Wireless technology has completely changed the world we live in. It is a sure thing. From radio and TV to cell phones, a lot of things today are using wireless transmissions.
And while that brings convenience and other great benefits, it’s not without its drawbacks. The problem with transmitting radio frequencies from most electronic devices is the ability to propagate in all directions, not just to each receiver.
Even now, when you are reading this article, the different available Wi-Fi waves “strike” you. Besides, there are hundreds of other weaker signals, such as FM/AM radio, satellites or all other types of broadcasting, that surround us every second of every minute.
There are some recommendations that we should stay away from sources that cause adverse effects on the body, but, there are some devices that we cannot leave. The best example is smartphones, and now they are right wireless headsets.
For a long time, wireless headsets were one-sided for us to drive without having to hold the phone or talk to the phone on the go. However, when Apple introduced the AirPods, they created a completely wireless headset. They also created a new portfolio of headphones, and a wave of similar products gradually became more popular over the next three years.
Is the trend of EMF (electromagnetic field) from small audio product suppliers worth it? Or should we use the wired approach like so far?
How do Wireless Headsets Work?
Whether you choose headsets from any brand, they all work the same way, via the Bluetooth wireless communication standard. This makes it possible for anyone to connect them to their Bluetooth-enabled devices, especially smartphones. Bluetooth is not a very different technology. It is just a wireless connectivity standard that uses near-range radio frequencies to transmit data and is being widely used.
The frequency range in which Bluetooth operates fields from 2.4GHz to 2.4835GHz, and if you don’t know, the microwave ovens also work at 2.45GHz. Of course, the most significant difference between them is energy. The microwaves operate at 600 to 1200W, while the Bluetooth headsets are classified as Class 2 transmitters. This means that it can transmit the farthest signal up to 10 meters and the power level. The maximum operating capacity is 2.5mW. 2.5mW is 240,000 times smaller than 600W. In other words, a pair of headphones must work for several months to reach the power level of a few minutes using the microwave.
However, when it comes to EMF, operating energy is not everything. There is another aspect we need to consider.
What Does the Specific Absorption Rate Mean?
Specific absorption rate (SAR) is a measure of the energy level of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields absorbed by the human body. It is usually measured in units of W / kg, and regulators often use it to determine whether a device is safe to use.
Unlike most other scientific measurements, SAR comes with a few caveats. EMF waves do not propagate evenly, so the size is usually calculated as the average energy absorbed by a given volume of tissue. In the US, the FCC places a limit of 1.6W / kg on a mobile phone, and the value is measured at a point with 1 gram of tissue that can absorb the most energy. In Europe, it follows the standards of the International Electrotechnical Commission. This standard puts a safety figure below 2W / kg over 10 grams of tissue. Each device must be individually tested for each measure.
The bigger problem is that the FCC’s SAR test is incomplete and takes it too lightly. This test was designed in 1989, and the mannequin head used for measurement is equivalent to a man who is 1.88 meters tall, weighs 100kg. Besides, our brain is modelled by a simple mixture of water and electrolytes. This massive simulation head must have achieved 6 minutes of maximum activity before performing the spells. Those are just some of the problems in the test, but obviously, it can’t represent a reasonable person in 2019.
Phone Arena tried to contact Dr Joel Moskowitz, Director of the Family and Community Health Center at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to his work at UCB, he also publishes research on this issue on the Electromagnetic Radiation Safety website.
Phone Arena correspondent tried to mention whether placing these wireless headsets near the brain would increase the impact of EMF broadcasting. And his answer is: “Yes. AirPods’ SAR is quite high because this is a Bluetooth device.”
On his website, he mentioned the exact SAR figure of the AirPods is 0.581W / kg for the left, 0.50501W / kg with the right ear and 1.082W / kg when wearing both sides. To make it easier to compare, the iPhone XS’s SAR is 1.19W / kg, only 10% higher than the iPods.
While these figures represent a theoretical maximum and are not equivalent to what you use daily, they do show that wireless headsets are not without specific health effects. , especially with hours of wear.
Of course, every product you use is guaranteed to be safe, or at least the test results that have been performed are within the required limits. That is the case with AirPods. If you are interested in the details of this test, you can check the SAR report of AirPods that Apple sent to the FCC here.
Are Wireless Headsets Safe?
This question has no final answer. Dr Moskowitz said that wireless headphones should not be used and that he did not use such devices due to EMF broadcasting. Of course, not only did he think he underestimated the EMF broadcast. A team of more than 240 scientists from around the world has signed an international petition to the United Nations to call for increased regulations and protection from exposure to non-ion electromagnetic fields. Chemistry.
The petition stated that:
“Many scientific reports have shown that EMF significantly affects living organisms at all levels at most international and national guidelines. These include increased risk of cancer and stress. For cells, growing harmful free radicals, causing genetic damage, altering the structure and function of the reproductive system, impairing memory and learning, neurological disorders and adverse effects on the health of humans in general. ”
It should be noted that the concern of the scientists is related to devices that produce EMF in all areas, from Wi-Fi routers to baby management systems. The cumulative influence from everything around us increases the risk to health.
Smaller wireless headsets. There is no conclusive evidence that they can be harmful to humans because there have been no long-term studies of the effects of wireless earphones. Experts also disagree about the extent of their negative influence. While some are calling for stricter rules, others argue that they overstate this concern and that EMF from headphones is too low to affect the body. People, meaning that you can ignore concerns and continue using them safely. This is a common notion.
Of course, manufacturers also hold this position. Phone Arena has contacted Apple, Samsung and Bose regarding the safety of true wireless headphones. Only Samsung responds and claims to meet all regulations is necessary and should take precedence first. “Their EMF tests confirm that the devices fully comply with all rules and are safe for everyday use.” Referring to the Galaxy Buds’ SAR, Samsung answered: “Our wireless headsets are designed to minimise absorption rates, and even at maximum power, they do not produce significant RF levels. ”
Even if wireless headphones aren’t harmful to us, one thing is for sure. It doesn’t make the body any better. And while smartphones have become an irreplaceable device, wireless headsets can only be more convenient than wired.
If you’re a heavy-wearer, it’s best to switch to using traditional wired headphones again. And remember, while there are still adverse effects that wireless headsets can bring, they are only a small part of the world of electromagnetic radiation around us in the 21st century. Of course, what technology and how you use it is up to you.