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  • Category: Reward Programs

    Health issues of using Apple AirPods and possible side effects - active GD

    Are you planning to buy an Apple AirPod? Have you done any study on the health issues of Airpods? Join this active discussion to learn more about the side effects of the new iPhone Airpods headphone.

    Health issues of Apple iPhone Airpods Headphone
    Apple just announced the new AirPods, an innovative approach to listening to music and audio. Apple products have been trendsetters in their respective segments. The new AirPods are also expected to follow the same trend. (I'm still wondering why they didn't call it EarPods!)

    How does the AirPods affect the health of the people wearing it regularly

    AirPod is definitely a big leap in the earphone technology. But new technology doesn't always mean better technology for human health. In fact, many new devices and technologies like mobile networks, microwaves, radiation, Bluetooth etc have come up its own health issues as well.

    Do you think there are any health issues with the new Apple AirPods? Let's discuss.

    Feel free to voice your opinion about the possible side effects of the air pods and how it can affect your health, especially the ears and the brain.
    Last date to participate: 13th September 2016.
  • #578156
    Yesterday I was watching the news item on BBC and it was shown that for the first time the mobile users who opt for Apple Airpods will be having the high end facility of wireless technology and hence the traditional way of using the Apple phone will be done away with the new technology. And as far as health issues are concerned, still there are no negative talk about this new technology and we have to see when the people across the world use the same in large numbers. Any technology always gets rave reviews in the beginning because they were triggered by the competitors and Apple need not worry.
    K Mohan
    I consider myself as the learner everyday

  • #578172
    This thread is now an active GD. You can debate about the pros and cons of the newly launched Apple Air Pods, about whether or not they will have an adverse impact on the user's health.

    Managing Editor,

  • #578177
    It is not about Apples AirPods alone but it is about the effect of exposure to radiofrequency energy (RF) in general. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of US recommends reducing the time one spends with the cell phones and using speakerphone function or a wired headset to maximize the distance between the cell phone and the user's head.

    The need to reduce exposure of radio frequencies to the body has well been recognized. The current generation of phones contains sophisticated systems known as accelerometers which indicate when the cell phone is next to the head and automatically puts the phone on lowest possible power mode to reduce the exposure of radio frequencies to the head.

    Though the expressed opinion in general , is that the wireless devices don't pose a public health risk for adults or children but I think more will come to light in future. However, perhaps we need not point a finger toward Air Pods alone at this stage and consider the radiofrequency exposure risks in its totality.

    Let us encourage each other in sharing knowledge.

  • #578179
    Too much of radio frequencies and transmissions from the mobile is harming our ears for over the years. To avoid that the mobile companies have built several strategies in their phones. Some have loudspeakers, some have headphones. Some have both the options. Now Apple has launched hands free airpods. I think these are not that harmful, in comparison to talking directly on the phone by keeping your ears covered with the phones.
    Earlier the cell phones had small screens and very few textual applications. They did emit radiation of the amount that today's smartphones and iphones are emitting. The whole lot multimedia and 3D graphical applications these phones generate huge radiation. To avoid that we need headphones. Yes, it is true that headphones or airpods do possess radio frequencies, but it has been clinically proven that these frequencies do not cause harm of a measurable amount. They don't even cause harm to children for that matter.

  • #578180
    First of all what I am surprised is that Apple AirPod is not the first gadget using wireless. Then why the doubt comes suddenly?

    It is true that any wireless transmission emits radio waves and radio waves can either penetrate or do localised effects. However human body has a tolerance and that is why we were not feeling them with all types of transmissions like Radio, Tv, remote instruments, microwave oven etc where emission of radio magnetic waves are there whatever be their energy level.

    However the effects of low energy radiation- like that is emitted from many modern wireless gadgets- is still not undoubtedly established or researched with sufficient time frame and samples. Hence there is always hesitation, doubts and fear about wireless gadgets.

    In such a situation caution and precaution are the best.

    Let us keep faith on ourselves and work sincerely, not leave everything to fate.

  • #578182
    Joyshree (#578179 ) - The actual threat of radio frequencies is to the brain, not ears. The ears being nearest of the brain distance wise, any type of gadget which is worn in ears and emits radio frequencies is likely to pose a greater hazard to the brain. Radio frequencies of the wireless devices like a cell phone, Bluetooth headphones or a wireless router emits a non-ionising type of radiation, unlike X-ray machines which emit an ionising type of radio frequencies. The ionising type of radiations are more hazardous and it is well known and understood by the users while getting exposed to the X-rays. The non-ionising type of radiation is comparatively less hazardous but not 'without any hazard'. Use of wireless devices are associated with a malignant type of brain cancer.

    Venkiteswaran Ji (#578180 ) - The company Apple themselves recommended reduce exposure to RF energy by opting for hands-free devices like built-in speakerphones and supply headphones or similar accessories with IPhones etc. Their recommendations can be seen on iOS by going to Settings -> General -> About -> Legal -> RF Exposure.

    Let us encourage each other in sharing knowledge.

  • #578191
    @Kailash Sir- I would like to correct one of the facts here. As you already mentioned that radiation are of two types, ionizing and non ionizing and mobile and cell phone devices fall under the latter type. In fact, so does any bluetooth headset or airpods or headphones. All these headsets come under a radiation group that is not harmful for the ears, or pardon me, "Brains", as you would say. I didn't know where from you gathered the information of brain cancer, when there is no published proof on if such wireless devices causes cancer at all.
    Can you show us the statistics that proves that such and such state or country listed cases possessing brain cancers from such wireless sets? In fact, I can show you quotes given by the Food and Drug and department and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention doesn't endorse the fact that wireless devices such as headsets or airpods can cause cancer or even nausea for that matter.

  • #578206
    Joyshree (#578191) - The WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, associated with wireless phone use.

    During the year 2011, a working group of 31 scientists from 14 countries assessed the potential carcinogenic hazards from exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields and observed that there is strong evidence to conclude that there could be some risks and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk.


    Let us encourage each other in sharing knowledge.

  • #578210
    The extra concern of health issues with Apple Airpod is because of the main reason that there are no earphone jacks in the main device. So users are compelled to keep the wireless ear side aid always on. In other cases, to reduce exposure people can use conventional wired earphones and headphones connected to the audio jack in the main device.

    The radiation hazard from mobile phones and smartphones are well studied and a threshold value of specific Absorption Rate or SAR is prescribed. Each phone has to display the SAR of that device. So users are put at caution and alerted to take proper care to reduce exposure.
    I amnot able to understand what the post#578182 wants to emphasise by stating "The company Apple themselves recommended reduce exposure to RF energy by opting for hands-free devices like built-in speakerphones and supply headphones or similar accessories with IPhones ". Is it to say that using earphones is going to reduce radiation exposure or to say that the company himself has admitted the health hazards of its product ?

    Let us keep faith on ourselves and work sincerely, not leave everything to fate.

  • #578215
    #578210 - Yes, the company cannot deny the scientific facts and Apple does make warnings regarding radio frequency (RF) exposure available to consumers. However, that is buried in their legal section. I have studies the same today only after getting a cue from a CNN report.

    Apple's recommendation says - 'to reduce exposure to RF energy, use a hands-free option, such as the built-in speakerphone, the supplied headphones or other similar accessories. Carry iPhone at least 5mm away from your body to ensure exposure levels remain at, or below, the as-tested levels'.

    As far as AirPods are concerned, that may not be observing 5 cms clearance even from the human brain.

    I have not yet been able to locate any elucidation from the Apple's side regarding AirPods.

    Let us encourage each other in sharing knowledge.

  • #578234
    @Kailash Sir: In the field of science there is no place for might, maybe, could be, etc. I searched the example you have cited, on the internet, and found the entire article given by the sciencedaily. In that article it is clearly specified that there is no evidence to confirm the radioactive effects of mobile emission on the brain. They have suggested a possibility in the year 2011 of a long term adverse effect. The adverse effect which was never proved among any individual in the long term. Since there is no experimental proof to it, I myself being a scientist rule this out.
    On the other hand I would like to draw your attention to an article by a PhD. professor of Seattle who in his recent experimental studies of 2014 found out that such non ionizing electromagnetic rays do not have a heavy or disastrous effect on the brains. But yes, the studies proved strong effects in sleeping disorders. This has certainly nothing to do with brain cancer or tumor. So the theory that you gave has been disproved experimentally in that published paper. In fact, the study concludes that the minor cognitive impairments noticed in certain individuals could vary based on the physical and mental potential of individuals.

  • #578258
    Joyshree (#578234) - In my response #578206, I have quoted the url of the source of my comments which is a WHO document. You may visit the same also besides conducting further research. I think people should give credence to what WHO is saying.
    Let us encourage each other in sharing knowledge.

  • #578415
    I do not want to restrict the health hazards of wearing continuous earphones or headsets only to radiation. As the Apple Airpods need to be worn continuously (as stated in my previous post) due to absence of audio jack in main device, there can be infections caused by humidity accumulation of dust and dirt. Moreover close ear hearing continuously can affect hearing capacity in the long run. It can affect sleep pattern and cause withdrawal effects when not removing after long time continuous wearing.

    As the main device is not taken to the ear, the radiation from main device is reduced . However even though the radiation is of low energy from the AirPods, as it is localised close and radiation need not travel much, the effect will be more.
    In health issues like diabetes, low level long-term diabetes can also cause more can cause problem in long run, as the accumulation can be more than the total lifetime exposure tolerance level threshold.

    Let us keep faith on ourselves and work sincerely, not leave everything to fate.

  • #578418
    One thing appears to be very clear, that all possible efforts are being made to keep the main handset device away from the ears, be it through the use of the earphone jacks or the AirPods because it appears to have been well settled that electromagnetic radiations emitted by the handset devices while holding the same next to the ears have potential hazard.

    The newly introduced AirPods connect to the iPhone 7 via Bluetooth. The frequency on which Bluetooth devices operate is similar to the frequency used by mobile phone handsets or WiFi service. Thus any new kind of exposure is not going to be introduced by the AirPods. Generally, Bluetooth gadgets communicate at a very low power level as they function only within few feets distance.

    However, thinking about dispensing with AirPods and revert back to the classical method of communication by holding the handset next to the ears will expose the users to greater risks.

    Let us encourage each other in sharing knowledge.

  • #578477
    Coming to the wireless technology in general when compared to wired technology, the health risks are increasing day by day.
    According to The BioInitiative Working Group evidence for health risk from wireless technology is growing stronger and warrants immediate action. This Group released a mid-year update covering new science studies from 2012 to 2014.
    New studies intensify medical concerns about malignant brain tumors from cell phone use.
    Let me quote the studies for our reference,
    "There is a consistent pattern of increased risk for glioma (a malignant brain tumor) and acoustic neuroma with use of mobile and cordless phones" says Lennart Hardell, MD, PhD at Orebro University, Sweden, according to studies released in 2012 and 2013. "Epidemiological evidence shows that radiofrequency should be classified as a known human carcinogen. The existing FCC/IEEE and ICNIRP public safety limits are not adequate to protect public health."
    Surveys conducted on a wide strata revealed the following details,
    The BioInitiative reports nervous system effects in 68% of studies on radiofrequency radiation (144 of 211 studies) in 2014. This has increased from 63% in 2012 (93 of 150 studies) in 2012. Studies of extremely-low frequency radiation are reported to cause nervous system effects in 90% of the 105 studies available in 2014. Genetic effects (damage to DNA) from radiofrequency radiation is reported in 65% (74 of 114 studies); and 83% (49 of 59 studies) of extremely-low frequency studies.
    Apples Airpods have been designed keeping usabilty and comfort of the user in mind. The main reason was designing them to fit everyone's ears, which could not be achieved completely. The driver ports are now located toward the edge, channeling all of the audio directly into your ear canals.
    The technical specifications of the Airpods are,
    Frequency Response (low): 5 Hz
    Frequency Response (high): 21 kHz
    Impedance: 23 ohms
    Sensitivity: 109 dB
    More to follow on the research and technical data.

    "If things go wrong, don’t go with them"

  • #578501
    The iPhone7 will come with a pair of wired earbuds called EarPods which can be plugged into the Lightning port at the bottom of the phone. AirPods can be bought separately, October 2016 onward at a cost of $159. The AirPods connect to the iPhone via Bluetooth.

    There will be a processor called W1 chip inside each AirPod which will make the pairing of iPhone easier and help manage power which will increase battery life. The W1 chip helps the iPhone in detecting when they are inside ears and thus the music will not start playing until the AirPods are inside ears. Also, there will be an accelerometer inside AirPods which can detect when the user tap the AirPods.

    The AirPods come with a magnetic carrying case which is used for charging also. The case has an independent battery and there will be a Lightning port at the bottom the case for charging. If the case is charged then the AirPods battery can be topped up.

    Let us encourage each other in sharing knowledge.

  • #578506
    I don't know where from the concept of diabetes is coming. In the past years also, when only wired headsets were used no case of "Diabetes" was reported due to prolonged use of headsets. Airpods or headsets mostly lead to insomnia, sleep apnea, a raised level in blood pressure and permanent hearing impairment. But if you check on the internet you will see that all these disorders can occur to persons who use headsets for prolonged hours all round the week and that too way above the restricted hearing level, say around 100db or above.
    In fact, being a regular user of headsets I can tell you that having diabetes as a result of using headsets is a totally wrong and illogical concept. There is absolutely no scientific base to it.
    In fact, almost all headsets and airpods show a warning when you increase its volume beyond the safety range. Below that range you can safely keep it on. It is up to the users to obey the safety limits..

  • #578510
    @Joyshree(578506), I think you have picked up diabetes from my post 578415. It was not to be used as directly relevant. My aim was only to show that even low level radiation received for long time can be harmful like other health issues occurring for long years even when they are of low level.
    In modern life, the background radiation from various sources is growing higher and higher. That is the passive radiation we receive without our using any radiation emitting device. It is there in the space around us being devices used by others, natural radiation present, radiation from sunlight and other sources. In addition if we aloe radiation energy close to our body then the effects are much more.
    The manufacturers of modern wireless devices will ,not tell us the truth as it will affect their business. Only impartial study by unbiased, unattached scientists and volunteers can bring the truth.
    Till then t s best to take prudent precautions. assuming that the new wireless accessory is harmful.

    Let us keep faith on ourselves and work sincerely, not leave everything to fate.

  • #578512
    The article one of the GD participants is referring to, is an article by some business group. Yes, it is true that they have mentioned about radiations affecting brains and DNA, but let me point few things here
    1) No exact case is enlisted in the article where it is seen that such and such number of people in so and so country have obtained brain damage from excessive mobile phone usage.
    2) My point above is self explanatory that the statistics mentioned by the above participant is irrelevant as these are statistics related to usage of mobile phones. But the GD topic is "Health issues of using Apple AirPods". So, where is that statistics? Our GD topic never mentions side effects of mobile phones.
    3)Thirdly, one must know that all the diseases that come as a result of excessive mobile phone usage usage can also develop in much shorter duration(than the span of prolonged usage of cell phones or airpods). If you spend two days among the crackers bursting during Diwali then you can even get a heart attack. I bet, airpods cannot do the amount of harm the loudspeakers and crackers do in the two days of Diwali celebration. How many people are listed as patients of heart attacks from airpods or headsets? But such celebrations may even cause heart failures. This is something to think about.

  • #578518
    I agree with Venkit Sir, that it is wise to take precautions and that is why one should always listen to airpods with the safety limit. The safety limit is not something to brush aside. It is set by the company after conducting lot of biological experiments.
    Speaking of biological experiments, let me mention that Wisconsin medical college conducted experiments over various wireless technologies and mentioned that Apple airpods are not carcinogenic just few days back . They mentioned that in the past, experiments were conducted on mammals to see the effects of electromagnetic radiation for prolonged hours. These rays were stronger than the radiations of a high end multimedia based mobile phone. But even that did not succeed in resulting any cancer exposure in such mammals. Therefore, their report says that since airpods emit 100 times lesser electromagnetic radiation than the phones itself, they will generate no risk of cancer. They concluded by saying that this theory of cancer exposure from mobiles is a myth. So, you will have rule out the term "possible carcinogen" until there is any factual proof is there, which isn't so far.
    I think I have made my point.

  • #578529
    (As I may not be able to log in tomorrow I would like to conclude my discussion now.)
    1. The title of discussion is: Health issues of using Apple AirPods and possible side effects . Let me underline the word 'possible'. What we can now say is that there is possibility. We can neither say it is impossible nor we can say that it 'will'. There is not enough research on the matter. Even if done, it may take long years and large number of volunteers or victims to say for sure. So that is not conclusive now.

    2. As there is no conclusive verdict for this side or that side, the best is to be cautious and prudent. That is because we have a general knowledge that radiations cause harm. Even the useful medical X -rays also can cause harm. The photographic effect on films(before digital photography) was amply demonstrating that invisible rays can affect materials and cause chemical changes. Body after all is a pool of many thousand chemicals.

    3. Radiation impact can be reduced using the following precautions:
    (a) keep distance or keep the device away from body as far as possible
    (b) use some shield or cover to block or dilute the energy level
    (c) use for very little time as possible

    4. The health hazards in the case of AirPods are not just due to radiation.
    There are possibilities of hearing capacity affecting. There can be chances of infections or swelling due to allergy, humidity and friction and lack of ventilation and hygiene.

    5. There is also an indirect benefit also in AirPods. As it is fixed in ear, the need of keeping the mobile phone or main device close to ear or head is reduced. As the radiation of mobile or main device will be more than the AirPod, the radiation effects can be less and AirPods, in that regard are helping body get lesser radiation exposure.

    6. Humanity cannot go back or become retrograde. Modernity has to be accepted as inevitable. Hence Apple AirPods also may be welcomed and become hugely popular. But when we are in doubt, let us choose the less harmful alternative or prudent precaution. So take a relook at clause 3 (a),(b) and (c) and ,

    Go ahead.

    Let us keep faith on ourselves and work sincerely, not leave everything to fate.

  • #578580
    Let me conclude my contribution to the GD by following remarks -

    1. AirPods are not an integral part of iPhone7. Instead, it is an accessory to be bought separately on payment basis. iPhone7 will come with a pair of wired earbuds called EarPods which can be plugged into the Lightning port at the bottom of the phone. Thus the users may or may not go for AirPods.

    2. The possible harmful effect, if any, of using earphones on ears is totally different from the possible harmful effects of the radiofrequency on the brain due to the use of a radiation emitting device like AirPods. The two should not be confused as seen from the responses of a participant above.

    3. As the saying goes - 'there is no smoke without a fire'. Therefore, it seems prudent to accept that there are hazards of using devices like AirPods. Attempting to win a contest by demanding statics of people killed or maimed is totally different from creating awareness about the possible hazards and taking preemptive precautions.

    4. I believe that the world renowned companies like Apple Inc. will not simply introduce a product with potential harm to the people for earning money. Their step of introducing AirPods in the market is likely to have well been supported by adequate research and therefore AirPods should not be regarded as something which causes an imminent danger to the users.

    5. It appears wiser to take due precautions even in absence of data. The best policy may be to use the mobile phone devices for a minimum essential duration and that too by using wired earphones or using speakerphones etc., instead of tempting to flaunt AirPods as a newly acquired modern gadget.

    Let us encourage each other in sharing knowledge.

  • #578586
    According to the FDA and the World Health Organization (WHO), among other organizations, to date,scientific evidence has not effectively linked exposure to radio frequency energy emitted from mobile devices with any known health problems. But, it is better to take appropriate precautions as follows,
    1)Use a speakerphone, earpiece or headset to reduce proximity to the head (and thus exposure). While wired earpieces may conduct some energy to the head and wireless earpieces also emit a small amount of RF energy, both wired and wireless earpieces remove the greatest source of RF energy (the cell phone) from proximity to the head and thus can greatly reduce total exposure to the head.
    2)Increase the distance between wireless devices and your body.
    3)Consider texting rather than talking - but don't text while you are driving.
    Thus, the above rule applies for all wireless devices in general and not just the Apple Airpods, with their modern technological hardware capability.

    "If things go wrong, don’t go with them"

  • #578599
    I agree that "there is no smoke without fire". It is the effort of causing a smoke(which can cause an eventual fire of rumors) much more hazardous than just bluntly opposing a particular product without having scientific basis, as seen in some discussions above.
    The argument regarding winning a contest is very childish, when someone doesn't have a positive point in arguing. This attempt is so faulty that I am moving on with my points pertinent to the discussion.
    The main theme of this GD is to discuss the potential side effects of using airpods made by Apple. Some participants took this as declaring the airpods as health hazards. You must understand that there is a difference between potential side effects and health hazards like cancer or tumor. Being a scientist I would look for proof. Since the airpods are new in the market, how do we get the right to correlate them with cancer forming agents. The statistics mentioned by most people have cited mobile phones, and not earphones or airpods as potential carcinogen(that may or may not be proved right years down the line). So why put the airpods created by Apple in a health hazard category?
    Again, how can you even argue something to be right, when the potential proof of it won't come until many years in the future?
    How can we disregard the scientists proving that there is no carcinogenic effect of electromagnetic radiation of a much higher dose than produced by mobile phones?
    Let me clear one thing for few persons who misunderstood the word statistics, and also have misspelled it as statics that, statistics of potential health hazard conditions of patients does not only mean the list of killed people. The statistics I meant, is given by renowned and reliable health organizations on the patients enlisted for any kind of(small to big) health issues) only and solely due to the extensive use of earphones or headsets or airpods.
    Lastly, please refer to my response #578506 for the actual side effects cited by doctors all over the world solely for using earphones and headsets for long hours and #578512 for what you should do to avoid it. One more point to avoid the side effects of headphones or airpods is to not use it at a stretch for more than 3-4 hours a day.

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