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Earbuds: Are They Able to Cause Ear Infections?

by Josh Koop | Last Updated:   2 weeks ago
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Earbuds are useful tools for listening to music, playing games, and talking on the phone. However, they might not be safe if you have an ear infection. Read on to learn about how earbuds can cause problems with your ear canal when you have an ear infection!

If you wear earbuds too much, you can get an ear infection. This happens because your ears should not be clogged or obstructed for a long time. If it hurts when you have them in, if there is discharge from the ear, itching, trouble hearing, or a muffled sound, stop using the earbuds and go seek medical attention.

For most this will never be an issue, since normal wear and use is limited in overall time your will be wearing earbuds. But if you are someone who wears them for hours on end and to sleep then this may be something to be concerned about.

If you do wear earbuds for hours on end and go to bed with them in, then take the time to clean your earbuds and ears out thoroughly.

Can Wearing Earbuds Cause an Ear Infection?

Your accessories for workouts or virtual meetings may be putting your health at risk. Sweat, germs, and dirt can all accumulate in earbuds that go straight into your ear, resulting in infections. It’s not so much about how much you use them as it is about cleaning them properly.

Here’s what you need to know:

If you have a cut or scrape on your skin, bacteria can get in. If you put earbuds in your ears then they might hurt the inside of your ear. And if that happens, there will be moisture. When there is moisture and a cut on your skin, the bacteria will grow fast.

There is a connection between earbuds and ear wax. Your ears produce wax to protect them and help with cleaning and lubrication. But if the process is blocked by earbuds, then more wax can build up. And when you put the ear buds in that part of your ear canal, they can stimulate more wax production too.

Moisture can be trapped behind a build-up of wax, especially in more humid areas. This can lead to an increased risk of ear infections which have symptoms of pain, itching, odor and discharge.

Now that you know about the dangers of earbuds, what should you do? The best way to reduce your risk is to make sure to keep your earbuds clean, along with routinely cleaning out your ears and giving your ears a break to breathe.

How Do Earbuds Damage Your Ear?

Most earbuds were designed to make sound better. Unfortunately, the designers did not think about ear health. Earbuds have been linked to a number of ear infections and incidents of temporary or permanent hearing loss in the past years.

The following are some of the ways earbuds harm our hearing:

Earbuds are covered in germs and dirt. Earbuds are so tiny that it’s easy to leave them about. Unless you disinfect your earphones, they’ve undoubtedly amassed a lot of grime and germs. As a result, when you insert them into your ears, they may introduce dirt and bacteria. This might lead to allergy

Earbuds are a major cause of ear infections. Aside from contaminating your ears, earphones can also contribute to the development of ear wax. Because our ears were designed to clean themselves, wearing earbuds might prevent the ear wax that is supposed to be eliminated. Ear wax accumulation can result in impacted ear wax, which may impact your hearing

Earbuds may burst your eardrums. Earbuds are created to be used in the ear canal. The sound’s vibrations travel directly to your eardrums when you increase the volume. This technique may result in your eardrums rupturing, causing potentially irreversible hearing loss.

Earbuds Push Ear Wax Deeper Inside the Ear

Earbuds essentially block the ear canal, which can cause moisture to build inside. This increase in moisture is a fertile breeding ground for bacteria, and if circumstances are right, an external infection can occur.

According to one expert, earbud-related ear infections are rare in young adults, but any person who wears them for a lengthy amount of time is vulnerable. Many individuals wear these all day long now as they take work calls, and they might be shocked to learn that they can acquire an ear infection from them.

For others, wearing them for extended periods of time can clog their earwax in the same way that hearing aids or q-tips do. Swimmer’s ear is caused by impacted ear wax frequently.

People are typically spending up to six hours a day listening to music through earbuds in younger ages. This should be tempered as many experts advise against wearing them for longer than 90 minutes at a time.

What is Swimmer’s Ear?

Swimmers ear is an infection that can affect the outer ear canal, causing pain and itchiness.

Swimmer’s Ear Symptoms

Swimmer’s ear can last up to three weeks and affect the whole canal. The following are the main signs:

Swimmer’s ear affects anybody, but it is more prevalent in youngsters. This should be watched because an ear infection can result in serious damage to the middle and inner ears.

If you have an earache that won’t go away after a few days or it is accompanied by these signs of infection, see your physician as soon as possible for treatment options.

Where You Swim Can Have an Effect

Bacteria are more likely to enter your ear canal if the water is not treated, such as in lakes, rivers, or seas.

The water in a swimming pool is treated to reduce harmful germs, but it still contains germs that cause swimmer’s ear.

How to Clean Earbuds

A popular misconception is that people believe pods have germs on them when, in fact, the bacteria is already present in the ear. Bacteria has a difficult time remaining on a dry environment.

On a weekly basis, I recommend using an alcohol wipe to clean the earbuds. This is likely enough to avoid infections.

Simply clean off any wax buildup on your earbuds with a wet cloth or wipe as often as required to help them function properly.

I also recommend waiting at least 15 minutes before putting in earbuds after you’ve gotten out of the shower as this should let the moisture out before plugging the hole.

Prevent Pain and Infection When Wearing Earbuds

Have you ever had a seemingly uncurable ear infection, or yanked your earbuds out and felt an excruciating suction-like sensation? You are not alone. You probably have more than one story like this.

Listening to music should be a fun activity, and not the reason for pain or other problems. Today we will talk about some of the dangers of wearing earpods and how to prevent them from happening.

When you use earbuds, they are not dangerous. They are safe to use every day. But it can get complicated if you use them for a long time every day.

Earbuds will always introduce dirt and germs to your ears. This is a recipe for infection. Have you ever seen your hands at a through a microscope? Just don’t, you’ll never eat again.

Bacteria that are on your fingers can be transferred to your earbuds. This will go into your ears. The earbuds are in dark, wet places that are perfect for the bacteria to grow.

Frequent and prolonged earbud usage can obstruct the natural egress of earwax from the ear canal. This is not good. Earwax, like other bodily fluids, must leave the ear canal to keep everything clean.

The earwax will move up and out of your ears. It picks up dirt and dust from the earbuds when you put them in. It makes your ears clean, and keeps your eardrums safe.

Final Thoughts on Earbuds with Ear Infections

If you have an ear infection and want to use earbuds, it is not recommended that they be used for more than 90 minutes at a time.

Furthermore, if the eardrum becomes perforated due to prolonged usage of headphones or earbuds with an ear infection, surgery may be required.

If you are looking for safer alternatives when using your ears on long commutes or lengthy working hours, consider noise cancelling headphones which will help avoid hearing loss over time.

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