Are Bluetooth headsets safe?


by  Daniel Gniazdo

Bluetooth headsets have been around for over a decade, yet many are still reluctant to use them. It may have something to do with not wanting to look like an extra in a sci-fi movie, but there’s also the recurring question: Are Bluetooth headsets safe?

Are Bluetooth headsets safe: Man in car with Jabra Stealth headset

It’s kind of in our nature to worry about new technologies and whether they’re going to doom us all in some unforeseen way. People love a good dystopian tale. Bluetooth headsets…well, let’s just say they don’t make the best candidates for such a tale. If anything, they may actually reduce some of the risks associated with other tech. How so?

To answer that, let’s look at two things people tend to worry about:

1) Are Bluetooth headsets safe for your health?
2) Are Bluetooth headsets safe for driving?

Are Bluetooth headsets safe for your health?

People worry that wearing a radio-transmitting gadget on their head is going to cause some health issues. Let’s face it: Despite what comic books may have us believe, radiation rarely gives you superpowers. It’s generally something we want to stay away from.

But is radiation from Bluetooth headsets something to be worried about? The short answer is no – if you ask the scientists who study it. To understand why, let’s talk briefly about cell phone radiation studies first.

Radiation from cell phones and smartphones

Cell phone radiation has been extensively studied. Scientists wanted to evaluate the potential health risks, especially when it came to cancer. What did they find?

American Cancer Society offers a thorough overview of all the studies to date. The basic consensus is that current research does not point to any obvious link to health issues from cell phone use. To quote a few expert agencies mentioned in the article:

“The majority of studies published have failed to show an association between exposure to radiofrequency from a cell phone and health problems”

Food and Drug Administration

“At this time we do not have the science to link health problems to cell phone use. Scientific studies are underway to determine whether cell phone use may cause health effects.”

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

“There is no scientific evidence that proves that wireless phone usage can lead to cancer or a variety of other problems, including headaches, dizziness or memory loss.”

Federal Communications Commission

Nevertheless, more research is ongoing and people are encouraged to exercise caution and limit their exposure, especially when giving cell phones to children.

What does all of this mean for Bluetooth headsets? Well…

Radiation from Bluetooth headsets

Unlike cell phones, which have to transmit a signal to an antenna that might be many kilometers away, Bluetooth headsets only need to reach the phone in your pocket. Most Bluetooth headsets have a range of only 10 meters (30 feet). This also means that they emit far less radiation than cell phones themselves. How much less? One thousand times less.

That’s why most authorities explicitly advise using hands-free devices including Bluetooth headsets if you’re worried about radiation exposure from cell phones. For instance:

“To reduce radio frequency radiation near your body: Get a hands-free headset that connects directly to your phone.”

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

“Headsets can substantially reduce exposure since the phone is held away from the head in the user’s hand or in approved body-worn accessories.”

Food and Drug Administration

“Use the speaker mode on the phone or a hands-free device such as a corded or cordless earpiece. This moves the antenna away from your head, which decreases the amount of RF waves that reach the head.”

American Cancer Society

In a nutshell, if you’re going to be talking on a cell phone no matter what, using a Bluetooth headset will help you reduce exposure to radiation.

Are Bluetooth headsets safe for driving?

It should go without saying that staring at your cell phone while driving a car is not the smartest idea in the world. You must keep your eyes on the road, not on that cute new emoji your friend texted you. That’s why most countries, including US, Canada, and UK have strict laws that ban texting while driving.

But distracted driving regulations are about more than just texting. Holding a cell phone while driving distracts you in at least three ways:

  1. Sight: You’re not keeping your eyes on the road.
  2. Control: One of your hands is not on the wheel, making it more difficult for you to respond to any unforeseen situations.
  3. Attention: Your brain is focusing on the chat or conversation rather than driving.

Bluetooth headsets can help you avoid the first two distractions. This is why distracted driving laws usually require you to use a hands-free device if you’re making calls in the car. Importantly, some places forbid all cell phone use in the car (even with hands-free devices) for certain categories of drivers. Keep yourself updated.

The safest thing to do is to limit your calls while driving altogether. But once again, if you must make a call from your car, a Bluetooth headset or an in-car speakerphone at least helps you keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.

Let’s revisit the main question of the post – are Bluetooth headsets safe? Yes, and they’re certainly safer than cell phones alone. Whether you’re worried about health risks from radiation or distracted driving, Bluetooth headsets serve to reduce those risks. Although that should not prevent you from exercising common sense when on the road.


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29 Responses

  1. Pedro October 29, 2015 / 16:59

    I have rox model and change the phone and I can not connect again , I need Bluetooth 4.0 or higher?

  2. Jeremiah Westfall December 1, 2015 / 02:48

    Hi, my name is Jeremiah
    I just purchased a Bluetooth Headset (Jabra Classic)
    It connects and talks well, but I got it primarily for s voice
    On my Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini Smartphone.

    I can’t seem to get voice control to open. I just either hear
    “Connected” or it unpairs. Is this headset not compatible?

  3. Bryan Leyton December 10, 2015 / 22:05

    Wow, I knew bluetooth was safer in terms of radiations than mobile phones but I didn’t know it was 1000 times less radiations !
    I am glad I am using a bluetooth headset !

    • Daniel Gniazdo December 11, 2015 / 09:38

      Yup – just make sure you still keep your focus on the road when you’re driving with them!

  4. ramtin December 12, 2015 / 11:50

    hi.I have a rox wireless.The version of its bluetooth is 2.9. Can i update it?Is there any firmware for it.

  5. Maulana January 9, 2016 / 02:35

    I’m Maulana. Purchased Jabra storm 2 days ago.
    At first use, when incoming calls there’s sound “.. Would you like to answer it?” but now there’s no more that sound. Only ringing sound in headset. How to set up this feature on? So I can answer incoming calls only by saying YES.
    Thank you.

  6. Melissa January 15, 2016 / 22:16

    Hello there!

    I purchased Jabra Sport Pulse a week ago as a gift.
    However within a week use, he noticed that whenever his iphone is on his pocket (while the earphone is connected via bluetooth) and when he makes a sudden movement on the phone while in his pocket, the sounds while playing music stops too. It’s like being disconnected when a movement happens. So we decided to replace it at the shop where I bought it. However the new one still have the same issue but lesser than the previous one.
    Please if you could give me a feedback on this.

    Thanks a lot

    • Daniel Gniazdo January 18, 2016 / 11:02

      Hi Melissa,

      What’s likely happening is that the Bluetooth signal gets blocked when your body gets in the way. It usually helps if you move your iPhone out of your pocket and into, say, an armband on your shoulder.

      If you’re still having trouble, I’d suggest reaching out directly to our support team right here:

      I’m sure they can help you out!

      All the best,

      • erick April 16, 2016 / 15:58

        i bought jabra classic is it safe to use it while im cooking? im using LPG gas while cooking.

    • Daniel Gniazdo May 3, 2016 / 14:29

      Hey Paul,

      Your link leads to Quora, a crowd-sourced answer/question forum where anyone can give an answer.

      In the above article, I have referred to and quoted a number reputable agencies that have a stance on topic.

      Whom you choose to believe is up to you.

      All the best,

  7. Adem March 17, 2016 / 20:28

    Does a bluetooth headset transmit something when you are listening music from your phone via bluetooth headset?

    • Daniel Gniazdo May 3, 2016 / 14:30

      Hey Adem,

      Whenever a Bluetooth headset communicates with your phone (whether to stream music or calls), it does transmit a Bluetooth signal.

      However, as described above, the radiation it transmits is significantly lower than the radiation transmitted by the phone itself.

      Hope that helps!


  8. DrML March 23, 2016 / 19:30

    Not expecting you to publish this as it is contrary to the financial incentives of Jabra, which BTW makes great corded headsets. What I want to point out to readers is the full meaning of the first quote designed to alleviate concerns over BT technology. It is a true statement, but read it carefully where it says “…that connects directly to your phone.” Note the “connects directly” ie it’s wired, not BT (wireless). Wired headsets are a pain to use and the little ear pieces get lost, but as a medical professional, my personal preference is minimizing RF radiation where possible. We daily live in an environment of every home, business, etc, having wireless coming at you from all directions that you can’t avoid so why add more? I often am reminded that at the turn of the 20th century, x-rays were considered by the “experts” to be harmless.

    • Daniel Gniazdo May 3, 2016 / 14:41

      Hi there,

      Thanks for your input!

      The quote you’ve selected can indeed be interpreted to refer specifically to corded headsets. It goes without saying that a corded headset emits less (well, zero) radiation than a Bluetooth headset that uses a wireless signal.

      At the same time, other quotes (e.g. the one from American Cancer Society) refer to both corded and cordless headsets as good options for minimizing radiation exposure, since Bluetooth emits far less radiation than a mobile phone.

      But you’re right – we all make our own choices, based on what we feel comfortable with.

      All the best,

  9. Bryce Young April 8, 2016 / 08:39

    My personal choice is the jabra storm. I’ve tried many different brands, but I have found the Jabra to offer the best connectivity and battery life. I spend hours in my car each week travelling between work at and Los Angeles and don’t wish to be without it – ever!

    • Daniel Gniazdo May 3, 2016 / 14:51

      Hey Bryce,

      Thanks for your kind words. It’s always great to hear from someone who loves Jabra products.

      Enjoy your Jabra Storm!


  10. Arsh April 18, 2016 / 11:55

    Hey, a big fan of Jabra bluetooth headset
    i have used Wave, Wave+ and Storm
    from almost 4 years i have been using jabra
    two days back i got Jabra stealth and i am not satisfied with the Bluetooth connectivity and background noise reduction which was far better in storm and wave+.

    I wrote a mail also to refund my money or upgrade to me to eclipse
    and got a call from Alphatech

    since i am not satisfied with the product
    kindly see to it
    I am not after money refund but yes if i can get a upgraded version by paying the difference i wont mind
    Still love Jabra 🙂

    • Arsh April 18, 2016 / 11:58

      I know its not technical fault with the device as i bought two and read reviews online about it
      Its that it did nt came upto the expectations or the name of jabra.
      Rather then providing me the technical assistance Kindly find a solution to it.
      thanks !!!

  11. Pranav Bhardwaj May 5, 2016 / 20:14

    I am having jabra uc 150 duo. I am trying to connect it with Asus Zenphone 2 having version 5 android via OTG(On-the-Go) cable. But it seems the mic dosen’t gets detected as i am able to hear the voice of another person on GSM call but the other person was not able to hear my voice.

  12. JosieQ May 20, 2016 / 21:47

    How much do you get paid to push cancer, scum?

    • Daniel Gniazdo May 23, 2016 / 08:51

      Hey Josie,

      I can warmly recommend that you take another look at the article and read some of its sources.

      Have a wonderful day,

      • JosieQ May 23, 2016 / 11:02

        And I can warmly recommend you hang yourself, government stooge.

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