Does using your earbuds excessively, sharing them, or putting them everywhere harm your ears? On flights, for example, earbuds can end up being contaminated by being everywhere from your carry-on bag to your tray table. They can even be contaminated by being on your desk from home. How clean are earbuds and can they be shared?
Your own earwax is good; it helps clean, protect, and lubricate your ears. It also helps keep debris out of your ears. But someone else’s earwax can introduce new bacteria and infection into your ears, even though the chances are slim.
If you have to share earbuds, disinfect them with rubbing alcohol or disinfecting spray. Use a dampened cotton ball to get rid of any waxy residue and invisible bacteria or get disposable earbud covers.
Offering protection against bacteria, earwax is good. But not with sharing earbuds. It introduces new bad bacteria into the ears and can even cause a yeast infection, according to studies. Even though most of the bacteria is harmless, sharing does increase the chances for fungus, middle ear infections, and swimmer’s ear. So, avoid sharing if possible. Also, simply wearing your own earbuds can trap moisture and heat in the ear canal, breeding bacteria.
Use a cloth to wipe the outer ear canal or use a few drops of ear-cleaning drops to soften or remove wax in your ears, so you can hear better and prevent build-up on your earbuds. You can see a professional about earwax buildup if your ears feel blocked. Stress increases earwax, but jaw movements from eating or talking move the earwax to the outer ear.
For more information, contact your hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids.