advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Are Noise-Cancelling Headphones Safe?

Our children have asked for noise-canceling headphones. We don't understand the technology. Is there any chance it could lead to any of the concerns that cell phones have raised such as the possibility of increased brain tumor risk?

A
Answer (Published 8/16/2010)

Noise-canceling headphones reduce background sounds such as the roar of an airplane engine, the rumble of a train and highway noise. They do this by producing an "anti-noise" sound wave that interferes with and cancels out unwanted background noise. They contain a microphone placed near the ear and electronic circuitry that generates the opposing sound. Unlike cell phones, noise-cancelling headphones do not emit low level radiation and do not pose any of the potential hazards that could stem from frequent use of a cell phone held next to the ear.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor - If you are interested in supplementing your diet but don't know where to start, take Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor. It is free, and provides a personalized vitamin & supplement recommendation based on your health history. Visit today!

Actually, noise-cancelling headphones can be beneficial, since both loud noises and constant low-level noise can lead to health problems. Acute loud noises can damage hearing, interfere with sleep, raise blood pressure and stress levels and cause headaches. As for low-level noise, a study published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America in March, 2001, found that Austrian children who live in neighborhoods with constant low-level noise (mostly from automobile and train traffic) had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than youngsters who lived in quieter neighborhoods. And a study published in the February, 2006, issue of the European Heart Journal found that heart attack risk was higher among people exposed to chronic noise.

I actually recommend noise-canceling headphones to help avert the health problems noise exposure can present. By neutralizing surrounding noise, kids can listen to music without turning up the volume so high that poses a risk to their hearing. The sound quality of the music (or whatever else you're listening to) may not be as good as it is with non-canceling high quality audio headphones, according to a 2007 review of these products I read in The New York Times, and with some of these devices you can hear a hissing noise when music is not playing. But overall, I think you would be doing your kids (and their hearing) a favor by giving them noise-canceling headphones.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here