Can Wearing Headphones Cause Hair Loss?

Alex | Last Updated On December 30th, 2021 | This post may contain affiliate links.

For men, there are three things that are certain in life: death, taxes, and male pattern baldness. Although many of you youngsters think that you’ll live forever, your hair won’t, and that’s something you will have to come to terms with sooner or later.

Although male pattern baldness is an issue that is directly specific to males, there is another hair loss problem that can plague just about anybody. This issue doesn’t discriminate, and it permeates all aspects of society, whether you are rich, poor, young, or old. This issue is hair loss caused by wearing headphones.

So, can headphones cause hair loss? The short answer is: Yes, it can but only when taken to the extreme.

So, in the upcoming sections, I’m going to talk about topics such as:

  • What are the reasons that can cause hair loss?
  • How can headphones cause hair loss?
  • How can I prevent hair loss caused by headphones?

Even though these topics look simple enough, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so without further ado, let’s get into it.

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What are the reasons that can cause hair loss?

As I mentioned before, hair loss is inevitable for some people, and many attribute it to their genetics. However, others would also argue that the reason for hair loss is long-term bad habits. (one of these which includes excessive headphone use).

In all actuality, hair loss is caused by a combination of these two aspects. Therefore, depending on the person, it may be beyond their control.

Accordingly, I can categorize the causes of hair loss into two categories: Genetic and Reactive.

Genetic Hair Loss

Many would assume that balding is an issue that could only happen to males. Unfortunately, it can also affect females and anyone else, regardless of their gender.

So when it comes to hair loss, genetics is the driving force behind hair loss. Sadly, nobody can reverse genetic conditions. So the older you get, the more hair you lose.

Although Female Pattern Baldness (FPB) does exist, they are not as common as Male Pattern Baldness (MPB). The reason for MPB is because of the hair follicles’ sensitivity to male hormones.

So with age, individual hair follicles will start to shrink, and because of this, the hair comes out thinner and shorter.

People with bad genetics cannot avoid hair loss. Thankfully, they can minimize it – to some extent – with the help of proper medication, surgery, and by leading a more healthy lifestyle.

Reactive Hair Loss

Reactive hair loss is caused due to external events that are outside of genetics. Reactive causes include high levels of stress, lack of certain nutrients, particular illnesses, and when it comes to headphones: traction alopecia, a topic which I will get into later.

There are a ton of reasons for hair loss, some of them are proved by science, while others are not. So in this next section, let’s separate fact from fiction and discuss some of the most common causes along with some misconceptions.

Stress

Portrait of an upset businessman at desk in office. Businessman being depressed by working in office. Young stressed business man feeling strain in eyes after working for long hours on computer.

Stress can be one of the major contributors to hair loss. Harboring a lot of stress in your life is very detrimental to your health and overall quality of life.

Whenever you’re going through hormonal changes, poor nutrition, and in our case, stressful situations, there is a condition called “Telogen Effluvium” that gets triggered and causes hair loss.

This condition forces your hair follicles to go into a “resting” phase. During this phase, you won’t be able to grow hair, and with prolonged periods, hair will start to fall out.

The best way to avoid this condition is to take care of yourself and resolve stressful situations to the best of your abilities.

If you are looking for some stress-free activities, check out our post on the 11 things you can do while listening to music.

Medications

The primary purpose of medications is to treat certain medical conditions. Unfortunately, these drugs that are supposed to help you combat weight loss, acne, infection, and many other conditions do have their side effects, one of these being hair loss.

The best way to minimize hair loss – caused by the effect of drugs – is to consult your doctor or pharmacist regarding the side effects. Most of these side effects (including hair loss) will go away once you stop using these drugs, but if they persist, you still have several options, such as Finasteride (Propecia) and Minoxidil. (Rogaine) These medications will help you counteract the side effects brought on by the previous medications and will help stimulate hair growth.

Hormonal Imbalances

Hormones are another driving force that can lead to many issues, such as gaining weight, getting acne, and losing hair.

Estrogens are the more “hair-friendly” hormones, and they contribute a lot to the hair growing phase. So whenever there’s a lower amount of estrogen hormones in your system, you start to see considerable amounts of hair loss.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we’ve got the male hormone, Androgens which do not play nice with hair follicles. So whenever you’ve got a higher amount of androgens in your system, whether it’s genetics or medications, you will start to see more hair loss.

When it comes to treatment options, the best method is to treat them naturally by living a more healthy life: regular exercise, managing stress, and eating right. However, if a condition is too severe, you can always consult your doctor and opt for Hormone Replacement Therapy, (HRT) where a doctor will prescribe you bioidentical or synthetic hormones.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Another most common cause that many people fail to recognize is that hair loss is also related to their diet. What you choose to include in your meals will dictate how healthy you will be.

It’s always best to maintain a balanced diet even if you do not have any nutrient deficiencies. Unfortunately, if you lack a significant amount of a specific nutrient, you can always supplement your balanced diet with several dietary supplements. However, make sure to consult your doctor beforehand.

A few common nutrients that affect hair loss are shown below.

Iron: Iron is one of the most common nutrients that many people fail to manage via their diet. A lack of iron in your system can result in issues such as fatigue, brittle nails, and hair loss.

Zinc: Zinc is another major nutrient that can lead to hair loss. Zinc is an essential component for protein synthesis and immune functions. Zinc deficiencies are common among alcoholics, vegetarians, and pregnant women.

Fatty Acids: Fatty acids such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 help to bring down inflammation and maintain hair in the “growth” phase. A deficiency of fatty acids can be controlled by consuming a good amount of salmon, mackerel, eggs, walnuts. Along with that, you can always supplement Omega-3 with fish oil, one of the most commonly used dietary supplements.

These are just a few of the nutrients that can lead to hair loss. Along with these, there’s Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Antioxidants, Amino Acids, and many more.

How can headphones cause hair loss?

Minimal back view portrait of bald adult woman wearing headphones while listening to music via smartphone in modern home interior, alopecia and cancer awareness, copy space

Hair loss can be triggered by many factors such as genetics, a bad diet, an existing medical condition, and many more. However, my primary objective in this article is to find out how headphones can lead to hair loss, and this is what I’m going to go into detail about in the upcoming sections.

Wearing Tight Headphones

Most older headphones did not come with an adjustable band. Therefore, depending on the headphones – and the size of your head – these were either too tight or too loose. When these headphones are too tight, they tend to pull your hair back and stress the hair follicles.

This condition, where you lose hair because of your headphones or ponytail pulling your hair back too tightly, is called “traction alopecia.”

Traction Alopecia

Traction Alopecia is a condition brought on by tension in the scalp, mainly due to tight ponytails, braids, and wearing headphones.

The hair follicles get damaged whenever you are constantly pulling them too tightly for a longer period of time.

Some common symptoms for Traction Alopecia include:

Getting diagnosed with traction alopecia is very rare since you can easily avoid it before it gets too serious. However, it’s often musicians or other audiophiles –who wear their headphones too tightly either out of habit or because of their work – who get diagnosed with this condition.

How To Avoid Hair Loss From Traction Alopecia

As we mentioned previously, losing your hair from traction alopecia is pretty rare. You’d have to wear extra tight headphones for hours on end. However, it’s always best to take precautions, especially if you use headphones on a long-term basis.

Therefore, in the following section, I’m going to list out some of the steps you can take to avoid/minimize hair loss from traction alopecia.

Wearing the band at the back of your head: This might be a fashion statement for some, but for others, it might be an extra burden. Whatever the case may be, this is one of the most common and easiest ways to avoid headphones from pulling your hair out. For some people, this seems very natural, but for others, the extra weight on the ears can be a bit too much.

Getting a pair of headphones with an adjustable band: This one seems pretty obvious, but back in my day, we used to have headphones that didn’t have adjustable bands, especially the cheap ones. Luckily for us, most modern (and high-quality) headphones are already equipped with adjustable bands, so that won’t be an issue. However, if you are still using a tight pair of headphones with non-adjustable bands, I highly recommend that you stop living in discomfort and buy a pair of modern headphones.

By the way, if you are into gaming, check out this list of the most comfortable gaming headset.

Switching to Earbuds: Many audiophiles would scoff at this decision as earbuds cannot provide the same quality audio as headphones do. However, if your reasons for wearing headphones include working out at the gym or just chilling on the couch at home – for no more than a couple of hours – then a good pair of earbuds, preferably TWS (True Wireless Stereo) is the better option.

If you are on the market for some options, check here for a list of high-quality yet affordable Tozo earbuds.

Verdict

Wearing headphones too tightly, and for longer periods of time, can cause hair loss. However, it is not very common because the warning signs are very obvious, allowing you to counteract the symptoms before it gets too late.

Conclusion

When it comes to wearing headphones or earbuds, there’s always some health concern, whether it’s earwax pushing into your ears, the “low” levels of radiation, or in this situation, hair loss. Whatever the case may be, it’s always best to address any discomfort or disturbance you may feel whenever wearing headphones/earbuds. Headphones and earbuds should be comfortable, so don’t try to “make it work” by forcing yourself to wear them, no matter how cheap or how good they sound.