With massive strides in the growth of technology, more and more everyday items are going wireless.
It started with cellphones, which was understandably met with a lot of fanfare, but now slowly everything is moving away from wired configuration including things like gaming consoles, TVs, and even headphones. This innovative technology is a boon and a bane at the same time.
Whilst it enables seamless communication between multiple interfaces without the hassle of plugging in wires, it can also cause EMF pollution in your home atmosphere which can inversely affect your health and wellbeing.
The latest fad among the youth is now wireless earbuds. Listening to music just before going to sleep can be very therapeutic in improving our dreams and helping us achieve deep sleep quicker.
Music before bed is also one of the top recommended tips for people who are suffering from insomnia. Research shows calming music has a magical effect on our brains and helps it relax and wind down quicker and better than it would do on its own.
Gentle sounds such as rainfall or a piano can instantly put your brain at ease so that it can start preparing for sleep. But how you listen to this music matters quite a bit in ultimately the quality of sleep you end up achieving.
A lot of people love Amazon’s Echo Buds to listen to music in bed. And why not! They make a great choice after all.
The Echo Buds are lightweight, wireless, and most important of all, have amazing playback capabilities.
Therefore it is no surprise that the majority of people opt for these whether it be listening to a podcast, audiobook, or white noise. But are they safe to use radiation-wise? This is what we intend to investigate in this article.
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Unpacking the brilliance of Echo Buds
The Echo Buds from Amazon are the latest in a long line of wireless earphone segments that was mostly dominated by audio powerhouses like Bose, Sennheiser, and Apple.
Touting their main attractions to be superior noise reduction, immersive sound experience, and in-built Alexa assistant, the Echo Buds are poised to compete directly with the market leaders of today in the segment.
Its high quality built allows for users to experience truly immersive sound by delivering crisp, dynamic audio. It’s further bested by Bose’s Active Noise Reduction Technology and sealed in-ear design to limit background noise.
The Echo Buds come with Alexa built-in so you can use the assistant to do a whole host of things from streaming music to playing audiobooks to making calls to even getting directions while you’re driving.
However, if you’re not familiar with Alexa or just prefer to use another assistant over the one it’s shipped with, it’s super easy to set up and configure. That way you are free to use your Echo Buds in ways you think best.
It also has one of the best batteries in the wireless earbuds segment and can support 5 hours of music playback on a single charge. Not only that, the batteries charge super-fast and can get you two hours of usage time in just 15 minutes of charging.
The case has a charger in-built as well so when you’re not listening to music and it’s resting on the case, it gets charged to full capacity.
The Echo Buds were designed with comfort and utility in mind. The most striking example of this is the fit of the device. It sits snugly on your ears without putting any strain at all.
Not only that, it actually comes in three sizes to accommodate all ear sizes. They are sweat-resistant too which makes them super useful in sporty environments like gyms and race tracks.
The best part about it is perhaps its price point. When products from Bose and Apple can easily bog you down with their ridiculous prices, this one is listed at an affordable rate of $120.
It may still seem a lot to shell out for a pair of earbuds but considering the vast amount of value you’re getting for that money, I would consider being a great deal.
As you can clearly see here that the Echo Buds by Amazon are an absolute winner when it comes to wireless earbuds. However, do they generate radiation?
Are they dangerous for our health? We will look to answer these questions in the next section.
Problems with the Echo Buds
Earbuds have been popular ever since they came out. They provided a great service – privacy while listening to music. Over the years, earbuds have improved upon their designs manifold, from better ergonomics to noise cancellation.
The real shift to wireless earbuds was the first usher into the mainstream by cellphone manufacturing giant Apple with their introduction of Airpods. They enabled to stream music to your ears wirelessly. They achieved that by connecting to your phone’s Bluetooth and transferring data through that connection.
The world took notice and there was no turning back. These wireless earbuds are sophisticated devices that house not only state of the art music playback systems but also a tiny battery to power the whole thing, a mic, a Bluetooth module for connection and transfer of data, and superior grade noise-canceling capabilities. The Echo Buds by Amazon are no different.
This means that the Echo Buds generate a lot of EMF just by being turned on. Add to that the RF radiation from all the back and forth between your phone and the Echo Buds, your upper torso is getting exposed to significant radiation.
There is also concern that the earbuds are so close to our heads and the radiation may actually interfere with our brain functions. Radiation has been shown to cause swelling in brain tissues so it is not completely unfounded to worry about that.
That aside, there are severe drawbacks to these noise-canceling wireless earbuds. The first problem is the snug fit. Ears are designed to hear a variety of sounds even from far away, so when you play sound directly into the ear canal, it can get a little too much for your body to handle.
Also, since the passage is closed because of the earphone, there is a buildup of earwax. Keeping your headphones on for extended periods can put a lot of stress on your ears which might also cause pain.
The second problem is the radiation that the Echo Buds produce. There is a lot of RF radiation that you’re subjecting yourself to just because you don’t want to deal with a couple of wires and honestly, it is not worth the risk. Plus there is an added risk of exposure to your brain which can be fatal.
The third and perhaps the most important problem is the reduced level of awareness one has while wearing these Echo Buds.
These earbuds are designed to be noise-canceling so that you get a purely musical experience. They achieve that by cutting out all background and ambient noises, just playing the song in your ear.
Sound is an important feedback mechanism for us and the absence of it can impact us in drastic ways. There have been countless cases where pedestrians were walking on the street or crossing roads with earphones on and fell prey to an accident because they couldn’t hear the oncoming car.
They can be quite fatal in the home environment too, especially if you have kids and they want your help but you don’t hear them because of the earphones. So as you can see while the Echo Buds are great on paper, there are a number of other things that we need to consider too before buying one for ourselves.
There is a significant radiation risk but more shockingly, they can negatively affect your hearing as well as spatial senses. It’s too big of a risk if you ask me and there is no reason why you should put yourself at such high risks when you have perfectly good wired earphones that can play audio just as well.
How to know if you’re affected by Echo Buds (or any other wireless earbud, really)
Since the audio gets delivered directly to our ear canals, it excites the brain to a higher degree and can even manifest activity in the hippocampus with constant thumping music playing in our ears.
Thus if we are listening to music on Echo Buds (or any other wireless earbuds) two hours before sleep, the brain is still too excited and thus does not allow us to go into a deep sleep.
This is why we often wake up tired even after sleeping for seven or eight hours because our brains were too excited to allow us to drift into those deeper states of sleep.
If this is continued regularly, this will lead to sleep debt and give way to lethargy and tiredness throughout the day.
This is a very common problem in people who use in-ear headphones. Prolonged use of such headphones block earwax to come out of the ear canal naturally and thus it starts building up.
This is very bad since a buildup of ear wax can often end in infection and pain. In extreme cases, it has also resulted in hearing loss.
Therefore, it is vital that if you are using Echo Buds regularly while going to sleep, you take special care to regularly wash your ears and give them a break every now and then.
This is an infection most common in swimmers but does happen quite frequently to habitual in-ear headphone users as well. Listening to anything on your Echo Buds for an extended period of time causes earwax to build up and it often lodges itself onto the buds.
Most of us don’t really clean them and keep using the same contaminated bud over and over again which causes bacterial growth.
Otitis Externa is perhaps most commonly recognized as a sensation of fullness in your ear accompanied by pain. To prevent such infection, it is best to regularly clear the buds with a wiping alcohol solution and sterilize it with an anti-bacterial.
Necrosis is a condition where blood does not circulate in a certain area of the body. Its flow to tissues and organs is obstructed by some outside influence that causes the latter to eventually die off.
This is a very serious condition that can not only impact organs but also physical attributes. This happens primarily in people who use the wrong-sized buds to listen to music.
If the Echo Buds don’t fit well, they will put pressure on the delicate tissues of the ear canal thus cutting off the blood supply. Such pressure for more than six hours can set in necrosis thus resulting in severe pain and hearing loss.
Loss of spatial awareness
Echo Buds are designed to be noise-canceling to give you an immersive experience. But this comes with significant downsides. No matter how low your volume is, the Echo Buds are designed to not let any outside noise interfere with your music experience.
Therefore, if there is a fire alarm or someone calling for an emergency, chances are you are going to miss it. This can potentially result in dangerous outcomes and does not merit the risk.
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Can the radiation from Echo Buds cause reactions in my skin?
Human skin is very sensitive and reacts to external stimuli constantly at microscopic levels. Therefore it is no surprise that it reacts to EMF exposure as well.
In a study done in 2017, scientists discovered that the skin’s protein levels were significantly altered for people who had a history of using phones and earphones regularly.
On studying the long-term effects, it was found that the skin loses its suppleness and becomes saggy and wrinkled because of continuous EMF exposure. Therefore it can be said with some degree of confidence that Echo Buds may cause your skin to react in a certain way.
If you believe your skin is reacting in a negative manner, my advice would be to consult with a certified dermatologist and seek their professional help.