There’s nothing like ending the day by going to bed with a pair of headphones and listening to your favorite playlist while charging your phone. The relaxing music helps you wander off into a deep slumber, and you get to wake up the following day with a fully charged device. But could you be putting yourself at risk by doing this?
Sleeping with headphones while charging is not a good idea. Aside from the headphones could cause hearing loss, there is a slim possibility that the phone could explode, cause electrocution, or at the very least, the battery can overheat or get damaged if you let it charge overnight.
Read on to uncover how using headphones while charging can cause damage to both your headphones and your health. This article will also provide safety precautions for your headphones and devices.
The Risks of Sleeping With Headphones While Charging
It’s easy to get caught up in our daily routine, only to end the day realizing our phone is on the brink of shutting down due to a drained battery.
Charging our phone, tablet, or laptop while we use headphones on seems like a great way to end the day. It allows us to relax and scroll through our favorite playlists and social media sites without disturbing anyone else.
However, phone manufacturers advise us not to charge our devices overnight. Many of us fail to heed this warning and keep our devices plugged in while we sleep. However, we might take it more seriously if we knew the risks involved.
Aside from the risks of using our mobile devices, sleeping with headphones on can also have adverse effects.
Let’s examine the risks of using headphones while charging our mobile devices more closely.
Anything that comes into contact with our ears can cause earwax buildup. Producing wax is our ears’ way of protecting themselves from infection or irritation, and it usually happens when the airway to them is restricted.
Headphones can cause a buildup of wax in minutes since it acts as a seal that prevents air from reaching your ear canals.
This buildup can impact your hearing, increase the chances of developing an ear infection, and make your ears feel itchy and damp.
Death of Tissue Cells
Headphones, particularly earbuds, can pressure the skin around your ear canals, causing some of the skin to tear away.
In extreme cases, it can cause necrosis, which is the death of tissue cells. So, if you don’t want to deal with severe medical implications, it’s best to avoid wearing headphones for long periods.
If you use corded headphones and tend to twist and turn while sleeping, there’s a potential risk of the wires getting caught around your neck.
The chances of strangulation are pretty slim, but there’s still a possibility of it happening, especially when the cord is connected to a heavy device like a laptop on the side of your bed.
Sleeping with your headphones on would probably mean setting the volume at a moderate level. However, there is a possibility of inadvertently increasing the volume while asleep. Excessive or prolonged exposure to loud sounds can cause hearing loss.
Most mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops are smart enough to stop charging once their batteries reach 100%. However, trickle-charging can still occur, a continuous cycle where the device takes in more energy from the charger each time the battery level decreases.
Trickle-charging, as well as the additional heat it creates, can lower your device’s battery life.
Your device is also more prone to overheating if it has a thick protective casing or if you leave it under your pillow while charging it overnight.
Mobile devices emit radio frequency signals that our bodily tissues can absorb. According to a study in the National Library of Medicine, radiofrequency-modulated electromagnetic fields (RM-EMF) exposure from using cellular phones affects brain activity.
According to dw.com, another study showed that phone radiation has subtle effects on memory retention, particularly when placing the phone near the right side of the head.
Even if the effects are minimal, there’s enough evidence to support that excessive use of mobile phones does have a neurological impact.
Using wired headphones on a mobile device while it charges can create a path that conducts electricity.
The chances you’ll get electrocuted are low, especially if your phone, headphones, adapter, and charging cables are in good condition. However, electrocution may still occur, especially if one of the cords has a tear in its insulation, exposing the wires.
Another cause of electrocution is when a faulty adapter fails to stabilize power during a power surge, causing a short circuit. Replacement adapters can also be dangerous if they do not conform with your device’s power requirements.
Phone electrocution is extremely rare, but it does happen.
Fire or Explosion
One of the most common reasons that cause mobile devices to catch on fire or explode is overheated lithium-ion batteries.
If the battery generates more heat than it can expel, thermal runaway occurs where the increase in temperature causes the battery current to rise, further creating more heat.
Thermal runaway can eventually lead to a fire or explosion. Fires related to mobile devices hardly happen, but charging a device overnight increases the chances of a fire due to overheating, especially if you place the phone in an area with little ventilation.
Precautions for Using Headphones and Charging Mobile Devices Overnight
The best way to overcome any of the risks of using headphones while charging is to stop doing it. However, if that’s asking for too much, there are other precautions you can take without compromising your bedtime routine.
Use Cordless Headphones or Speakers
Using Bluetooth headphones will eliminate the risk of strangulation and lessen the chances of electrocution since they don’t have wires that conduct electricity or get tangled around your neck.
If you don’t share the room with anyone else, you can hook your device up to a pair of speakers to listen to your favorite playlist before dozing off. Using speakers will also keep you safe from necrosis, wax buildup, and hearing loss.
The built-in speakers in most modern phones sound decent enough for low-volume applications.
Put Your Mobile Device in a Safe Place
If you have to charge your mobile device overnight, keep it at a significant distance from you to lessen the amount of radiation your body absorbs from it.
Prevent overheating by making sure your device is in a well-ventilated area.
Don’t Buy Cheap Replacement Chargers
If you have to replace the charger of your mobile device, it’s best to buy an original replacement to ensure it has the correct specifications.
Aside from the possibility of not sending the right amount of current to your device, knock-off chargers may not have gone through the necessary tests to be considered safe.
Use a Smart Plug
A great way to prevent trickle-charging and damage to your batteries is by using a smart plug. Smart plugs will allow you to set a timer to cut power to your device even if you leave it plugged in.
The Amysen Smart Plug (available on Amazon.com) even works with Alexa, so you can use voice commands to operate it.
The answer to whether or not you should sleep with headphones while charging a mobile device is a resounding no – there are just too many risks to encourage anyone to do it. Fortunately, the chances of anything terrible happening are extremely low.
Given the convenience of charging our devices overnight and how tempting it is to use headphones while doing so, it’s good to know that there are precautions we can take to further avoid unpleasant things from happening.