Wearing headphones to bed is nothing new. People have been doing it for decades in order to listen to music or audio books as they fall asleep. But with the recent rise in popularity of wireless earbuds, like AirPods, more and more people are wondering if it’s safe to wear them overnight. Let’s take a look at to see if there’s any reason to be concerned.
There are a few potential risks associated with wearing headphones to bed. The first is that you could roll over and damage the headphones. This is unlikely to happen with AirPods since they’re so small and lightweight, but it’s still something to consider if you’re using larger over-ear headphones.
You could also roll over and push the AirPods too far into your ear. For most people the AirPods are wide enough that this isn’t a problem — you might cause a moment of pain, but the chance of doing any damage is minimal.
Another risk is that you could lose the AirPods. They will usually fall out and the next morning you’ll find them under your body or on your pillow. The chance of entirely losing them is small, but you might, say, dry one on the floor during the night and step on it the next day. Or it could get wrapped up in a cover or duvet and be a pain to find.
The last and most serious potential risk is that wearing headphones could increase your chances of developing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). NIHL is permanent and irreversible, so it’s definitely something to be avoided if at all possible. However, the jury is still out on whether or not sleeping with headphones increases your risk of developing NIHL. Some studies have found a correlation while others have not, so more research is needed on this topic before any definitive conclusions can be drawn. If the volume is kept very low, as you’d expect when sleeping, then you will likely be find.
So, should you worry about wearing AirPods overnight? Probably not. The risks seem to be fairly low, especially when compared to the benefits of being able to listen to soothing music or audio books as you drift off to sleep. That being said, if you’re concerned about any of the risks we’ve mentioned, it’s probably best to err on the side of caution and take them out before you go to bed. Most of us see the risk as being worth it, but that’s a decision for each person to make on their own.