EMF Radiation From Wireless Headphones & SMART WATCHES – Should You Be Concerned?

Let’s Start with Wireless Headphones

In recent years, wireless headphones have surged in popularity, offering convenient, cable-free listening experiences. They generally use Bluetooth as the wireless communication technology used for short-range data exchange between devices. Operating in the 2.4–2.4835 GHz frequency range, it shares similarities with 2.4 GHz WiFi.

Concerns about the potential health effects of the Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Radiation (RF-EMR) emitted by these devices have sparked debates among consumers and health experts alike. Many of Custodi NZ’s customers are asking about the possible effects that these devices might be having on their health, given that wireless headphones are used in very close proximity to the brain. As a result, we have researched dozens of scientific reputable studies that link detrimental health side effects from RF-EMR emitted by these devices.

So why is there little to no mention of these concerns within the public domain? It appears that within the Telecommunications industry, lobbyists wield considerable influence in shaping regulatory frameworks. This influence can sometimes overlook safety in favour of technological advancement and profits. This raises concerns about transparency, accountability, and undue influence on any public policy decisions.

So how safe are RF-EMR devices like Bluetooth headsets? Are safety thresholds set higher than the actual relative risk, lulling us into a false sense of safety?

While there is plenty of ongoing research investigating the potential health effects of RF-EMR exposure, there may still be uncertainties and gaps in our understanding. These gaps leave us uninformed of the true consequences of using these popular devices.

As such, taking a precautionary approach involves minimizing exposure to RF-EMR, particularly for vulnerable populations or individuals with specific sensitivities, such as those with Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), or our children, who are particularly vulnerable to RF-EMR exposure to their brains.

What do the scientific studies say?

A large number of studies have investigated the biological effects of RF-EMFs, which are similar to those emitted by Bluetooth devices, on cells and tissues. Some of these studies suggest that RF-EMFs may have the potential to induce biological changes, including alterations in cell membrane permeability, oxidative stress, and DNA damage.

Specifically concerning the potential interference with cells inside the ear or brain, research has investigated whether RF-EMFs from mobile phones, which also use similar frequencies as Bluetooth devices, may affect auditory function or neurological processes. While some studies have reported associations between mobile phone use and auditory symptoms or cognitive effects, the evidence, we are told, remains inconclusive.

If further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms and implications of any observed effects, why have studies that have found causative links between RF-EMFs and detrimental health effects been ignored?

Below are three studies that clearly showed an increased risk, and these were not difficult to find – in fact, there are dozens that we could also add to the list.

Potential for Increased Risk of Brain Tumours: Some studies suggest a possible association between long-term use of mobile phones and Bluetooth-enabled devices like headsets, and an increased risk of brain tumours. For example:

  • A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in 2019 found that long-term use of mobile phones was associated with an increased risk of glioma, a type of brain tumour.

Effects on Cognitive Function: Research has also raised concerns about the potential impact of RF-EMFs emitted by Bluetooth devices on cognitive function. For instance:

  • A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives in 2018 reported an association between RF-EMF exposure and decreased cognitive function in adolescents.

Concerns for Vulnerable Populations: Certain groups, such as children, may be more susceptible to the potential health effects of RF-EMF exposure. Studies have highlighted the need for caution and further research in these populations. For example:

  • The American Academy of Paediatrics issued guidelines in 2019 recommending limiting children’s exposure to cell phones and other wireless devices due to potential health risks.

The last point above should be highlighted, as children are spending significantly more time using electronic devices than ever before. And the popularity of online gaming has led to increased use of headsets, particularly wireless Bluetooth, which may have long-term detrimental health effects. The image below illustrates the difference in what is called Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) between a child’s brain and an adult’s brain – a 50% higher rate.

The legal limit is 1.68w/kg – our children are experiencing nearly two and a half times the safe limit of exposure, which is extremely concerning.

Although this references cellphones, the same issue would be experienced with Bluetooth headsets, whether in-ear or over-ear, as these devices spend considerably more time close to our brain. So please consider carefully your child’s safety.

Overall, these reasons highlight the importance of taking a cautious approach to the use of Bluetooth headsets and other wireless devices like Smart Watches, particularly in light of the potential health implications identified in peer reviewed scientific research.

What are the Alternatives TO BLUETOOTH HEADSETS?

When considering the potential health effects of wireless devices like Bluetooth headsets, it’s important to explore alternative technologies that offer lower electromagnetic radiation exposure. One such alternative are Air Tube headsets, which provides a safer option for individuals seeking to minimize their exposure to EMFs.

Air Tube headsets utilize hollow tubes to transmit sound from the device to the ear, eliminating direct contact with electromagnetic fields near the head and ears. This design may reduce potential health risks associated with prolonged use of traditional Bluetooth headsets, making Air Tube headsets a viable alternative for those concerned about EMF exposure.

We have recently added genuine iBRAIN Air Tube headsets to our range of products, and you can learn more about wired and Bluetooth versus Air Tube headphones in the following article: The Air Tube Advantage – Sweet Sounds Without The EMF

Let’s talk about SMARTWATCHES

Smartwatches are also gaining popularity extremely quickly, offering instantaneous easy access to messages, emails, and personal biological data. Smartwatches are mini-computers – most of them collect information from internal or external sensors, and may control or retrieve data from other instruments or computers. Most support wireless technologies such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and mobile data.

Smartwatches are used to access apps, track events and activities, access media, send and receive text and voice messages, keep track of vital signs, and also store credit card and banking details via mobile wallet apps. This raises privacy and security concerns, as smartwatches use wireless networks to transmit information to different devices. Hackers can steal your data and personal information by intercepting the signal, posing significant risks if you use the watch for banking.

Your watch can use GPS data to create a route map of your outdoor workout or commute. This makes you constantly trackable because you’re less likely to leave the watch at home, turn it off, or take it off.

Like Bluetooth headphones, is the rising popularity of smart watches masking the potential health dangers that are raising alarm bells?

Alarm bells are ringing primarily because smartwatches are worn on the wrist for extended periods of time, and are in direct contact with the body. These devices also emit RF-EMFs to communicate with other devices such as smartphones, Bluetooth headphones, and similar. This radiation penetrates the skin and underlying tissues.

For those who are interested in ancient Chinese Medicine, it is worth noting that the meridians that go through the pulse affect the heart, liver, kidneys, intestine, stomach, gall bladder, liver, pericardium, spleen and lungs. It would be reasonable to assume that because smartwatches are worn on or very near the pulse, these important meridians are being affected continuously by RF-EMFs emitted by the smartwatch.

Prolonged exposure to RF-EMFs from smartwatches may raise concerns about potential health effects, including thermal effects (heating of tissues) and non-thermal effects (biological changes at the cellular level). Additional side effects that have been reported include mood swings, intense headaches, nausea, memory gaps, and disrupted sleeping patterns, especially when wearing the smartwatch for a long time.

Some individuals may also experience skin irritation or allergic reactions from prolonged contact with the materials used in smartwatch bands. Although this may be attributed to sensitivities to certain metals or plastics, there is growing evidence that Bluetooth and/or WiFi RF-EMR could be contributing to cellular damage – as is shown in the photograph below.


There is, perhaps, a misguided (and frankly irresponsible) argument that insufficient clinical evidence exists to prove a causative relationship between RF-EMR and detrimental physiological effects on humans.

Regulators as well as manufacturers of devices that emit RF-EMR seem to be unwilling to respond to growing public concern about the dangers of exposure to ever increasing levels of RF-EMR, and the rise in anecdotal evidence of side effects. This concern is also supported by an increasing number of peer-reviewed scientific research that links RF-EMR,to health side effects . This is disappointing, to say the least, and places our health and the health of our children at long-term risk.

At Custodi NZ, we support a balanced and evidence-based approach to RF-EMR safety. We take a precautionary approach to the use of devices that emit RF-EMR. Having concern for the health of our customers, our friends and our families, our recommendation is to replace as many of these close proximity RF-EMR emitting devices with non-RF EMR alternatives. And if there are no alternatives, then don’t use devices like Bluetooth headphones and smartwatches at all, or use them as little as possible.

If you have specific concerns or questions regarding RF-EMR safety and solutions that can lower your exposure to RF-EMR , please reach out to us at sales@custodi.co.nz.

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