Can Headphones Cause Hair Loss? Grave Warning Signs!

As someone who loves listening to music and podcasts, I often find myself wondering: does wearing headphones damage hair? People say that headphones cause hair loss, but is there any truth to it?

Baldness is often seen as the “Achilles’ heel” of one’s appearance, causing many to worry about anything that could potentially lead to hair loss. The idea that headphones could be contributing to this issue might make you want to pull your hair out in frustration.

But before you toss your headphones aside in panic, let’s examine this issue and determine if there’s any truth to this hair-raising concern.

In this comprehensive article, we’ll delve into:

  • The potential for headphones to harm your hair or accelerate baldness
  • Uncovering the link between headphones and hair loss
  • Decoding the reasons behind headphone-induced hair damage
  • Practical tips on preventing hair loss caused by headphones

Let’s get into it and find out if our beloved headphones secretly sabotage hair health!

Do Headphones Cause Hair Loss?

First, let’s address the elephant in the room: Do headphones cause hair loss? The short answer is no, headphones don’t cause hair loss (not directly).

However, they can contribute to conditions leading to hair thinning or balding.

Stressing about hair loss from headphones is substantially worse for your hair than the headsets themselves.

On top of that, localized hair loss or patchy hair loss isn’t the result of headphones but rather due to an autoimmune disease that makes your immune system attack hair follicles, called alopecia areata as pointed out by American Academy of Dermatology.

Hair loss from excessive traction applied to hair (Uzuncakmak TK et al. Trichotillomania and Traction Alopecia – Hair and Scalp DisordersCC BY 3.0)

Traction alopecia is much like the delicate balance we strive for in audio engineering—sometimes, it’s a temporary setback, while other times, it can cause lasting damage. You see, the severity and duration of the hair strain can determine whether the hair follicles will recover or suffer permanent damage.

Can Gaming Headsets Cause Hair Loss?

As a gamer, I know the importance of a comfortable and immersive gaming experience. But can gaming headsets make you lose hair? Again, the answer is no.

Gaming headsets, like other headphones, can contribute to traction alopecia and damaged hair if worn extensively.

Can Bluetooth Headphones Cause Hair Loss?

Now, you might be thinking, “What about Bluetooth headphones? Can they cause hair loss?” The answer is still no. Bluetooth headphones, like regular headphones, don’t directly cause hair loss.

The wireless aspect of Bluetooth headphones isn’t associated with any health risk, does not cause cancer, nor hair loss.

It doesn’t change that they still apply pressure on the hair and scalp. They can still contribute to the abovementioned issues, such as traction alopecia and damaged hair. Therefore, the same tips for preventing hair damage from regular headphones also apply to Bluetooth headphones.

Sporty man wearing behind-the-head headphones

And no, bone-conduction headphones don’t cause hair loss.

Bone conduction headphones, which transmit sound through vibrations on the skull rather than through the ears, have a thin headband and, therefore, a small contact surface. Like traditional headphones, they typically do not pull or apply pressure to the hair or scalp.

However, if you are concerned about headphones harming or denting your hair or style, consider purchasing true wireless or behind-the-neck headphones.

The Relationship Between Headphones and Balding

The relationship between headphones and balding has been a topic of curiosity for many.

Woman wearing headphones over beanie

However, it is essential to note that there aren’t studies and research about headphones causing hair loss. Wearing headphones is just like wearing a hat—it doesn’t directly lead to balding, hair loss, or stop hair growth.

Correlation, Not Causation

You can lose hair for various reasons. Sometimes, the connection between headphones and balding may be a case of correlation, not causation.

Factors affecting your hair cycles—such as genetics and hormones, significantly impact hair growth. Telogen effluvium, a condition causing temporary hair loss due to premature follicle resting, can result from stress, hormonal changes, or nutritional deficiencies.

Hair Growth Cycle & Telogen Effluvium

To better understand hair growth, let’s look at the stages of hair growth and their scientific explanations:

AnagenThe active growth stage of hair follicles, lasting 2-7 years, determines maximum hair length. About 85-90% of hairs are in this phase.
CatagenA 2-3 week transitional stage where hair follicles shrink, growth slows, and the hair bulb detaches. About 1-2% of hairs are in this phase.
TelogenA 3-4 month resting stage where hair follicles are inactive, and hair strands are fully formed but not growing. About 10-15% of hairs are in this phase.
ExogenThe shedding stage, part of the telogen phase, where a person sheds 50-100 hairs per day. This is a normal part of the hair growth cycle.
Summarizing the four stages of the hair growth cycle.

Likely, increased headphone use coincided with hair loss, but it’s actually due to your hair growth cycle and other factors.

Hair Pulling

With regards to headphones and traction alopecia, once you pull your hair by your root, the hair bulb comes out, and a new one must form for the hair to grow back.

If done repeatedly, more hair follicles will be in the Exogen phase and will have to regenerate, leading to a higher percentage of hair shedding and potentially noticeable hair loss.
Hair pulling from traction alopecia or trichotillomania (By stuartpilbrow at Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0)

Don’t worry, though; hair usually grows back after hair pulling. Regrowth depends on follicle trauma severity; minimal damage doesn’t stop regrowth, while extensive harm may cause permanent loss.

Preventing Hair Loss from Headphone Use

Wearing headphones for extended periods can lead to headphone hair—a phenomenon where hair flattens or parts unnaturally due to constant pressure. In some cases, it even leads to hair loss.

To avoid this issue, it’s essential to understand the causes of headphone-related hair loss and implement the practical hair care tips at the bottom of the article.

Headphones are often blamed for causing hair loss, but it’s essential to understand that headphones don’t cause hair loss directly.

There are multiple types of hair loss, and headphones might contribute to a specific kind—traction hair loss.

Headphone hair loss as a result of traction alopecia occurs due to constant pulling or pressure on hair follicles, which can be exacerbated by tight headbands or strong clamping force.

Factors Contributing to Hair Loss from Headphones

  • Traction Alopecia: This is a type of hair loss caused by constant pulling or tension on the hair follicles. Wearing headphones for extended periods can put pressure on the hair and scalp, potentially leading to traction alopecia over time.
  • Frictional Alopecia: Constant rubbing of headphones against your scalp and hair can cause friction, which may lead to hair breakage and thinning. This especially applies to people with brittle, fragile, or weak hair.
  • Sweat and oil buildup: Wearing headphones with a wide, self-adjusting cushion or leather headband can cause sweat and dirt to accumulate on your scalp, which may clog hair follicles and lead to increased hair shedding. Headphones causing rashes are also a result of sweat and scalp irritations.
    Wide headband headphones can make the scalp greasy and sweaty.
    Pressure on hair follicles: Prolonged pressure from headphones on the scalp and hair follicles can potentially weaken the hair roots and lead to hair loss. This is more likely to happen if you wear tight or heavy headphones for extended periods.
  • Allergic reactions: Certain people can experience allergic reactions to toxic headphone materials like Nickel, Acrylates, or leather production metals, causing skin irritation, inflammation, and scalp itching, potentially leading to hair loss and even. It’s also important to be aware of safety concerns with beryllium drivers in some high-end headphones.
  • Heat and humidity: Prolonged headphone use can generate a warm, damp scalp, promoting bacterial and fungal growth, potentially leading to infections, inflammation, itching, and hair fall if unaddressed.

Blood Flow

Headphones don’t impede scalp blood flow, disproving hair loss myths. However, they can cause oil accumulation, hinder hair breathability, and result in dry scalp or dandruff, potentially contributing to hair loss.

Even if headphones would affect blood flow (or “Bludflow” as Haircafe refers to it), several reasons negate any concern:

  1. The blood flow theory causing hair loss is unsubstantiated; Androgenic Alopecia-induced permanent hair loss stems from hair miniaturization due to elevated DHT activity, not a nutrient deficiency.
  2. The body can adjust to minor blood flow changes, ensuring adequate circulation, including the scalp.
  3. Muscle and scalp tension not affecting blood flow; similarly, scalp massages’ impact on hair growth is inconclusive.
Scalp massage doesn’t improve hair growth after 24 weeks (Koyama et al., Standardized Scalp Massage Results in Increased Hair Thickness by Inducing Stretching Forces to Dermal Papilla Cells in the Subcutaneous Tissue. 2016)

Throughout the 24-week study period, hair growth rate showed no significant difference between the massage and control areas.


The factors you should worry about when you wear headphones are traction hair loss and dirty headphones. The dangers of headphones to ears unfortunately extend beyond hair loss concerns; hearing damage, Tinnitus, infections, earwax buildup, headaches, and even vertigo are potential risks associated with headphone use.

It’s crucial to know how headphones can cause hair loss, but understanding the mechanisms of headphone-induced ear damage is even more vital for overall health.

And if you don’t know why headphones cause ear pain, we got a guide for. Also, it’s important to remember that prevention is better than cure, so don’t turn a blind eye to these potential issues.

Tips for Preventing Hair Damage from Headphones

To avoid hair loss potentially linked to headphone use, and promote healthy hair growth, consider these tips:

  • Loosen the headband: A tight headband can cause undue stress on hair follicles—opt for a looser fit; this also prevents hair damage and minimizes hair denting.
  • Clean your headphones: Regularly sanitize your headphones, headband, and earpads to prevent the buildup of bacteria and oils that can clog hair follicles. Conversely, in-ear headphones can cause Tinnitus due to ear infections, fluid buildup, and earwax blockage.
  • Take breaks: Give your scalp time to breathe by removing your headphones every hour. This will also benefit your ear health and prevent hearing loss.
  • Choose lightweight, over-ear headphones with a comfy, adjustable headband, or use earbuds or in-ear headphones.
Guy removing headphones gently to avoid hair entanglement

When taking off your headphones, do it slowly and gently to avoid pulling or snagging your hair. If your hair gets caught, untangle it instead of yanking the headphones off. Also, pull on the earcups to create more space before removing the headphones to minimize hair contact.

Not all hairstyles allow for practical headphone use

Some hairstyles are more prone to traction alopecia can make it easier for headphones to pull your hair and cause hair damage and hair loss. Avoid tight hairstyles like ponytails, braids, or buns while wearing headphones, as these can put additional stress on your hair and scalp.


In conclusion, while headphones don’t directly cause hair loss, they can contribute to certain conditions that may lead to hair thinning or balding.

The concern of hair falling out due to headphones is not entirely unfounded. While it may not be a widespread issue, there have been instances of hair damage attributed to headphones.

The constant friction and pressure from headphone bands can potentially lead to hair breakage and thinning. Nonetheless, various effective methods can minimize hair damage caused by headphones, benefiting numerous individuals.