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Is It Safe To Sleep With AirPods? 2024 [Cause Ear Infection?]

By: Susie
Updated On: October 9, 2023

As we rest our heads at night, many of us revel in the peace brought by soothing sounds. From white noise melodies to calming podcasts, nighttime audio soothes us towards a slumber.

It’s not surprising that many Americans now throw on their AirPods and hit the hay. You might be one of them, asking: “Is it safe to sleep with AirPods?”

The allure of drowning out external noises while easing into dreamland is hard to resist. It’s convenient peaceful, and reassures you that you’ll wake up on time thanks to that alarm being right in your ear!

But before you decide to make this a nightly ritual, let’s look at the potential risks and benefits involved. Remember, it’s all about ensuring your habits support restful sleep and overall health.

An Overview of AirPods and Sleeping Practices

An Overview of AirPods and Sleeping Practices

While it’s possible to use AirPods when sleeping, it’s generally not recommended as prolonged usage can lead to ear discomfort.

Also, the consistent exposure of ears to headphones might cause damage over time by blocking your ear canals. There’s a risk of damaging the device while in sleep as rolling over it could put pressure on the battery and lead to potential safety hazards.

The sound-limiting feature on AirPods can help protect against hearing damage, but it doesn’t negate all risks entirely.

As for the research, studies have found mixed results about whether or not listening to music or calming sounds during sleep positively impacts sleep quality.

Some suggest it improves deep sleep cycles and helps combat insomnia, while others argue that it could interfere with the body’s natural rhythms, causing more harm than good.

Always consult a healthcare professional or audiologist if you have concerns about using AirPods or similar devices during sleep.

Is It Safe To Sleep With AirPods?

No, it’s not entirely safe to sleep with AirPods. These devices, like many other electronic devices, use lithium-ion batteries. While these batteries are generally safe for use, there is a small risk of malfunction or overheating.

In extremely rare cases, damaged lithium-ion batteries can even potentially catch fire. Sleeping with them could unknowingly damage the battery due to pressure and movement during sleep, increasing this risk.

Prolonged usage may also lead to ear discomfort and potential hearing damage over time. Therefore, experts recommend against sleeping with AirPods in your ears for safety and health reasons.

Read More: 14 Best Floor Mattress For Peaceful Sleep In 2024 [Top Picks]

What are the Risks Of Sleeping with AirPods?

You might enjoy the comfort of falling asleep with your AirPods in your ears, but it’s essential to understand what risks you’re submitting yourself to before making this a habit. Make no mistake.

There are downsides to this practice. The continual exposure of your ears to the pressure of earbuds and the sound can pose health issues. How? Let’s delve right into some potential scenarios.

Ear Canal Damage

Your ear canal is a delicate structure meant mainly for picking up sounds and sending signals to your brain. By routinely using AirPods during sleep, you subject your ear canals to pressure and constraints they’re not built for.

Imagine something persistently rubbing against the skin and structures inside your ear for hours each night; that could cause inflammation, discomfort, or worse – damage over time. It might even lead to abrasions that become prone to infection.

It’s crucial, therefore, to save our ears from prolonged exposure and avoid possible ear canal damage that could affect our hearing ability in the long run.

Ear Infection

Another risk of sleeping with AirPods is an increased chance of developing an ear infection. This risk goes up if you’re prone to producing more-than-average earwax or sweat because wearing AirPods for extended periods can trap these substances in your ears.

AirPods sitting in your ears night after night create a sweaty and warm environment that bacteria love! And if there’s any pre-existing minor abrasion in your ear canal (maybe from those AirPods rubbing), bacteria can capitalize on that opportunity.

So, it is important not just to consider the comfort provided by AirPods but also to understand that such devices bring risks like these into play when used over extended periods.

Physical Discomfort

When it comes to using AirPods for an extended period, physical discomfort is one of the most immediate concerns.

You might not realize it initially, but having something lodged in your ear throughout the night can cause noticeable discomfort over time.

Sleeping involves a lot of unconscious movements and different postures, which could push the AirPods against your ear canal, causing soreness and pain. If you frequently wake up with tender ears, there’s an excellent chance it’s because of your AirPods.

Earwax Buildup

The presence of a foreign object like AirPods in your ears can alter natural processes, one of which is the production and expulsion of earwax. Typically, the ear self-cleans by gradually oozing wax out from the inner ear to the opening, where it usually dries up and falls out.

When you’re constantly sporting AirPods, this process gets disrupted. The device can act as a plug, trapping wax inside your ears.

Not only can an excess buildup of wax lead to a blockage (called cerumen impaction), but it can also decrease your hearing ability temporarily and create a breeding ground for bacteria that might lead to infections.

Loss of AirPods

It might not be a health risk, but it’s a practical one – there’s always a higher chance of losing your AirPods when you sleep with them. Often, while turning and tossing in sleep, one or both of your pods can fall out.

This increases the possibility of misplacing them or, worse still, accidentally crushing them under your weight if they end up underneath you.

Their small size can make fallen AirPods hard to find items in your bedding or around the bedroom, leading to stress and inconvenience.

Reduced Sleep Quality

Beyond physical risks to ear health are concerns about the quality of sleep you’re getting. Have you considered how the audio content you’re consuming might affect your rest?

As per The National Sleep Foundation, individuals require a quiet environment to allow for REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. REM is a vital cycle affecting how refreshed you’ll feel when waking up.

Even if you’re using AirPods for white noise or soothing music that may help initially get to sleep faster, continuous audio keeps stimulating your brain throughout the night when it should be resting and rejuvenating.

Having these devices in could wake you up if they fall out or start running low on battery during the night; such interruptions could disrupt sleep cycles and adversely affect sleep quality.

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Hearing Loss

Another potential risk that comes with sleeping with AirPods is hearing loss. AirPods, like any other headphones or earbuds, generate noise straight into your ear canal. While this is excellent for audio quality and blocking out external sounds, prolonged exposure can indeed cause harm.

You might be thinking, “But I don’t blast my music when I sleep!” Even at a low volume, prolonged usage can cause what’s known as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

This type of hearing loss occurs via the damage made to the delicate hair cells found in our cochlea that transmit sound signals to our brain.

Over time, continuous exposure to sound -especially at proximity – can slowly wear out these hair cells, leading to gradual hearing loss.

Strangulation hazard

Let’s tackle a more physical risk factor – strangulation hazard. You might be thinking, “That sounds pretty extreme!” While it is indeed a rare incident, it’s one you shouldn’t ignore if safety is your priority.

Corded headphones have been known to pose a strangulation risk as they can easily wrap around your neck while you toss and turn during sleep.

While AirPods are wireless, reducing the risk significantly compared to wired earphones or headphones, the charging cord could present the same danger if accidentally entangled.

So remember, whether you have corded or wireless earbuds, always clear your sleeping environment from loose wires or cords before catching those Zs.

Balancing convenience and health risks can be tricky, but it’s crucial for ensuring optimal health and well-being.

Understanding these risks associated with sleeping with AirPods plays an important role in making informed decisions regarding your bedtime habits.

Benefits of Sleeping with AirPods

Benefits of Sleeping with AirPods

Sleeping with AirPods, as has been discussed, might introduce some health risks. However, before tossing them entirely at night, you need to understand the other side of the coin.

AirPods can indeed have a positive impact on your sleep in a number of ways. You may wonder: How could these tiny devices work wonders on your sleep? Let’s map out these benefits and gain an understanding of how AirPods can be an asset at bedtime.

Noise Isolation

One significant advantage of using AirPods is their effective noise isolation feature. If you live in a bustling city or share your space with loud roommates, falling asleep each night isn’t always easy due to background noise.

AirPods come equipped with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology that can help you create a calm environment amidst the chaos. They do this by producing sound waves that cancel out ambient noise around them.

In effect, they isolate your ears from unwanted sounds and allow you to focus on the soothing audio you wish to hear, whether it’s relaxing music or calming nature sounds.

Fall Asleep Fast

Getting quality sleep is crucial for both physical well-being and mental health. It’s here that AirPods can play an essential role in aiding quick and deep sleep.

Often, people struggle with racing thoughts when they hit the bed; playing calming music or guided meditations through your AirPods can distract from these intrusive thoughts and aid in faster onset to sleep.

Sleep music has been helpful for many who suffer from anxiety or insomnia. It usually contains slow rhythms that are synchronized with the heart rate during rest periods, which prompts relaxation and an easier transition into deep sleep stages.

There is research suggesting melatonin levels – the hormone controlling your sleeping cycle – are significantly increased when listening to calm music at bedtime.

Sleep Aids

You know those nights when sleep seems miles away? With AirPods and a range of available sleep apps, this problem can be tackled head-on.

If you struggle with insomnia or irregular sleep patterns, AirPods enable you to use digital sleep aid tools that can assist in overcoming these issues.

Sound therapy is a common sleep aid used by many. Listening to soothing sounds like rainfall or ocean waves through your AirPods can promote relaxation, helping you fall asleep faster. Various platforms offer an array of these soundscapes tailor-made for providing restful sleep.

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Meditation and Mindfulness

We live in a hectic world where stress often gets the better of us, affecting our sleep patterns significantly. Using your AirPods at bedtime can grant you access to numerous meditation and mindfulness resources simply at the reach of your fingertips (or voice command!).

Platform options range from those targeting beginners to more experienced mindfulness practitioners – all designed for the goal of relaxing your mind and paving the path to deep sleep.

A routine nighttime meditation practice could see you waking up refreshed and rejuvenated, ready to tackle another day that lies ahead!

White Noise

Another potential benefit that aids in sleeping with your Airpods lies in the science-proven power of white noise.

White noise is a combination of all frequencies of sound audible to human ears and has been proven to improve the quality of sleep significantly. It’s particularly beneficial for people who are overly sensitive to external sounds.

Why does it work so well? White noise creates an acoustic blanket around you – it masks any jarring sounds, reducing the contrast between background noises (think snoring spouses or noisy neighbors), which may wake or disrupt you from your peaceful slumber—another plus indeed for sleeping with those trusty AirPods!

Audiobooks or Podcasts

In addition to soothing tracks, AirPods also present a valuable opportunity for nighttime personal growth. It’s no secret that many people find it challenging to allocate time for reading during the day.

With audiobooks and podcasts, you have the freedom to unwind and absorb enriching content just by closing your eyes. These modern tools can help expand your knowledge or entertain you as you drift off to dreamland.

From sleep stories that relax your mind to informative podcasts on topics of interest, using AirPods at night opens up a world of potential enlightenment at bedtime.

Alarm Clock

Waking up in the morning can often be just as difficult as falling asleep at night! Here again, AirPods can come into play.

You can use your AirPods as an alarm clock substitute. The benefit here is that it’s entirely personal – without disturbing anyone else in the household.

A gentle wake-up call directly in your ears might make those dreaded first few moments of waking up a little bit friendlier.

Music Therapy

Healthcare professionals have recognized music therapy as a therapeutic tool for promoting well-being and managing many medical conditions.

Soothing rhythms and harmonies can slow down breathing and heart rate, lower blood pressure, promote relaxation, and aid sleep quality.

By utilizing matched music tracks played through AirPods at bedtime, elements of music therapy techniques can be introduced into an everyday sleep routine.

This approach could provide multiple therapeutic benefits for both physical and mental health while promoting deep sleep onset and continual cycles.

While there are risks associated with the extended use of AirPods during sleep time – such as exposure to high volumes or discomfort from earbuds – there are also unique benefits available when used responsibly.

Be it catching up on books through audiobook soundscapes, a personal alarm clock service, or incorporating aspects of music therapy into an evening routine, these advantages can leverage a user’s sleep experience.

How to Sleep Comfortly with AirPods?

How to Sleep Comfortly with AirPods?

Though we’ve already discussed the risks associated with sleeping with AirPods, there might still be instances where you find it necessary.

Perhaps you live in a noisy neighborhood, or maybe you can’t resist your favorite podcast as a lullaby. If you must sleep with AirPods, then at least do it correctly to ensure better comfort and minimize potential harm. Here are some practices that can help.

Choose the Perfect Size

First up is choosing the right size of the earbud tip. Not all ears are identical, and Apple recognizes this. That’s why AirPods Pro comes packaged with three sizes of silicone tips: small, medium, and large.

You’ve got to choose the one that fits your ear just right- not too tight as it will cause discomfort and not too loose as it might fall out easily.

The right fit helps maintain comfort throughout your slumber while reducing outside noises more effectively.

Use a Memory Foam Pillow

As great as choosing the perfect-sized earbud tip sounds, what about when you roll over onto your side? A firm or lumpy pillow isn’t likely to play nice with even perfectly fitting AirPods.

Here’s where a memory foam pillow can come in handy. Known for its contouring properties, this type of pillow adjusts to your body shape instead of forcing your ear into an uncomfortable position against the hard plastic of an AirPod.

It takes off pressure from your ears and allows side-sleepers to rest comfortably while jamming to their sleep tunes.

A memory foam pillow also comes bearing health benefits like reducing nighttime restlessness and promoting alignment of your spine during sleep. It ends up being more than just an aid for comfortable sleeping with AirPods!

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Low Volume

Contrary to popular belief, listening to music at maximum volume isn’t the best way to enjoy your favorite tunes, especially when you’re considering an overnight jam.

High volume levels can lead to noise-induced hearing loss over time, so you must keep the sound at a safe level when dozing off with your AirPods.

An excellent practice here is to use the lowest volume at which you can comfortably hear your music or podcast. This way, you get to enjoy your sleep sounds without contributing to potential hearing damage.

Ensuring a balance between enjoyment and long-term health is important for maintaining overall well-being.

Sleep Mode

Technology has evolved significantly over the past few years, including our loved AirPods. Thanks to these advancements, saving battery life in these little miracles of sound technology is just one tap away.

Engaging sleep mode or low power mode on your iPhone will automatically reduce background noise and save more battery life while using AirPods.

Not only does this extend usage time without charging, but it also ensures that your AirPods are less likely to die during the night – giving users a pleasing, uninterrupted audio experience throughout their slumber.

By using low volume and sleep mode, you are taking steps towards protecting your health and extending the longevity of your AirPods while enjoying an interrupted, restful night of sleep accompanied by your favorite sounds!

Secure Fit

Speaking of snug, you’ll want to ensure your AirPods are securely fit before hitting the hay. The last thing you want is to toss and turn and find comfort in your favorite sleeping position, only to have an AirPod slip out and disrupt your dreams. Not to mention, there’s a risk of losing them in your sheets or under your bed!

Ensuring a proper fit isn’t always about choosing the right size; sometimes, it’s about checking they’re placed correctly in your ears. Apple provides a user guide on exactly how to do this—consult it if you’re unsure.

Clean Ears

Cleaning your ears might sound like an obvious point, but when sleeping with AirPods, it’s especially important.

Removing excessive earwax can not only make things more comfortable but also prevent buildup on the device itself, which may affect its performance over time.

Do remember that cleaning should be gentle using damp cloths or tissues as per Apple’s guidelines. Don’t insert any pointed objects into the ears—this can lead to irritation and infections.

Battery Check

Remember to keep tabs on the battery life of your AirPods; it’s key if you want them to last through the night.

While most models of AirPods claim around five hours of listening time when fully charged, everyone knows often batteries don’t last as long as we’d expect them to.

So, every night before turning in for bed with your favorite nighttime playlist at the ready, go ahead and ensure that both buds are fully charged up.

Remembering this tip could vastly improve your bedtime experience with AirPods while minimizing some risks associated with it.

Completing battery checks, cleaning ears properly, and ensuring secure fits are practical steps that go far beyond simply dealing with sleep—it’s about promoting healthier use of technology!

Relaxation Audio

What you listen to as you slumber, too, plays a significant role in your comfort while sleeping with Airpods. We recommend choosing relaxation audio instead of heavy, loud music or spoken words.

For the sake of your hearing health, slow rhythms and tunes that resonate with sleep, like white noise or calming melodies, are ideal.

They have been scientifically proven to aid in falling asleep quickly and maintaining a relaxed state of mind. Go for low volumes to protect your ears from potential damage.

Alarm Setting

Even if using AirPods for sleep isn’t a regular practice for you, they can be beneficial when an alarm clock isn’t doing the trick. But here’s the deal- when setting an alarm, don’t let it blast into your ears at full volume.

Gradual increments of sound will be much gentler on your ears and nervous system. Start at a low volume and let it slowly escalate until you wake up.

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Sleep On Your Back

Another tip is to consider changing your sleep position when sleeping with AirPods! If you’re a side sleeper, considering becoming a back sleeper might make dealing with earbuds more comfortable at night.

Sleeping on your back eliminates any pressure build-up in the ears caused by the physical weight of leaning on the side where the AirPod is present.

No amount of assurances will negate all risks completely, but adopting such techniques will significantly lower them while ensuring excellent sleep health and comfort simultaneously.

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FAQs about ‘Is it safe to sleep with AirPods?’

Can sleeping with AirPods lead to hearing loss?

Yes, prolonged exposure to loud noise, even from AirPods, can contribute to gradual hearing loss over time.

Is it harmful to wear AirPods for an extended period while sleeping?

Yes, long periods with earbuds in can potentially cause ear canal damage and infections due to moisture build-up.

Are there risks associated with the batteries in AirPods while sleeping?

There is a minor risk of battery malfunction or overheating. Damaging the battery unknowingly during your sleep could increase this risk.

What is the safest way to use AirPods during sleep?

If necessary, maintain a low volume, use relaxation audio, set a gentle alarm, and use memory foam pillows to alleviate pressure on the ears.

What alternatives are safer than using AirPods for sleep?

Using speakers on low volume or utilizing sleep-specific devices that provide sound without earbuds are safer alternatives.


While it is indeed feasible to sleep with your AirPods on, doing so can bring with it specific risks. These issues range from physical discomfort caused by pressure in the ear canal to more serious concerns such as potential infection or damage to the ear’s internal structures.

Following advice on the best practices will ensure some relief if you choose this path. The safest and most recommended route remains giving your ears a restful break as you sleep.

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