Do headphones go off in metal detectors? (The Important Facts)

Whenever you go to places with security concerns, you will likely come across metal detectors, whether it's the Airport, the library, or the mall. One concern that may bug you a lot is, do headphones or airpods set off metal detectors? I mean, it's a legitimate question to ask.

That's what I will be answering here today. Now, the answer for this isn't as straightforward as yes or no. Because some metal detectors can go off with headphones, while others won't, so, I will go in-depth to see which ones get through the metal detectors with and without setting them off.

Let's not waste any more time and jump right into the whole thing.


The build of headphones 

Well, how your headphone will react to certain metal detectors mostly depends on the build it has.

If the headphones have a metal body which is a bit rare, then they will most likely trigger any metal detector. A metal exterior can't get past the metal detectors without triggering it.

Aside from the exterior, there are several things you need to know about the interior as well. Even though you might not need to worry too much about them since they aren't that large of a portion in your headphone, still, it's worth mentioning.

You will find coils inside the headphones or buds in the interior. There is no way that manufacturers can make the coils without using metals. So, you can presume that there is metal inside the headphones.

However, these aren't enough to trigger most metal detectors. They can be too tiny to be spotted by some metal detectors.

Different metal detector responses to headphones 

The thing is, different metal detectors will have different responses to your headphone. While some may not respond to it, meaning you can pass through it without setting it off. Then there will be some metal detectors that will respond to your headphones, and you may need to take them off.

Usually, you will see this difference based on where you are going. So, let's check out the different metal detectors you get to see in different places.

  • Airport metal detectors 

These are the most effective and powerful metal detectors you will come across. They are mostly there for detecting any kind of weapon passing into the Airport. So, there is a chance that your headphones may also trigger the metal detectors.

When we talk about headphone triggering metal detectors, you shouldn't bother about the coils being the cause of the trigger. Even though airport metal detectors are pretty strong, they don't trigger based on the coils inside your headphone.

However, if your headphone is made of metal or the body is metal, then you may need to take them off before passing through the detector. Although, you might need to do that anyways in some airports. Whether they are made of metal or not doesn't matter.

  • Library 

Even though this might not be as common as you would think, but there is a possibility you will come across a metal detector in a library. Some libraries use metal detectors to protect books from being stolen.

Now, is that detector strong enough to go off on headphone triggers? Well, the answer is no. These detectors don't even go off on keys or keychains that tend to have a lot more metal than headphones. Considering this, you shouldn't worry about the metal build or the coils inside the headphone.

However, there is something that you should be aware of, which is the feedback your headphone gets from going through the metal detector. I will talk about that in a bit.

  • The metal detector in malls 

The metal detector you get to see in malls is very similar to the ones at libraries. They are geared towards stopping anything from getting stolen. They use a special metal in all their products, so they can't leave the mall without causing the detector to go off.

But with the amount of metal in your headphone, you shouldn't worry about the detector going off at all.

Other than that, some schools also use metal detectors, and they aren't powerful enough either. They don't go off on headphone triggers. So, all in all, the only place you should be worried about is the Airport, where there is a chance that the metal detector can go off on headphones.

Aside from that, you can face issues with feedback on your headphones. So, let's discuss what that is and what it does to your headphone.

Related: What to do with feedback from headphones

Feedback on headphones from metal detectors 

Not all metal detectors will give you feedback issues on your headphones. It happens mostly on metal detectors found in stores and libraries. These metal detectors use a kind of radiofrequency.

So, they can interact with the headphone electrical circuits and cause a high-pitched noise whenever you pass through them. Usually, that's known as the feedback from your headphones. The real question here is whether the feedback is harmful or not.

Luckily, it doesn't cause any harm to your headphones at all. Even though the noise can be pretty high-pitched and can impact your ear, you won't face any issues with the headphones whatsoever.

Still, if you want to avoid the whole thing, you can simply take your headphones off or turn them off then pass the metal detectors. This way, you don't have to face the feedback at all.

Final thoughts 

All in all, if you are wondering, do AirPods set off in metal detectors, then the answer will be yes, they can, but you don't have to worry about that. Because there are not many metal parts in a headphone to cause concerns for you to pass a metal detector.

Yes, a headphone made out of complete metal can set off the metal detector; that is no denying. But with that small coil inside the headphone, you don't need to worry about the headphone setting off a metal detector.

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