Do noise-cancelling headphones make you sick?

Do these cause sickness and dizziness?

According to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal Bose's QC3 headphones could very well be bad for you.

“I was recently given a pair of the Bose QC3 headphones with active noise canceling, and have felt queasy every time I put them on,” writes one dejected reader.

“I had to take them off and lie down at one point, and ended up throwing up later that night and was unable to eat more than apple sauce the next day. As crazy as it sounds, did the headphones cause my discomfort?”

Negating unwanted noise

According to the WSJ’s health experts it is possible, because: “Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones work by electronically determining the difference between wanted and unwanted sounds, and creating a correction signal that acts to negate the unwanted noise.”

Techradar contacted Bose in the UK today for comment on this, but nothing was forthcoming at the time of going to press.

Disequilibrium and dizziness

The WSJ also cites Sarah Stackpole, a New York ear, nose and throat doctor, who “speculates that the sound waves that cancel each other out may still transmit enough very low frequency vibrations to stimulate the balance receptors that are connected to the hearing hair cells in the inner ear… The disequilibrium that some people may feel from this is made worse because the vibrations falsely signal that the head is moving, but the eyes report that the head is stationary. Those mixed signals make the headphone wearer feel dizzy.”

If these reports prove to be true it’s a great shame, because the Bose QC3 headphones really do look quite tasty!

Adam Hartley