For listening to music, stories and shows on the go, or just for when you don’t want the whole world to listen in on your activity, headphones are a simple but irreplaceable gadget. They have come a long way from the huge headsets of the 80s, although these are still popular in gaming, with an additional microphone attached.

If you want to listen to music as you exercise or on your daily commute, the modern wireless headphones are far more discrete. Bluetooth headphones connect to your phone or smart gadget, giving you connectivity while you are out and about.

Headphone safety

Headphones are generally very safe to use as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take a few sensible precautions before and during use.

Safety first

  • Make sure you buy your headphones from a reputable retailer, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • It’s important to register new headphones with the manufacturer so that you can be contacted if a safety notice or recall is issued. It also makes it easier for you to return a faulty product or order a repair. To find out how to register any of your appliances, regardless of age, visit our Product Registration page.
  • Use our free online Product Recall checker to see if your headphones or any other electrical items have been recalled.

If your headphones require charging:

  • Check that your appliance has a UK plug; if it doesn’t, don’t try to use a UK travel adaptor. Get in touch with the retailer and ask them to fit a UK plug.
  • Do regular checks of the plug and socket for burn marks, sounds of ‘arcing’ (buzzing or crackling) or if it feels too hot to touch. If you have fuses blowing or circuit-breakers tripping then contact a registered electrician to investigate.
  • If you are taking your charger out with you, make sure you pack it safely in your bag. Wires and cords that are often folded and tightly packed can become damaged.  Check regularly to make sure that the insulation around any cords remain intact.
  • Use the charger that is supplied with your headphones and if you need to buy a spare or a replacement, buy it from the manufacturer rather than finding a cheap option online – they can often contain counterfeit or sub-standard parts, bringing a risk of electric shock or fire.
  • When charging headphones, leave them on a hard, flat surface rather than on bedding or other flammable materials.
  • Any socket you plan to use to charge your headphones should have RCD (residual current device) Protection. An RCD is a life-saving device that protects against dangerous electric shock and reduces the risk of electrical fires. If you don’t have RCD protection in your fuse box for your sockets, consider using an RCD plug to protect you and your property from serious appliance faults.

Using your headphones safely

  • When wearing headphones, it is important to remain alert to what is going on around you, in case of an emergency where others need to gain your attention.
  • Do not use your headphones at an excessive noise level for an extended period of time as this can have a significant impact on your hearing.
  • Keep your headphones in a protective case when not in use, this will prevent damage to the tiny batteries.
  • Do not use cheap, unbranded chargers – stick with the one provided by the manufacturer.
  • Keep charge points away from sources of extreme temperature.
  • Look out for swelling on your headphones as this is a sign of battery damage. If this happens, dispose of your headphones safely.