Green circle with question mark inside Most likely or definitely true

Red circle with X insideFalse/misinformation

Gray circle with question mark insideWe’re not sure yet

Change or refine your search

Bluetooth or wireless headphones can cause cancer

What you may have heard

With the introduction and increased use of Bluetooth technology, many people have been concerned about their long-term effects on cancer risk.

What science tells us

Because of the newness of this technology, researchers have not had enough time to study potential correlation between cancer and Bluetooth headphones. However, since the radiation found in Bluetooth headphones is only 1/10th of that of a cell phone, there is most likely little to worry about. These devices emit RF (Radiofrequency) waves, which are a form of non-ionizing radiation. This means that they do not have enough energy to directly damage DNA inside cells and cause cancer (ACS, NCI).

Epidemiological Evidence

Many studies have looked into tumor formation and cell phone usage; however, the results are not conclusive (NCI). Most international organizations deem phone usage to be at most only a potential risk to cancer and at the least, not enough evidence to comment. Phones emit RF (Radiofrequency) waves, which are a form of non-ionizing radiation.

Laboratory Evidence/Supporting Evidence

Currently, there is no laboratory evidence that suggests Bluetooth headphones are linked to cancer.

IARC Carcinogen Classification: Group 3 (Not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans: radio-frequency electromagnetic fields).

How to reduce your risk

With little published research on the topic, scientists aren’t sure about the best way to reduce your risk, other than limiting the amount of time you spend with wireless headphones (NCI).

Bottom line

Bluetooth or wireless headphones most likely do not lead to an increase in cancer risk; however, limiting the time you spend using them, or keeping the phone away from your head, could ensure safety until further research is done.

National Cancer Institute (NCI): Electromagnetic Fields and Cancer
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: Do Wireless Headphones Cause Cancer?


Published: July 7, 2021
Verified/updated: August 22, 2022