Fact Check: Can using earphones/earbuds cause facial paralysis?

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Are earphones bad for human health?
No. If a person uses earphones properly and for limited timeframe then they do not pose any threat to human health. excessive use of anything is bad for human health. There can be some temporary side effects but earphones usage do not cause facial paralysis.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Quick Take

A social media post claims that the excessive use of earphones/earbuds can cause facial paralysis. We fact-checked and found this claim to be False.

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The Claim

A Facebook reel alerting the viewers not to use earphones/earbuds for a long time. The video displays the chiropractic doctor displaying a case of a patient who purportedly is suffering from facial paralysis due to excessive earphone usage. The video gained massive viewership and around 86.3k likes and 95k shares until last checked. 

earphone claim

Fact Check

Does the use of earphones/earbuds cause facial paralysis?

No. There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that the use of earphones or earbuds can cause facial paralysis. Bell’s palsy is the most common type of facial paralysis, and its exact cause is unknown, but it is not thought to be related to the use of earphones or earbuds, rather is believed to be caused by inflammation that affects the body’s immune system.

Neurologist

Dr Debayan Dutta, MBBS, DM (Neurology), MD (Internal Medicine); Neurologist at Apollo Multi-speciality Hospital, Kolkata states, “Facial paralysis is usually caused by damage to the facial nerve which starts its journey inside the brain and then traversing intricately through the middle ear to emerge out deep beneath the cheek or mastoid region to control the facial muscles of one side. Prolonged use of headphones can not directly cause facial paralysis and this claim is false as I’ve mentioned above the facial nerve lies deep inside the cartilageous part of the external ear and is unlikely to get damaged unless severe force is applied outside the ear. Traumatic facial nerve injury is usually caused by fractures of the underlying bone or the ear. Headphones or in-the-ear earbuds on the other hand lie at an anatomically distant position and are quite unlikely to cause facial paralysis unless it is used for prolonged hours in an ill-fitted manner.”

Some people may have experienced facial twitching or numbness after using earphones or earbuds for long periods of time. This is likely due to the pressure of the earphones or earbuds on the facial nerves. However, these symptoms are temporary and do not pose a serious risk.

Dr. Priyajeet Panigrahi, MBBS, DNB, MNAMS

ENT Specialist Dr Priyajeet Panigrahi, MBBS, DNB, and MNAMS cleared this and stated, “This is absolutely false. The facial nerve is located deep in the tragal cartilage which is the small part of the external ear located anteriorly. But unless there is enough external force or pressure  causing the earbud to press the tragus very deep and traumatize the facial nerve that can cause facial palsy can not be ruled out.”

Remember, using earphones or earbuds in and of itself is not a direct cause of facial paralysis. However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind when using these devices:

  • Volume and Hearing Protection: Listening to music or audio at high volumes through earphones or earbuds for extended periods can lead to hearing damage, but it does not directly cause facial paralysis.
  • Ear Infections: Prolonged unhygienic use of earphones or earbuds could potentially increase the risk of ear infections, which may lead to ear pain but not facial paralysis.
  • Comfort and Fit: It’s essential to ensure that your earphones or earbuds fit comfortably and do not cause any undue pressure on your ears or face. Prolonged pressure or discomfort could lead to discomfort or pain but is unlikely to result in facial paralysis.

If you experience sudden facial weakness or paralysis, it is essential to seek medical attention promptly. It could be due to an underlying medical condition or injury, and early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for the best possible outcome. However, the use of earphones or earbuds, when used safely and responsibly, is not a known cause of facial paralysis.

How using earphones are harmful to health?

Using earphones is not harmful per se but incorrect and longer use can sometimes harm. The side effects could be as follows:

  • Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL): The most serious risk associated with using such devices is NIHL. This is a permanent hearing loss that can be caused by exposure to loud noise. The louder the noise, the shorter the amount of time it takes to cause hearing loss. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that you keep the volume of your headphones below 85 decibels (dB) for a 1-hour period.
  • Tinnitus. It is a ringing or buzzing sound in the ears that can be caused by exposure to loud noise. Headphones and earphones can be a major trigger for tinnitus.
  • Pressure damage: Earphones can create a seal in the ear canal, which can increase the pressure inside the ear. This can lead to pain and discomfort, and in some cases, it can damage the eardrum.
  • Skin irritation: Headphones and earphones can irritate the skin of the ear canal. This is more likely to happen if you wear headphones for long periods of time or if you use headphones that are not made of a soft, comfortable material.

Some people also believe that Bluetooth headphones cause cancer. THIP Media found it to be False.

Dr Panigrahi states, “The use of headphones or earphones is harmful to the ear in the following conditions 

A. Using high-volume music for long duration can cause permanent hearing loss.

B. Using hard material earbuds without a soft cover for a long duration causes severe pain in the ear canal. 

C. Using it will hinder normal voice from the surroundings, which can be dangerous in traffic causing accidents.”

What precautions should be followed while using earphones/earbuds? 

The following precautions should be followed while using headphones:

  • Keep the volume low.
  • Avoid using them for long periods of time.
  • Use noise-cancelling earphones/earbuds to reduce the amount of noise that you are exposed to, which can help to protect your hearing.
  • Choose over-ear headphones over in-ear headphones.
  • Clean your headphones regularly. 
  • Do not share your earbuds with other people. 
  • If you experience any pain or discomfort, stop using your headphones. If you experience any pain or discomfort in your ears while using headphones, stop using them immediately. See a doctor if the pain or discomfort does not go away.

THIP Media has already fact-checked similar claims around gadgets such as wearing headphones increases bacteria growth in the ear and radiation from Apple AirPods is dangerous.

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Disclaimer
Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Dr. Shikha Shiromani
Dr. Shikha Shiromani
A dental surgeon by education and medical writer by profession, Shikha is responsible for research and fact-check.

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Are earphones bad for human health?
No. If a person uses earphones properly and for limited timeframe then they do not pose any threat to human health. excessive use of anything is bad for human health. There can be some temporary side effects but earphones usage do not cause facial paralysis.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Are earphones bad for human health?
No. If a person uses earphones properly and for limited timeframe then they do not pose any threat to human health. excessive use of anything is bad for human health. There can be some temporary side effects but earphones usage do not cause facial paralysis.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Are earphones bad for human health?
No. If a person uses earphones properly and for limited timeframe then they do not pose any threat to human health. excessive use of anything is bad for human health. There can be some temporary side effects but earphones usage do not cause facial paralysis.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Are earphones bad for human health?
No. If a person uses earphones properly and for limited timeframe then they do not pose any threat to human health. excessive use of anything is bad for human health. There can be some temporary side effects but earphones usage do not cause facial paralysis.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Are earphones bad for human health?
No. If a person uses earphones properly and for limited timeframe then they do not pose any threat to human health. excessive use of anything is bad for human health. There can be some temporary side effects but earphones usage do not cause facial paralysis.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

More in

Questions
Fact Check
Interviews
Stories
Videos
Are earphones bad for human health?
No. If a person uses earphones properly and for limited timeframe then they do not pose any threat to human health. excessive use of anything is bad for human health. There can be some temporary side effects but earphones usage do not cause facial paralysis.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Are earphones bad for human health?
No. If a person uses earphones properly and for limited timeframe then they do not pose any threat to human health. excessive use of anything is bad for human health. There can be some temporary side effects but earphones usage do not cause facial paralysis.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Are earphones bad for human health?
No. If a person uses earphones properly and for limited timeframe then they do not pose any threat to human health. excessive use of anything is bad for human health. There can be some temporary side effects but earphones usage do not cause facial paralysis.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Are earphones bad for human health?
No. If a person uses earphones properly and for limited timeframe then they do not pose any threat to human health. excessive use of anything is bad for human health. There can be some temporary side effects but earphones usage do not cause facial paralysis.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Are earphones bad for human health?
No. If a person uses earphones properly and for limited timeframe then they do not pose any threat to human health. excessive use of anything is bad for human health. There can be some temporary side effects but earphones usage do not cause facial paralysis.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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