effects of Sleeping With Your Headphones On

I often find it soothing to listen to music with my headphones while sleeping. However, there are many dangers of sleeping with headphones on including wax buildup, necrosis, and risk of strangulation.

If you have to sleep with your headphones on, use headphones that are designed for sleeping and maintain low volume.

So what are the main side effects of sleeping with your headphones on?

There are many side effects including earwax build-up, strangulation, Tinnitus, Hyperacusis, ear infection, Otitis Externa, ear pain, loss of connection with reality, learning disabilities, it would also affect your brain, and in the worst can you can lose your hearing or even get necrosis.

Dangers of Sleeping with Headphones

  • Necrosis

Headphones can be uncomfortable to sleep in, mainly if you lie on your side. One of the greatest dangers is necrosis, which refers to the death of body tissues due to a lack of blood flow.

Theoretically, headphones exert pressure on your ears that could cut off circulation over time and lead to necrosis. It could probably take a while to happen. However, it is essential to keep an eye on your ears to ensure that it does not develop necrosis.

  • Earwax Build Up 

The ears continuously produce earwax to protect the ear canal from harmful foreign objects. However, the earwax buildup could have the opposite effect; it could clog the ears. The excessive earwax buildup may impair hearing, and it may not be the easiest thing to clear out.

Prolonged use of headphones may lead to earwax buildup. Take a look at your headphones in the morning; if you see some wax on them, you may probably have too much of it in your ears as well.

  • Strangulation

Although it is highly unlikely, it is advisable to use Bluetooth or wireless headphones because wired headphones can quickly become tangled.

  • Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a medical term for noise in the ears. It can be caused by prolonged exposure to loud noise, especially from headphones. Tinnitus can cause ringing, roaring, or buzzing sounds in the ears or head.

This condition is mainly caused by damage to hair cells in the cochlea. The hair cells are responsible for transforming sound waves into nerve signals that are interpreted by the brain. However, when the brain does not receive the nerve signals, it creates its nerve signals to compensate for the missing input by the hair cells.

Side Effects Of Sleeping With Your Headphones On |

  • Hyperacusis

Hyperacusis refers to a heightened sensitivity to otherwise normal sounds from the environment. Prolonged use of headphones can also cause this condition.

  • Ear Infection

Many people often share their headphones. Sharing or using the same headphones can lead to ear infections as microorganisms become transmitted from one person’s ears to another. Prolonged use of headphones can also lead to ear infections.

  • Hearing Loss

Headphones produce a sound that reaches your eardrums at a much higher frequency than the average sound that does not come from headphones. Prolonged use of headphones puts you at risk of hearing loss and complications. Even if you use it for short periods at high volume, you can experience significant ear damage.

  • Otitis Externa

This condition develops as a result of irritation in the ear canal. Otitis Externa may cause the skin around the ears to wear out, resulting in pain.

  • Affects Your Brain

Headphones are associated with brain damage caused by electromagnetic waves that the device generates. Like other sensory organs, the ear is directly connected to the brain, and an infection that affects the ears may ultimately affect the brain.

  • Ear Pain

People who are addicted to headphones experience unbearable pain in the ears. You may experience buzzing sounds or deadness in your ears at certain times. Excessive use of headphones may cause numbness and pain in the ears.

  • Loss of Connection with Reality

Many headphones today come with a noise-canceling feature that completely zones you out from what is happening around you. You may not hear your pet or child calling for your attention in the other room or even the soothing sound of birds chirping in the morning.

  • Learning Disabilities

This may be one of the consequences of hearing loss associated with prolonged use of headphones. Excessive use of this device may affect your comprehension and memory.

How to tell if Headphone Volume is Potentially Damaging to the Ear

People’s sensitivity to noise varies. However, there are specific tips for determining if the volume of your headphones is potentially damaging to your ears. Try talking to someone three feet away while wearing your headphones. If you have to shout to communicate with them, then the volume of your headphones is potentially damaging to your ears.

Determine if the noise hurts your ears, causes it to ring, or causes temporary hearing loss after exposure. Usually, unsafe noise levels start at around 85 decibels. The noise level, duration of exposure, and level of irritation determine if your headphone volume is a threat to your hearing.

Side Effects Of Sleeping With Your Headphones On |
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Why Do People Listen to Music With their Headphones While Sleeping?

  • Boosts Sleep Quality

Music helps to promote sleep quality and quantity provided you choose songs that make you feel relaxed and stress-free. I fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer when I listen to my favorite tracks on my headphones. I guess it had the same effect as lullabies when I was younger.

When you are listening to music while sleeping, it can quickly become a routine if the effects are positive. While the melody from your favorite songs can be soothing and relaxing, the habit of putting your headphones on before sleeping could signal the body that it’s time to sleep.

It is much easier for me to sleep when I put my headphones on because I have trained my body to sleep once they are on.

  • Relaxation

Listening to music can be quite relaxing, especially at a low but audible volume. Music can help lower the heart rate, which encourages the body and the mind to rest. It is very soothing on a biological level.

Human beings are different, and what is relaxing for one may be incredibly grating for another. Some may find classical or jazz music soothing while others may experience a similar effect with heavy metal. Therefore, there is no accounting for taste as far as relaxing music is concerned.

  • Fall Asleep Faster

After a long and hard day, it is quite reasonable to have a million things going through our minds. The kids you have to pick up from school, the annoying remarks a colleague made at work, and the week’s to-do list among other things. Such thoughts occupy our minds and may keep us awake for a while.

Listening to music can take your attention off the distractions and give your brain something else to think about. You may fall asleep faster if you listen to music as you lie down in bed at the end of an eventful day.

  • Music Makes You Feel Good

Enjoyable music triggers the release of feel-good hormones such as serotonin, which helps to take the stress away from our minds. Depression often results in a dip in serotonin levels in the body.

Therefore, listening to music and other activities that help to boost serotonin levels makes us happier and less depressed. It is much easier to fall asleep when you are in a great mood.

Side Effects Of Sleeping With Your Headphones On |
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What Makes Good Headphones for Sleeping?

  • Quality

When you sleep with your headphones on, the device will most likely make contact with your pillow or bed. Tossing and turning may cause some wear and tear to the headphones. Therefore, consider buying high-quality headphones or headphones that are well-designed for sleeping.

  • Comfort

Contrary to common belief, this is not an obvious consideration when shopping for headphones for sleeping. It is mostly about preference and personal taste. Some prefer headphones that lay flat against the ears while others prefer over-the-ear headphones. Personally, I like in-ear headphones.

  • Cord Control

Under normal circumstances, you may want wireless headphones that can provide hours of playback on a single charge. Wired headphones increase the risk of becoming tangled up at night.

  • Price

Headphones for sleeping have different features than the ones you may use for listening to music while awake. Good headphones should improve the quality of your sleep and health. Choose headphones that provide great value for money, which may not necessarily be cheap.

  • Noise-canceling

There are two main types of noise-canceling features: passive and active. Passive noise-canceling means that sound waves are physically blocked from entering the ears. You can experience this form of noise-canceling if you try to put your finger in your ear to prevent sound waves.

Active noise canceling involves using electrical signals to eliminate sound. Headphones with passive and active noise canceling are the best for experiencing quiet and listening to music at low volume.

  • Sound Quality

When choosing headphones for sleeping, consider the clarity of the device’s audio quality and whether or not other people in a room can be disrupted by the sound coming out of the device. Headphones often provide better sound quality than earbuds. However, earbuds are more comfortable for sleeping than headphones.

  • Best Types of Songs for Sleeping

Ideally, the best songs for sleeping are those that mimic the heart or breathing rate. More specifically, tracks in the 60 to 80 beats per minute (BPM). However, you can also experiment with more upbeat songs to determine the most soothing songs for you.

  • Music and Dreams

Music can affect our dreams. In fact, anything in the environment can affect your dreams. You may dream that your window is open and the wind is coming in only to wake up and find the window open just like in your dream.

Music has a similar effect on our dreams. You may hear music in your dreams if you are listening to tracks on your headphones while sleeping.

Side Effects Of Sleeping With Your Headphones On |
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  • Is it worth it?

Sleeping with these devices is worth a try if you do it the right way — you can control most of the risks associated with wearing headphones while sleeping. Besides, headphones provide the benefit of enhancing relaxation and the possibility of better quality sleep.

  • The Safe Way to Listen

If you are the only person sleeping in a room, consider listening to the radio rather than headphones. Alternatively, listen to the television if you do not have a radio. If you have many channels, there will likely be some air music. Tune in to one and enjoy.

If you must listen to music on your headphones while sleeping, consider using headphones that are specifically designed for sleeping. Wireless headphones are great options because they do not have cords that can become tangled.

You may also use special earbuds embedded into a headband; also known as headband earphones. While these may not have the sound quality of headphones, they are much more comfortable, especially if you sleep on your side.

  • Headphone Safety Tips

Consider using big headphones instead of the small earphones that go directly into your ear

  • Avoid sharing headphones

If your headphones have rubber or sponge covers, change them regularly; at least once a month.
– Keep the volume low by about 40 percent.
– Avoid using your headphones daily to give your ears some time to rest.
– Use quality headphones with the noise-canceling feature because they allow you to listen to your favorite tracks at low volume comfortably

  • Biological Effects of Music

Our brain consists of the right and left hemispheres. Music activates both sections of the brain, which enhances your problem-solving and creative skills because you are using both regions simultaneously.

Music has specific effects on the hippocampus, an area of the brain associated with long-term memory storage – one of the reasons why you may feel nostalgic while listening to certain songs from your childhood or other stages of your life. Songs can bring back fond or painful memories.

In general, the effects of music on the brain are positive. However, loud music can have the opposite effect because it negatively affects judgment. Therefore, if you want to make an important decision, turn down the volume a little bit.

If you want to unwind after a long and busy day, put on some music. If it doesn’t help you relax, it may at least put you in a better mood.

Is Sleeping With Music On Good Or Bad? | Dangers & Benefits



Sleeping with headphones may sound unusual for many people. However, it has many benefits when used correctly. It can help you sleep faster and for prolonged periods. Prolonged use of headphones is associated with learning and earring problems, necrosis, ear infections, and Tinnitus, among others. There are some safer options for listening to music while sleeping.

When looking for headphones for sleeping, consider sound quality, noise-canceling features, pricing, quality, cord control, and comfort.

Related Readings:

Can Wearing Headphones Cause Hair Loss? 

Can Headphones or Earphones cause Deafness or Toothache?

Do Headphones or Earphones Damage Your Brain?

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