Can you sleep with wireless earbuds on? Experts say this.

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A bedroom is a place of quiet and relaxation. It’s a place to make sure your body and mind are well-rested so that you can tackle the obstacles of tomorrow.

But what happens when we can’t seem to fall asleep?

Our homes are supposed to be quiet at night. But that doesn’t always hold true. There may be people outside still up and talking. There might be cars revving their engines. And because of that, some people are now starting to use their wireless earbuds to block out the noise and help them fall asleep.

But can you safely sleep with your wireless earbuds?

Generally speaking, yes you can, but in moderation. Our studies have found excessive use of wireless earbuds while sleeping has been known to cause a few issues. While you can enjoy the relaxation benefits of dozing off to soothing music, it can create a few medical issues that you should watch out for.

Let’s dive into further the safety issues of when using wireless earbuds to sleep.

Is it safe to sleep with wireless earbuds on?

When used properly and in moderation, earbuds can be safe to sleep with. However, this should be one of your last resort when trying to find ways to sleep.

Compared to being awake, sleeping with music in your ears is very different. When you are awake, you are aware of the pressure from the sound in your ears. You can simply remove your earbuds if you feel uncomfortable.

But when you’re sleeping, you may not be able to do this. The pressure in your ear could continue on and you could possibly sleep through the entire ordeal.

After waking up from something like this, you can be sure that you will feel the pain and pressure in your ear.

What are some alternatives to getting to sleep before trying earbuds?

You can first try reading a book. If that doesn’t work and you prefer music, then use a speaker that will play throughout the entire room.

Once you’ve exhausted all your other options and decide that earbuds are the only things that could help you, then make sure you’re using them right.

Take into consideration what types of music you should be sleeping to. You have to very careful about the volume. It shouldn’t be too loud.

The volume of music can also force pressure into your ears and having that on al night may harm you over time. 

Possible dangers of sleeping with earbuds

Earbuds can cause harm to your ears. I’ve listed some of the key factors that you might experience if you are not careful with appropriately using your earbuds.

Ear wax build-up

Wax build-up usually takes a long time to occur naturally. However, when you are plugging up your ears and pushing down sound and pressure, the wax in your ear has nowhere to go but build up.

The reason being is that as the sound continues to force its way down your ear canal, the natural wax in your ear has no way out. As gross as it sounds, ear wax does release itself coming out of the ear.

However, in this scenario, your earwax is trapped. It will continue to build up until it’s reached the maximum threshold and you might feel an itchy and strange discomfort.

Usually, one night won’t cause any serious build-up. But if this consists, it may become difficult to remove due to the compactness and ultimately cause damage to your ears.

If you do decide to frequently use earbuds while sleeping, it’s good to regularly check your ears or have someone do it for you. If you happen to have a significant amount of buildup, then I would recommend buying either a tool that can help you remove that wax or a solution that will dissolve the wax.

If you’re interested, click here to check Amazon and see what I recommend for ear wax build-up.

Otitis externa

Ear pain
Ear pain from wireless earbuds

There is a condition that is common among swimmers called otitis externa and/or swimmer’s ear. It’s an infection of the outer ear canal that runs deep into the eardrum.

The condition begins due to moisture trapped inside the ear which helps bacteria and fungi grow.

While this may seem like an entirely different situation compared to you sleeping in a dry bed and not underwater, there is a key similarity.

Likewise in this condition, placing earbuds into your ears overnight may trap the moisture from the inside of your ears from ever being released. This is a common issue with swimmers and earplugs that help keep water out of their ears. While in reality, it also blocks water from exiting the ears as well.

With frequent use of earbuds and continually trapping that moisture in your ear, you may very likely run into this issue.

You may even experience pain and oftentimes, simply drying your ears won’t help. It is advised to go see your doctor if you have pain.

Treatment for this issue may require antibiotics and steroid eardrops.


That pain you feel after hours of wearing your earbuds should not go overlooked. While awake, you would normally take these earbuds off when they become way too uncomfortable.

Unfortunately while sleeping, you likely won’t be taking them off. They would remain in your ear, otherwise, causing more pressure and more pain.

Necrosis occurs in rare causes but is quite severe. It’s when the tissue around and inside your ear canal, where the earbud is inserted, begins to die.

Damaged hearing

Aside from the fact that listening to really loud music can damage your hearing, listening to really sound music while you sleep can cause hearing loss.

The CDC explains that people who are exposed to a single instance of loud sounds, as well as long-term exposure to loud sounds, can cause hearing loss. The membranes and cells in your ear can become irreparably damaged. The longer you are exposed to this sound, the more this hearing loss will progress.

Damage to the inner ear is generally considered permanent.


This situation may be the most common issue.

When you block off the environmental sounds, you are putting yourself at risk.

If there was a fire or an alarm, there’s a very good chance you might not be able to hear it.

A situation like this would put your life in danger.

Benefits of sleeping with earbuds

When it comes to benefits, there aren’t many as convincing. The following list is just a few reasons why sleeping with earbuds can be a good thing.

Noise cancelation

It’s not uncommon to hear all sorts of commotion late in the night.

There can be neighbors who are talking and socializing with friends really late in the night. There can be cars racing in and out across the street from you.

Some of today’s wireless earbuds have the ability to block out sound in an effort called noise canceling.

Noise cancelation uses waves that are moving in opposing directions. This causes a collision between the waves. Think high waves canceling out low waves.

Blocking off noise

This topic is a little different from noise cancelation. But in reality, both reasons generally remove background noise.

Users of earbuds can play relaxing music that can block off other sounds. There’s plenty of noise going on at all times of the day and night. These sounds can keep you awake

The benefit here is that you can play whatever music you like, instead of listening to chatter or engine roaring.

Treatment of insomnia and PTSD

There have been studies from the NCBI that show music playing while sleeping to be effective in helping people suffering from insomnia and PTSD.

According to the research, scientists discovered that

“a significant increase in objective and subjective sleep efficiency and a significant reduction in depression level following music relaxation.”


Stimulates serotonin and dopamine

In yet another article from NCBI, scientists discovered that music exposure increases the serotonin and dopamine activity in rats and linked this to reward and motor control.

So basically speaking, music makes us feel good. Feeling good helps us relax. And being relaxed helps us comfortably sleep better.

Do wireless earbuds cause cancer?

There was a rumor dated as far back as 2015 that claimed wireless earbuds could cause cancer.

This was during the time when wireless earbuds became even more popular with the introduction of Apple’s Airpods. More and more people were seen with these devices and so the traction to the concern began to grow.

In a study reported to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), researchers discovered that the amount of radiation released from Bluetooth devices (like wireless earbuds) was measured to be 10 to 400 times lower than that of phone radiation.

At this time, there’s no evidence that any wireless earbud device causes cancer.

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