Can Wearing Headset or Headphones cause Hair Loss? Traction Alopecia?

How dreadful, the thought of your headphones, which you may be wearing right now, causing you long term hair loss and damage. I had to remove and put my headphone down just for a moment at this though.

Headphones rest on our heads daily. For me, they’ve even become a comfort item, keeping my head and ears warm and giving me the feeling of safety, and the companionship of hearing sounds and voices whenever I want.

So to think that my headset could cause me hair loss is shuddering.

Is this true? If so, how do we reduce the damage done and still get to use our favorite headsets? This article will cover this topic and help shed some light on the matter.

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Can your regularly-worn headset make you loose your hair?

Yes, your headset can cause hair loss due to Traction and/or Friction Alopecia. This is hair loss induced by constant rubbing (friction) and pulling (traction) exercised on your hair and scalp by the headbands of your headphones, and the large ear cuffs of over the ear headsets.

What are the common causes of hair loss?

For most, hair loss is inevitable and it is programmed into our very DNA. Here are some of the main causes of hair loss other than those potentially caused by your headset:

  • Age
  • Alopecia Areata – body immune system attacking hair follicles
  • Chemotherapy treatments
  • Childbirth, illness, or other stressors
  • Hair care – colour, perm, or relaxing hair can cause long term damage
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Malnutrition or low intake of vitamins and minerals
  • Scalp infections
  • Friction Alopecia

What is Traction Alopecia?

If your headset is going to make you lose your hair, one of the ways it’s going to do this is by causing Traction Alopecia. Traction Alopecia is defined as a form of acquired or induced hair loss that results from prolonged or repetitive tension on the scalp hair. The constant pulling on your hair follicles in your scalp that ends up causing hair loss. This effect is mostly observed in people who constantly wear hairstyles that pull on their scalps, like long dreadlocks, weaves, helmets and even simple ponytails.

But will your headset induce Traction Alopecia?

Yes, it can. It all depends on the extent to which your hair is been pulled by the band which goes across your head to hold both headphones on your ear. This is the main culprit here and the key to reducing this occurrence.

What is Friction Alopecia?

Unlike Traction Alapecia, Friction Alapecia is hair loss induced mostly due to friction, or constant rubbing on locations where hair grows, causing it to slowly fall off. It usually causes hair loss where boots, socks, or tight clothing frequently rubs against the skin or scalp.

Can your headset induce traction Alopecia?

Depending on your hair length, there is a possibility that constant rubbing on your scalp by your headset’s band may cause some friction. It this progresses, then it might cause hair loss.

How to prevent hair loss or thinning caused by headsets?

So now we know there is an actual possibility of losing our hair thanks to constant use of your headsets, here are some tips that can help reduce this occurrence and maybe, even help start the reversal of hair loss:

1. Be aware of this

The first step is to recognise and be aware of the problem right? Be aware about the fact that the constant use of your headphones could cause thinning and eventual hair loss if left unnoticed. This will help with changing your mindset and will be the motivator when it comes to taking necessary action needed to prevent hair loss.

2. Check the damage so far

The next step is to check or have someone inspect the current state of your hair, especially along the line where the headband typically rests on. You want to know if the process of hair loss has actually started, so you can begin treating it and potentially reversing it.

3. Check your headsets type and feel

So we know that friction or rubbing and traction or pulling are the most probable causes of hair loss due to headset wearing. It’s important then to check the type of headset you are currently using. Is it heavy and or very tight? Does it pull on your hair and scalp, does it slide on your head often?

These are the most important things to check for and if your headset does any of these, then it may be time to look into replacing it.

4. Switch to earphones

It may come in handy to have a pair of earphones or buds to use when you actually don’t need the full sound power of your headphones. While earphones have their own issues, especially with hygiene, they don’t cause any potential hair loss.

5. Change your headphones

If you feel any constant rubbing on your scalp, pulling on your hair and the weight of your headphone is excessive and bothering, it may be time to look into a different type of headphones. The most important factor is the headband. It will be best to visit a store and try various headset types till you find one that fits well, is not too tight or heavy and give your room between the headband and your scalp.

5. Reduce headset usage

I’ve always noticed that, most of the time, I wear my wireless headset just for comfort. It’s actually not playing music or sound. Once I became aware of this, I started removing it whenever not in use. It was strange at first and I didn’t like the feeling of emptiness on my head, but this soon passes and I can now take comfort in knowing that I’m taking care of my hair and scalp by having these rest periods throughout the day.

You can try this too. Make it a regular habit to put down your headset when not in use and give a quick massage to your head and scalp.

6. Keep good overall hygiene and take your supplements.

Good hygiene alone does wonders for our bodies and hair. Make sure to wash your hair regularly and prevent any time of infection to your scalp. Take your supplements that contain vitamins and minerals needed to promote hair growth like:

  • Biotin
  • Iron
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Zinc

You can read more about the effect of good nutrition and the above-listed vitamins and minerals for hair growth on webmd here.

Frequently asked questions regarding headset caused hairloss

Here are some of the questions that arise in this discussion.

Does wearing a cap under headphones help avoid hair loss

This is a good idea, especially if the cap is not too tight, the weather is right (so you don’t start sweating under it) you could have a cap under your headset while using it to reduce friction on your scalp.

Do headphones with bands that rest on the top of the head cause hair loss?

These are the types of headphones that have the most likely hood to cause hair loss. The band over the head pulling and rubbing slowly contributes to hair loss in the long run.

Can you reverse hair loss caused by wearing headphones?

Well, this is the million-dollar question, isn’t it?
Fortunately, if caught in time, hair loss caused by headsets, and any other pulling and friction forces on the hair follicles can be reversed. The forces need to be removed, and the hair needs to be nourished back to life with good nutrition, hygiene and practices.

Wrapping up

So this strange question actually is a valid one. We hope you got the answer needed to do even deeper research into the hair loss caused by headsets or headphones. If your hair is already thinning out or you notice anything strange caused by your headphones, you can start preventative and reparative action today to reverse these effects. I’ve started these actions myself.

Best wishes.