Do Earbuds Set Off Metal Detectors


Metal detectors are used in many buildings for various purposes. We find them in airports, schools, libraries, and workspaces. Coincidently, these are the places where earbuds are usually used. It would be annoying if you have to take them out every time because of the metal detector. I guess that’s why you want to know: Do earbuds set off metal detectors?

Not all metal detectors are the same. School and library metal detectors shouldn’t set off when you walk through with earbuds. Airport metal detectors ring for some earbuds, not for all. Airpods don’t set off metal detectors. Earbuds are required to pass the X-ray scan in airports though.

There’s no one right answer to this question. It depends on the detector and the earbuds model. I’ll go over what you need to know.

Metal Detectors & Earbuds

All metal detectors serve the same purpose, that is, detecting metal. Not every detector is like the one you see at the airport though. Some are designed to detect only a certain kind of metal.

So, not every metal detector will be set off by earbuds. I guess you want to know about specific metal detectors. Let’s talk about that for a minute.

Airport Metal Detectors

Airport Metal Detectors

There’s a misconception that airport metal detectors are for detecting objects that may be harmful to the plane. While there’s some truth in there, airports have them to detect weapons.

Most weapons are made from some kind of metal, so there’s that. But what about earbuds? Are airport metal detectors set off by earbuds?

Airport metal detectors will ring when the earbuds have some kind of metal. The coil in the earbuds shouldn’t set off the detector. Some earbuds like Airpods can go through metal detectors.

That doesn’t mean that you can always keep your earbuds in the pocket though. Earbuds look like a detonator, so sometimes you will be asked to process them in the X-ray.

[Related Article: Can You Use Bluetooth Headphones On An Airplane]

Library Metal Detectors

Library detectors are different. It’s quite unusual for libraries to have metal detectors but they have found a use for them. Why do libraries use metal detectors?

As you may know, libraries don’t like it when you take books outside. For some reason, metal detectors were the only way to make sure the books stay in the libraries.

The books are marked with a certain metal, even if you can’t see. When they go through the detector, it rings. Do earbuds set off library metal detectors?

Earbuds don’t set off library metal detectors. Even if the earbuds have a metal design, you should be fine. Library metal detectors don’t set off keychains, so earbuds are okay too.

There’s one side effect though. These detectors can make your earbuds give feedback. We’ll talk about that in a while.

School Metal Detectors

School metal detectors are rare, usually found in public schools. They work as airport metal detectors do. Again, the purpose is to stop anything dangerous from entering the premises. But do they set off earbuds?

Earbuds shouldn’t set off school metal detectors. Although some earbuds can’t go through, it depends on the design. Airpods can go through a school metal detector without setting it off.

Like library detectors, most school detectors don’t ring for keychains and other little metal objects.

Metals In Earbuds

Metals In Earbuds

We can’t be done with this until we talk a bit about earbuds design. In fact, what matters the most is what kind of materials the earbuds have. Let’s get into it.

Inside the earbuds, there are metals of course. The coil can’t be made from plastic. There are some other bits there too. Do these set off metal detectors?

Most detectors are not good enough to recognize those little bits. So, you shouldn’t worry about that. Airpods have a coil but they don’t set off metal detectors.

Now, some earbuds have metals on the exterior design. These will set off a metal detector for sure. It should be fine with library detectors. But they will set off metal detectors for protection against weapons.

If you are passing through a detector every day or quite often, you should look for plastic design earbuds. I believe that’s why you’re here. You’re worried about taking off the earbuds just to pass a detector every day.

Can Metal Detectors Damage Earbuds

A quick google search showed me that some are concerned about the effect metal detectors have on earbuds. If they can damage earbuds, you would want to take them off before passing. So, are your concerns justified?

Metal detectors are not harmful to earbuds. They can make your earbuds give feedback but only when passing the detector. If you’re concerned about your earbuds, take them off before passing.

Not only that this works in theory, but it also works in practice too. People are passing detectors with their earbuds and it didn’t cause them any damage.

Earbuds Giving Feedback When Passing A Metal Detector

I bet if this ever happened to you, it happened with a library metal detector. I’m making this assumption because usually, only library detectors use radiofrequency. That’s what causing the high pitched noise.

Earbuds that give feedback when going through detectors are usually wired models. The library detector can create a weak electromagnetic field. Some earbuds can pick up that field. Because there’s no actual sound data, you just hear a beep.

The feedback is not harmful to the earbuds. Although the noise is quite high, it’s not powerful enough to cause any damage. It’s no danger for your ears too. If you’re really worried, you can just walk through without them.

[Related Article: Why Is My Headset Giving Feedback]

Related Questions And Other FAQs

Do Headphones Set Off Metal Detectors?

Headphones, just like earbuds can set off metal detectors. It all depends on the security settings of the metal detector. Library metal detectors shouldn’t ring when passing by with headphones. You will be asked to take off the headphones at the airport.

Do Batteries Set Off Metal Detectors?

Most batteries are made from metals, so detectors will recognize them. Earbuds batteries are small and shouldn’t set off most detectors, except for airport metal detectors.

That’s it for this post. I hope I answered every question you had.

Andrej Jovanovski

Hi there, I'm Andrej. I've always been an electronic devices addict, especially audio devices like headphones, earbuds, and headsets. I am staying up-to-date with the technology, so why not write about what you know? I'll share some useful tips about all your headphones related questions.

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