Can Constantly Using Earbuds Cause Vertigo or Dizziness?

When we are alone in the house, traveling or walking down the street, listening to songs using our dear wireless Bluetooth earbuds is one of the things that can help us escape from reality.Even though using your wireless headphones to listen to music can be fun, have you ever thought of what can happen if you plug them in your ears for a long time or use them constantly? Have you ever thought if their good side is more or their bad side is more? In this article, I am going to show you if using earbuds constantly can cause vertigo or not.

What Is Vertigo Or Dizziness? 

Vertigo can be referred to a sense of feeling off balance or dizziness. An individual with vertigo will have a sense that their surrounding environment or head is spinning or moving. It is often associated with a range of health conditions in the sensory nerve pathway, brain or inner ear. Also, it can be long-term and temporary, and it can happen to anybody at any age.

What Are The Symptoms Of Vertigo? 

There are many symptoms that can accompany vertigo these includes pull to one direction, tilting, spinning, unbalanced, sweating, headache, jerking of the eye, and sweating. It can also be accompanied by vomiting, a feeling of fullness in the ear, and feeling nauseated. These symptoms can vary from one person to another. Also, they can last for a few minutes, hours or more.

Types of Vertigo   

The types of vertigo available depend on the cause. Vertigo types are peripheral vertigo and central vertigo.

  • Peripheral vertigo – it is the type of vertigo that occurs in the inner ear. Peripheral vertigo happens when the balance organs of the inner ear are disturbed. 
  • Central vertigo – it is the type of vertigo that happens in the parts of the brain. It occurs when one or more part of the brain is disturbed.

What Are The Causes Of Vertigo?

 

Vertigo

 

As mentioned earlier, vertigo can result from different health problems. But the most common causes of vertigo are the ones caused by the problems in the inner ear. These are:

  • Vestibular neuronitis – This is usually caused by a viral infection which causes inflammation of the vestibular nerve that is important in helping your body maintain balance. Vertigo resulting from this can last for more than an hour or more. 
  • Labyrinthitis – There is a nerve called vestibulocochlear within the inner ear labyrinth that is responsible for sound, and the motion and position of the head. The inflammation of the nerve and the inner ear labyrinth which usually result from a viral infection is what causes labyrinthitis.   
  • Meniere’s disease – This result from changing pressure and the buildup of fluid in the ear. It can cause ringing in the ear, hearing loss, and vertigo. 
  • Cholesteatoma – This often occurs as a result of repeated infection. Cholesteatoma is when the skin grows in the middle ear. The increase in growth can lead to dizziness, hearing loss, and it can also damage the ear. 
  • BPPV – This is called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. It happens when there is a buildup of tiny calcium particles in the inner ear canals.

What Is The Connection Between Vertigo And Earbuds?    

So far, you have known what vertigo or dizziness is, their symptoms, and causes. But how are they connected with using your best wireless earbuds? Plugging earbuds constantly into your ears and cranking up the volume of your music player or wireless earbuds can injure the mechanism which includes hair and nerves inside your ear. There are times that most of us feel like the environment around us is rotating after altering the place of our head. If you are very observant or you pay close attention to this feeling you will notice that it often occurs after listening to loud music and unplugging your Bluetooth earbuds.

Loud noise from the wireless earbuds with mic can cause a disturbance in the ear. The disturbance can cause damage to the nerves in the ears, and it can also damage hair cells of the ears. When you plug your wireless Bluetooth earbuds and increase the sound, it will bend the hairs that ensure that the brain detects sounds. If this continues constantly, it can destroy many hair cells and nerves in the inner ear. Damaging of the nerves and cells can result in Meniere’s disease, labyrinthitis, Vestibular neuronitis and some other causes of vertigo mentioned above. Additionally, sharing your earbuds with friends or someone else with ear infections and constantly plugging them in your ears can lead to infections that can cause vertigo.

How Do You Stop Vertigo Caused By Earbuds? 

If you experience vertigo while having your best Bluetooth earbuds plugged in your ears there are some few things you can do to overcome it.  

  • Reduce the volume of the sound or turn it off – anytime you are listening to music using your earbuds and feel dizziness or the surrounding environment moving, reduce the volume of the player or wireless headphone immediately. Although, I will advise you to turn the sound off to avoid further disturbance in the ear. 
  • Unplug the wireless Bluetooth earbuds – After switching off the sound, remove the earbuds from your ears. Of course, you might immediately notice your ears ringing. There is nothing to worry about as this will relieve you after a few minutes. 
  • Sit down – Immediately you unplug the wireless earbuds, find somewhere to sit down. Ensure you don’t try to walk around. Vertigo will reduce when you sit down silently. While sitting down, avoid a sudden change in body position, and abrupt head movement. Also, avoid looking up. If all these can be avoided, vertigo will be alleviated in no time. Additionally, to prevent injuries that can occur from falling, it is advisable that you lie down on your side. 
  • Consult a medical professional – Normally, vertigo caused by wireless Bluetooth earbuds does go away after a few minutes or hours. But if it does not go away and you notice severe symptoms of vertigo it is the best you consult a doctor.

Additionally, there are some tips that can help keep you safe when experiencing vertigo or dizziness caused by earbuds.

  • Do not drive or operate dangerous machines when feeling dizzy
  • If you experience vertigo while driving and there is no one beside you unplug the Bluetooth earbuds immediately, reduce your speed, and find a place to park your car. Relax and don’t try to stand up or get out of the car. Wait till vertigo as reduced and continue your journey.
  • If you can’t find a seat where you are and don’t want to sit down or lie down on the ground, you can lean on the wall, tree or pole without changing your position suddenly. Just ensure your earbuds are not plugged in your ears.
  • Do not plug back your Bluetooth earbuds. This is one of the mistakes most people make after been relieved of dizziness or vertigo. It is advisable that you don’t make use of the earbuds again for that day. Using it and playing a loud sound after the previous dizziness has been alleviated might result in more severe vertigo.   

How to Prevent Earbud-Related Vertigo from Occurring

The ways to prevent vertigo from occurring are avoiding the constant use of wireless earbuds and listening to your favorite music in high volume. Once you can put the proximity of your ear to sound, duration of exposure, and volume of the earbuds or music player to check, you will be able to prevent vertigo caused by earbuds. It is recommended that you set the volume of your device to 75dB. Any volume between 110dB to 140dB can result in hearing loss.  Also, try not to share your best Bluetooth earbuds with people. You never know if the person you are sharing it with has ear infections which can result in dizziness.  

Additionally, there are some other methods that may help with vertigo caused by Bluetooth earbuds. These methods are specialized exercises such as Brandt-Daroff exercise, Epley maneuver, and Semont maneuver.

For the Brandt-Daroff exercise:    

  • Sit in an upright position
  • Then change into a lying position. This should be done by lying down on one side with your head in an upward direction at up to 45-degree angle. This step should be done on both sides. Do one side and do the other side after finishing with the first side
  • You can maintain this position until vertigo reduces or for about 30 seconds
  • Stand up and return to an upright sitting position

For the Epley maneuver:

  • Sit in your bed uprightly and turn your head to the side of the affected ear. The turning should be around 45-degrees
  • Lie down on the bed slowly and lower your head by putting it off the edge of the bed slightly. Once you are able to maintain this position, keep it for 30 seconds.
  • Turn your head to the other side slowly and keep the position for 30 seconds. After this time, turn your entire body to where your head is facing currently and turn your head to ensure you are facing down the bed. Maintain the position for 30 seconds.
  • Sit up on the edge of your bed slowly to until you attain an upright position.

For the Semont maneuver

  • Sit at the edge of the bed and maintain an upright position.
  • Turn your head to the side that has the affected ear and ensure a 45-degrees position is maintained
  • Lie down on your side immediately and face the direction of the affected side for about one minute
  • While still maintaining the direction of your head, switch to the other side quickly. Hold the position for one minute
  • After this, go back to the upright sitting position slowly and use 10 minutes to keep your head level.

  Take note that you might need to consult a doctor to ensure you are doing the exercise right.

How Long Should You Use Your Wireless Earbuds To Avoid Vertigo? 

I have mentioned it before that plugging your wireless Bluetooth earbuds into your ears for long can cause vertigo. But how long is too long? According to an osteopathic pediatrician, Dr. James E. Foy, as a rule of thumb, you should maintain the maximum sound level of 60 percent for a total of 60 minutes per day. It means the higher the volume of the sound coming from your wireless earbuds the shorter the time of using it should be in a day. Also, if you maintain a sound level of less than 60 percent, you can use it more than an hour a day but ensure you minimize the period of use. Additionally, you should make use of your Bluetooth earbuds for only about five minutes if your device is at the maximum level.

Final Words

So, can constantly using earbuds cause vertigo or dizziness? Of course, yes! Whether you are using the best wireless earbuds or Bluetooth headphones, the key to avoiding vertigo or dizziness is moderation. Avoid listening to sounds from your wireless Bluetooth earbuds at the highest volume and also avoid its excessive use. If you can prevent excessive noise and use from earbuds, you will go a long way in preventing vertigo.