Headphones & Earwax (Reasons to Clean Them Frequently)

by Josh Koop | Last Updated:   1 month ago
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Headphones are one of the greatest inventions of all time. It provides you the opportunity to enter your world by listening to music of your type. However, you might notice an increase in earwax production when you wear them.  So, do over ear headphones cause earwax? And is it safe to wear them? Let’s find out!

Wearing over-ear headphones for prolonged periods may cause increased earwax. Hence, it is better to use it only when it is required. Another solution is to clean it, as it can reduce the build-up of ear wax. Only some paper towels and clothes soaked in alcohol should be enough to clean it.

Sounds easy, yes? Maybe it is. But your headphones and ears may need a lot more care than you think. It is necessary to take care of your ear wax build-up to prevent further health problems.

Now, everything will sound sensible once you know why and how you should clean them frequently. So, without further ado, dive right into the article to find out more!

Adult on an airplane wearing Beats headphones while waiting to land.

Do Headphones Increase Ear Wax Production?

Indeed, wearing over-ear headphones may eventually increase ear wax production. It affects the ear canal airflow, which increases the production. Headphones completely block the ear canals. Ear canals line up with skin that controls wax production. Blocking the skin makes them dark and moist. Eventually, they produce more ear wax.

The production of some ear wax is healthy. It transfers dirt from the inside to the out. As a result, it keeps the insides of the ears dirt-free. But as headphones block the ear canals from the air, it fails to transfer it.

The air keeps the ear wax build-up under control; it does not let it grow bacteria. Blocking the air makes the area damp, so bacteria and fungi start growing on them.

Ears are a sensitive part of our bodies. So, turning up the volume of the headphones also increases ear wax production. When these headphones increase ear wax production, you may not be able to hear properly.

As a result, it may lead you to increase the volume. It will eventually lead to a further increase in ear wax build-up.

On the other hand, headphones play a significant role in this matter. Over-ear headphones cause less ear wax production. It is because they do not strictly limit the airflow.

In contrast, earbuds such as the Airpods may greatly increase ear wax production. Such earbuds go inside the ear canals, which blocks airflow. Hence, it is better not to wear tight earbuds for a long time.

Other than just earbuds, you should not wear any headphones that trap air in the ear canals. Ears cannot function naturally without getting air. These could lead to major issues with your ears and health in the future.

Some issues may include loss of hearing, especially for older people.

3 Reasons Why You Should Clean Headphones Frequently

Before you go on to clean your headphones, you should know why you should do it frequently. It will help remind you of the need to clean it every day. After all, forgetting is common for humans. Here is the list of the reasons why you should clean them often:

Leaving Them Dirty Increases The Growth Of Bacteria

As mentioned earlier, headphones increase ear wax production. This sticky or oily substance gets inside the headphones. It happens regularly. The build-up of the ear wax in your headphones will invite bacteria and fungi. Now, it is not healthy for your ears.

Along with the bacteria, there may be sweat and dust that get inside the headphones. In addition, when you throw your headphones in bags and pockets, it catches more dirt. All these dirty elements will enter the ear canals. As a result, there will be high chances of ear infections.

The issue of headphones and bacteria is similar to clothes and germs. Usually, people wear washed clothes every day. There’s a frequent need to go to the laundry due to the growth of germs and bacteria. The same applies to headphones.

Cleaning Them frequently Extends Their Lifespan

You should know that cleaning electronics is healthy for the user and the device. It is not an exception for headphones. The accumulation of earwax, sweat, dust, and bacteria inside the headphones reduces their lifespan.

It enters the system and can disrupt the entire process. Other than blocking its pathways, it damages the circuits inside it.

Cleaning them every day avoids the build-up inside them. Even if you can not entirely clean the headphones, you can reduce some of the dirt. As a result, less dirt interrupts the internal system. And it extends their lifespan.

Sharing Your Headphones With Other Can Produce Bacterias

Sharing headphones may sound normal at first. But it becomes gross when you think about it. Two or more people sharing their headphones would technically mean that they are exchanging their ear wax. Exchanging ear wax indicates that you will also exchange germs and bacteria. As you may already imagine, it may invite greater health issues.

For instance, sharing it with a person with acne-prone skin will invite acne on your skin. In such a way, you may start having allergies and let mites grow on your skin. Frequently cleaning it may avoid or reduce skin and health issues.

It is always good to let people borrow your belongings. But it is mandatory to clean them as soon as they return them. Thus, if you frequently let people borrow your headphones, clean them regularly.

How To Clean Your Headphones?

Properly cleaning headphones will not only keep you safe, but will also keep up the sound quality. It is necessary to clean them in a way that leaves no bits of dust or grease on them.

Now, even if you never got to clean them, following our instructions will help you remove dirt that was built for years.

Firstly, detach the ear cups from the headphones if they are removable. Then wipe the surface area using a damp piece of cloth. You may need to soak the cloth in warm water, or preferably warm soapy water.

It is best to wipe clean its wires, connectors, and cords along with the main area. Then, let the headphones dry.

Secondly, wipe it with a pad containing a seventy-percent solution of isopropyl alcohol. Repeat the previous steps this time. It will kill germs and bacteria on your headphones. Avoid using pads containing too much solution as they may harm the device.

Next, soak the tip of a cotton swab in hand sanitizer to clean the foam mesh. You may also use rubbing alcohol instead of sanitizer.

Gently rub the cotton swab on the surface of the foam mesh and the ear pads. You may rub it in a circular motion or move it sideways. It will help kill any bacteria on the headphones.

However, do not rub harshly. It will only push dirt and bacteria deeper into the headphones. Eventually, it will block the foam mesh and ear pads. Thus, be gentle while cleaning it. Lastly, let it dry for a few minutes before using it. 

Conclusion

So, do over ear headphones cause earwax? After reading through the article, I hope now you got your answer! Headphones and ear wax are directly related.

So, do not forget to clean them every day, especially if you are someone who uses them often. Make it an essential part of your daily routine.

Thank you for staying with this article till the end. Stay healthy and clean!