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Thread: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

  1. #1

    Default Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    Hi I've been using the Jabra BT150 headset for a couple of days now and notice that everytime I use it I get a slight headache. I never use it for more than a couple hours at a time. I'm not sure if it's just me or if the headset is actually contributing to these headaches but it seems that it only develops as I use the headset. Could it be possible? This is the first headset I have ever used so I can't compare it with any other. Anybody else with similar experiences?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    Sorry I don't have an answer for you, but while I use a cell phone a LOT, I do not use a bluetooth head sets. I just cannot get past the idea that the frequency is the same as a microwave oven, and just happens to match the exact spin energy of a water molecule. (2.4 GHz).

    One test would be to try using a corded head set and see if the problem goes away. If you try it, I am interested to see how the test comes out.
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    Flashaholic* nexro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    I use a SE HBH-608 everyday for at least 30min, other times, it stands-by at my ear for at least 2 hours. I do have headaches sometimes (due to other reasons - lack of sleep ) but not when I use the headset. But I do try to avoid using it when I have frequent headaches.
    - nexro

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    Flashaholic* TinderBox (UK)'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    try wearing the headset with it switched off for a while.

    see if just wearing it gives you headaches.

    might be pressure related.

    regards.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    Some possibilities:
    1. RF. While I get headaches from cell phones and many cordless phones, it's almost insulting to call BT power-sipping, it's so weak. Highly unlikely.
    2. Pressure/fit (as Tinderbox suggests). It is possible that it is pressing against some nerves and/or muscles, or blood vessels, or maybe even one of your skull's joints (there are actually sorta-spearate bones there, ya know), causing discomfort.
    3. Sound. BT headsets don't have the bandwidth for standard audio (48kHz/16bit), so compress it. Between a potentially poor-sounding headphone/earbud part, and compression, you might just be getting fatigued listening to it (like bright and clipped music can do over long listening periods).

  6. #6
    Flashaholic*

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    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    Do you wear glasses and does the headset displace them, causing vision problems?
    Do you find you hold your head different than normal with the headset?
    Are you putting pressure on your head while pushing the tiny buttons on it?
    Is the volume too low, causing you to strain at listening?
    Is the volume too high, causing you pain?

    I'm on my third bluetooth headset, they all suck. Can't believe that technology so developed and so widespread can sound so poor.

    daloosh

  7. #7
    *Flashaholic* James S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    I wouldn't worry about the RF either. How many hours does it get on the battery in it? The output is measured in tenths of a watt, you need a couple of hundred watts to heat up water minimum

    The fit or the poor sound is whats giving you a headache. I'm also betting Tinderbox has a good idea. See if it will give you a headache with it turned off. Between the pressure and the sound there are plenty of things to get you. When my son grabs my glasses and gets them bent they will give me a horrible headache while wearing them until i can get them bent back just right again. And some regular wired headphones just kill my ears for some reason. for a short time they are OK, but any longer and it's really bad.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    All I can add is this...

    When I stick my cell phone in my pocket my hip joint gets sore.

    In the winter I use a ski jacket with a radio pocket on the upper arm. When I stick my cell phone in that pocket my shoulder gets sore.

    I also tried a BlueTooth headset. My head felt uncomfortable too, so I switched back to using the wired type and no more wierd head feeling.

    I don't know about the argument that these don't put out much wattage so they're probably not having any effect -- exposure time is relevant too.

    Paranoid or not, and whatever the cause is, I didn't like the way it felt.

    Maybe some people are more sensitive than others, so I avoid those situations. Also, when I'm using my laptop I also turn off its BT & WiFi whenever I'm not using those connections. Why not?
    Peter

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    Flashaholic* greenlight's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    good thing it's not a toothache

  10. #10

    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    Quote Originally Posted by TinderBox (UK)
    try wearing the headset with it switched off for a while.

    see if just wearing it gives you headaches.

    might be pressure related.

    regards.

    Thanks for the suggestion TinderBox. I didn't think of that. I will try it and observe what happens.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    Quote Originally Posted by HarryN
    One test would be to try using a corded head set and see if the problem goes away. If you try it, I am interested to see how the test comes out.

    I did use a corded headset before the BT headset. Although it was way more uncomfortable, I didn't get a headache at all. But my ears sure got tired after a while.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    Quote Originally Posted by James S
    How many hours does it get on the battery in it?

    The fit or the poor sound is whats giving you a headache. I'm also betting Tinderbox has a good idea. See if it will give you a headache with it turned off.
    I haven't gone through the first charge yet but it seems like a lot. Yes that might be possible as well. Will try that. Thanks!

  13. #13

    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    Quote Originally Posted by daloosh
    Do you wear glasses and does the headset displace them, causing vision problems?
    Do you find you hold your head different than normal with the headset?
    Are you putting pressure on your head while pushing the tiny buttons on it?
    Is the volume too low, causing you to strain at listening?
    Is the volume too high, causing you pain?

    I'm on my third bluetooth headset, they all suck. Can't believe that technology so developed and so widespread can sound so poor.

    daloosh
    Hi Daloosh

    Sorry but none of the things you mentioned above applies. I do agree though that BT headsets can still be greatly improved.

  14. #14
    *Flashaholic* James S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    Maybe some people are more sensitive than others
    First you need to not be afraid of the 2.5 ghz band just because it's used in an oven. It's not used in an oven because this is the magic frequency that water vibrates at. The frequency was chosen for ovens because at the time (like in he 40's I think?) the frequency was useless for any other communication needs so it was given over for ovens and other non-regulated things since none of the big players wanted it. It works in an oven because even a small sized one can pump a thousand watts of it into the food!

    The rule on leakage from a microwave oven is no more than 5 milliwatts measured 2 inches from anywhere on the case. That number was chosen because it's hugely under what will cause any heating in anything. Your blue tooth headset is probably a class 2, medium range device meaning that the highest level of power output allowed is 2.5mw. And in reality it's much less as part of the bluetooth handshake the 2 devices figure out how much power they need to talk to each other, and only use that much. So if you're phone is across the room it will output more power than if it's in your pocket.

    The electronics and battery in the phone or headset will put out real measurable heat. There is no heat created by the actual transmitted power. None. Thats not to suggest that you should hang out in radar towers, but your headphone and your cellphone are safe, at least in as much as they wont heat the water molecules in your head.
    -James

    E=sqrt((mc^2)^2+(pc)^2)

  15. #15

    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    Hi James

    Thanks for the detailed explanation. I learned so much from just reading your message.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    I'll take a wild guess as to what might be causing this-the swiching regulator(s) in the headset. These usually operate at an intermediate inaudible frequency in the hundreds of KHz to low MHz range. Though inaudible, the inductors and sometimes MOSFETs still put out sound waves of that frequency. This is what may be causing your headache. The sound waves may vibrate your skull since they are emitted in very close proximity.

    About the cumulative effect of 2.4GHz radiation, I'd say the jury is still out on that one. Man just hasn't been exposed to radiation of that frequency long enough to know all the effects. Note that a signal with a strength of only 1 mW will expose the user to 43.2 joules of energy over the course of 12 hours. It only takes 100 joules of properly channeled energy to kill an average person (of course this is under ideal circumstances). In a year of 12 hour per day exposure to 1 mW radiation you receive a dose of 15,768 joules. This is of the same order of magnitude as the energy in a AA NiMH or an R123 cell. Think about it.
    Last edited by jtr1962; 07-21-2006 at 12:41 AM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    Wow! I'm really not the technical type so all of this is just way beyond me. I don't use the headset that often. Only when I'm driving on a long trip and expect a few calls which is once or twice a week. I still personally think it's still way more dangerous to be fumbling with the phone at 100+ KPH.

    Thanks for the info though.

  18. #18
    *Flashaholic* James S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    About the cumulative effect of 2.4GHz radiation, I'd say the jury is still out on that one
    Thats definitely true. I'm not advocating a devil may care attitude, but there doesn't seem to be anything dangerous at all with regular normal use. Billions of people all over the world have been carrying out an experiment on themselves with HUGE amounts of cellphone usage over the last dozen years. A cellphone puts out a lot more power at your ear than the bt headphone does and at similar frequencies. And so far, with billions people, many of which spend hours and hours on these devices every day not a single study (decent, well done studies at least, plenty of alarmist stuff surfaces and then quickly goes away when people get a look at how they managed their data) of it has been able to find anything caused by it at all. When all this started I avoided cellphones for a few years to see what would happen, and nothing happened. I still dont spend hours and hours on my cell, but when my mom calls while i'm out I dont feel like it's hurting me to talk to her, at least due to the phone

    Your BT headset puts out lots less energy than the cellphone does, and when it's not actually sending data it puts out very little at all. The power output is directly related to the amount of data they are sending out, just sitting there idle waiting for the phone to ring they only send a few bytes every so often to make sure the phone knows it's still there and such. So even if you wear it all day, you're only getting a tiny fraction of that energy transmitted unless you're actually on the phone. (this is why the standby time is so much longer than the talk time, both for phones and headsets)

    So it's actually exposing your brain to less microwave energy to use a low power bt headset to talk to the higher power phone in your pocket. Course, that exposes your pocket to more radiation. Maybe better put the phone on the table in front of you...

    While I would not be on the side of mandatory implantation of blue tooth devices, I just can't see any evidence of any harm that putting one in your ear for some phone conversations would do.
    -James

    E=sqrt((mc^2)^2+(pc)^2)

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* will's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    I was interested in the comment about the mosfet vibrating. I get migraines, fortunately a lot less now that I am a little older. I have always been aware of what would trigger these headaches. The last find was the ultrasonic cleaning tool that dentists use to remove plaque. This tool vibrates the stuff off, and if used on the left corner of my mouth, I would get a 3 day headache. I have them do the entire job without the tool.

    I had one of the early car phones - cell phones - I remember that they said the antennae should not be closer than 2 feet from anyone in the car.

    Lastly - one of the people I worked with complained about headaches when he used a cell phone.

    I often wonder about how safe a lot of the things are that we use on a day to day basis.

    There was a study done of police who used radar guns frequently on the job. Turns out there was an increase in cancer near the areas where they usually held the radar guns. I don't think it was lots and lots of cases, but enough to register.

  20. #20
    *Flashaholic* James S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle 98195.

    Within a cohort of 340 police officers, six incident cases of testicular cancer occurred between 1979 and 1991 (O/E 6.9; p < 0.001, Poisson distribution). Occupational use of hand-held radar was the only shared risk factor among all six officers, and all routinely held the radar gun directly in close proximity to their testicles. Health effects of occupational radar use have not been widely studied, and further research into a possible association with testicular cancer is warranted.
    There are HUGE differences between a radar device and a bt headset of a cellphone. There are 3 bands used by police radar. The earliest was around 10ghz, the most common is 25ghz and new ones are at 35ghz. So even the oldest were a much higher frequency and the most common ones are 10 times the frequency of a blue tooth headset. They are doppler shift sensing devices. Meaning that the output is a constant wave and that reflects off the object you're measuring and the receiver detects the change in frequency that gives the speed of the object it's reflecting from. This means that they put out a decent amount of power, and are constantly transmitting, and in a very narrow beam. I remember reading about the police officers that would hold the guns between their legs pointed at their testicles and thinking how amazingly stupid that was! A headset or cellphone radiates in a big circle, so your exposure in any direction is very low, a radar gun aims all it's power out the front, so you get ALL of it if you're sitting on the thing. The biggest units ever made put out about 100 milliwatts of power, modern ones use 25 or 30mw. So the difference is a 360 radiation pattern where your head intercepts maybe 30% of the radiated power, and your brain is still more than 2 inches from the thing, somebody do the inverse square law calculation on that, with an output of around a milliwatt during an actual phone conversation, vs a police officer sitting on his gun getting a full dose of 100mw (100 times the output even before you take the radiation pattern into account) constantly in his testicles for hours every day waiting for cars to go by to aim the thing at. And even with that huge dose they are still evaluating if a study can be done that would reveal the small increase in incidence. carry that down several orders of magnitude for a bt or cellphone expose and you have something that I doubt will ever be found to have an effect, at least nobody has been able to show that it does yet.

    Nope, I'm still not convinced

    If a police officer couldn't feel his testicles being warmed by a constant hourly bath in 100mw of high freequency MW, you cannot feel your head being warmed by a couple of milliwatts out of which only a fraction is actually absorbed by your head.
    Last edited by James S; 07-21-2006 at 09:26 AM.
    -James

    E=sqrt((mc^2)^2+(pc)^2)

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* will's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    AH - I have no doubt that a cell phone is safer to use than a radar gun. I was an electrican in the Navy - whenever we had to go aloft - up near the radar, we would have to go to every ship within a certain distance and have them secure their radar. Certainly much stronger than a radar gun.

    Yet - I still hear about people who get headaches, and there really is no long term studies covering their use, They just have not been around that long. So - like anything that sends out a signal, no matter how small, caution should be used. And - yes - I have a cell phone, in fact - I will most likely give up my land line.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* Coop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    had the same problem with a jabra bt headset. I replaced it with a logitech mobile freedom headset, which has a earclip thats more comfy on my ear and sits on the ear instead of in it. no more headaches...
    ... Never underestimate the power of human stupidity ...

  23. #23

    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    Quote Originally Posted by MayCooper
    had the same problem with a jabra bt headset.
    Hi MayCooper! What Jabra model were you using? I'm using the BT150.

  24. #24
    Flashaholic* Coop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    I believe it was a BT130...
    ... Never underestimate the power of human stupidity ...

  25. #25

    Default Re: Headache from Bluetooth Headset?

    ok thanks

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