Can constantly wearing headphones cause baldness?

No, wearing headphones, no matter how often you do it, will not cause hair loss.

This idea is tied in to the same popularly held falsehood that states that constantly wearing a hat can cause hair loss (and even premature baldness). This is, of course, completely untrue.

Here, from Health Central.com, is a particularly good rebuttal to this old wives’ tale, it deals with a case study of a man named Mark.

“One of the myths surrounding hair loss is that wearing hats will cause or contribute to premature baldness. Fortunately, for men like Mark, this is not true. There is no scientific research that shows wearing a hat contributes to hair loss. In order for a hat to cause hair loss, it would need to be tight enough to cut off circulation to the hair follicles”.  

However, you may wonder why there is hair in your hat when you take it off (and sometimes rather a lot of it)? Well, according to Health Central,

“One of the reasons many people believe that hats cause hair loss is because of the amount of hair left inside a hat when you take it off. Whenever you see this, you might worry that your hair is quickly falling out. But we lose hair every day, as much as 80 to 100 strands daily. Usually, you will see this as you comb and brush your hair or when you shower. However, your hats may catch some of this hair and as it builds up over time, it may seem as if there is a lot of hair in your hat”

We suspect it also has to do with the psychological reactions to natural conditions like male pattern baldness (or androgenetic alopecia). For example, the person believes that there must be an outside factor causing his hair loss, because it can’t be that he is simply going bald for no visible reason. Our hypothetical man tells himself that he’s strong, he’s virile and he’s still a young man – he can’t possibly be going bald, there must be some other reason for it. Hair loss can be quite traumatic and damaging to a person’s self image and baldness is often (wrongly) associated with getting older and less attractive.

In fact, the statistics concerning alopecia are actually quite alarming.

40% of American men experience hair loss by the age of 45, while 65% encounter this problem by age 60 and by age 85, a whopping 80% of American men will have nothing left to comb over. They can’t all be wearing headsets.

There are, however, some things that are proven to cause both hair loss and baldness. The following things can cause hair loss:

  • Stress.
  • Hormonal issues like hypo-thyroidism.
  • The side effects of certain medications.
  • Wearing tight hairstyles like pigtails or cornrows.
  • Some chemicals found in various hair products (e.g. permanents or relaxers).
  • Fungal infections.

To date, we don’t think anyone has ever gone bald from wearing headphones (although we certainly wouldn’t rule out the possibility that many a balding person has blamed it on them!)

If you are worried about losing your hair, a good piece of advice is to look at your grandfather. Why? Well, before we sign off, here is a final piece from Health Central.

“According to an article in ScienceDaily, the gene that is sometimes responsible for male baldness is inherited from the mother because this particular gene is found on the X chromosome. For men whose fathers became bald, this could be good news. It seems you should look to your grandfather, on your mother’s side, to find out if you have a higher risk of baldness due to genetics”.

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