Bluetooth hearing devices

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Prolonged exposure to loud noise can lead to permanent hearing damage. Always keep the volume as soft as possible and keep the sound pressure level as low as possible when using the loudspeaker for a long time. Headsets can output sound with a high volume and high tones. Exposure to such sounds can lead to a permanent hearing loss. The volume may vary depending on the circumstances, such as the phone you are using, the reception, volume settings and their environment. Which safety guidelines could you follow before using a headset? And the recurring question, does blue-tooth radiation damage your brain cells?

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Safety guidelines for your hearing

Go through the following steps before using a headset:

  • Before listening to the headset, turn the volume knob to the lowest level.
  • Then turn on the headset.
  • Then adjust the volume control slowly to a comfortable level.
  • Keep the volume as low as possible and avoid using the headset in noisy environments where you are more likely to turn up the volume.
  • If a higher volume is required, adjust the volume knob slowly.
  • If you experience an unpleasant feeling or a ringing sound in your ears, stop using your headset immediately. Visit a doctor.

With prolonged use at a high volume, your ears can become accustomed to the sound level. This can lead to permanent hearing damage without feeling anything from it.

Using the headset while driving a motor vehicle, motorcycle, boat or bicycle can be dangerous and is prohibited in some countries. Observe the applicable local legislation. Be careful when using your headset for activities that require your full attention. In such activities, keep the headset away from your ears or switch off your headset so that you do not get distracted and avoid accidents or injury.

Bluetooth safety

Of course, you want to know if Bluetooth is safe. For the safety of using you have to look at two things. The transmission power and the security of the connection. Let’s start with the first.

Transmission power (radiation)

Here the question arises: Is the use of Bluetooth devices safe for your health? I have read that channels can pose a health hazard?
The transmission power of, for example, a Bluetooth headset, which is close to your head, is so low that no measurable consequences for your health have been measured.

Research is carried out regularly by various organizations around the world on the health effects of radio stations on public health. This concerns the influence of both heavier transmitters used in telecommunications and transmitters in consumer electronics, including mobile phones, WiFi and Bluetooth. Research has shown that high transmit powers that cause high electromagnetic field strength can heat the human body. In order to prevent unnecessary warming, norms have been drawn up for both citizens and employees who deal with transmitting installations professionally. To go further into this phenomenon, we need some simple physics.

Distance

In case of a radiating antenna that emits its transmitting power approximately spherically, the amount of electromagnetic radiation decreases, with the square of the distance to the antenna. This means that the further you are removed from a transmitter, the less you are exposed to electromagnetic radiation.

Transmission power

The transmission power of a device is a measure of the amount of electromagnetic radiation emitted via the antenna. The transmission power is indicated in Watt (W) or milliWatt (mW) 1,000 milliWatt = 1 Watt. The transmission power of the different devices can vary widely. Also, the distance to your head, one of the most vulnerable parts of the human body, is often not the same.

A comparison of transmission power.

  • A smartphone gives a maximum power of about 1 Watt
  • A WiFi router or WiFi transmitter in a Laptop gives a transmission power of up to 100 mW
  • A Bluetooth Class 2 headset has a maximum transmit power of 2.5 mW.
  • A Bluetooth class 3 headset gives a maximum transmit power of 1 mW.

Conclusion:

Do blue-tooth radiation damage your brain cells? – A lot less than keeping your smartphone close to your head.

We can assume that the distance to the head with a Bluetooth headset and a mobile phone is about the same. The transmission power of a Bluetooth headset is a lot lower up to 2.5 mW = 0.0025 Watt at class 2 and 1 mW at class 3, compared to the 1 Watt of a mobile phone.

For Bluetooth class 2: 1 W / 0.0025 W = 400 times less radiation load
For bluetooth class 3: 1 W / 0.001 W = 1000 times less radiation load.

Bluetooth devices

 

Bluetooth Security of the connection

Another aspect of safety is the security of the connection and tracking by third parties. By security, I mean that connection cannot be listened to. By tracking, I mean that you can be followed by third parties such as advertisers in, for example, shops with a switched-on Bluetooth device.

Bluetooth Encryption

Encryption is a technique to make data unreadable and unusable for someone else. The latest models, Bluetooth version 2.1 and higher, do have a default encryption key. In the past, a number of security holes have been found in the Bluetooth system that has been fixed. With version 4.2 a great deal of attention has been paid to stronger and better security. For normal use, Bluetooth is safe to use on a daily basis. If you still have doubts, turn off your Bluetooth connection on both your smartphone or computer and your Bluetooth speaker or headset after use.

Bluetooth tracking

A much less familiar topic is the tracking of Bluetooth devices. A device that is switched on regularly sends a signal to check whether another device with which it is paired is nearby. The device identifies itself with a so-called MAC address. A MAC address is not only used for Bluetooth but is also used with WiFi and wired internet connections. In principle, a device can be identified on the basis of the MAC address. This is relatively easy with Bluetooth. Your smartphone Bluetooth MAC address can be used to map your movements and repeated visits in shops and public buildings. In order to prevent this, a function has been built into the Bluetooth 4.0 specifications that allow the device to change MAC address regularly. In this way, your privacy is much better protected. If you have WiFi on your smartphone, you can be tracked via the WiFi Mac address of your smartphone or laptop. This is more accurate than via the phone signal, but less accurately than via Bluetooth. Do not forget that you can also be tracked via the signal from a smartphone. Telephone companies can see where you are located, although that is a lot less accurate than via Bluetooth or WiFi.

Tracking possibilities of smartphone signals

  • Smartphone signal: At street level by the telephone company
  • WiFi: By anyone with the right equipment and with an accuracy of several tens of meters, so say on building level.
  • Bluetooth: Equipment lower than version 4, for everyone with the right equipment, with an accuracy of a few meters, so approximately on shelf level in a store.

Bluetooth equipment with version 4 or higher, tracking only possible for a short time, without your permission. This can be done via an app of a store chain in which this function is activated.
If you want to be sure that you are not being tracked, switch your phone to airplane mode, or just leave it at home.

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