WHMC Blog

Are Earbuds Bad for My Ears?

Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to find a person who doesn’t own a pair of earbuds. Listening to music and making hands-free calls are just some of the reasons why we use earbuds. Whether we admit it or not, there are times that we wear our earbuds for long periods of time. Some doctors warn against this and suggest headphone usage instead. But are earbuds really that bad for the ears?

Earbuds vs. Headphones

There are many reasons why people choose earbuds over headphones. For one, high-quality earbuds are definitely much cheaper than premium headphones. Some earbuds even come free with new cellphones and music players. In addition, earbuds are also easier to carry than the bulky headphones. For some people, they prefer the earbuds because they can deliver a more isolating sound on the go. Despite all these benefits, when it comes to our health, earbuds are not the best option.

How Do Earbuds Damage Your Ear?

Most earbuds were designed to increase the quality of the sound we listen to. Unfortunately, the designers forgot to consider ear health. Earbuds have been linked to a number of ear infections and incidents of hearing loss in the past years.

Below are some of the ways earbuds cause damage to our ears:

  • Earbuds carry dirt and bacteria. Since earbuds are so compact, it’s easy to leave them lying around. Unless you sanitize them, your earbuds have probably accumulated a great deal of dirt and bacteria. So the moment you put them in, your earbuds can introduce dirt and bacteria into your ears. This can cause allergic reactions, rashes, or even infections.
  • Earbuds increase your risk of ear infections. Aside from carrying dirt and bacteria, earbuds can also increase ear wax build-up. Since our ears are designed to clean themselves, wearing earbuds can trap the ear wax that is supposed to be carried out. Excessive wax build-up leads to impacted ear wax that can affect your hearing.
  • Earbuds can rupture your eardrums. Earbuds are designed to blast music directly into your ear canal. When you turn up the volume, the vibration of sound goes straight to your eardrums. This practice may cause your eardrums to rupture that may lead to a complete hearing loss.

Finding a Solution

Replacing your earbuds with traditional headphones is probably the easiest solution to minimize damage to your ears.

But if you feel like you can never part ways with your earbuds, you may try some of these steps:

  • Reduce the time you wear your earbuds. You may want to switch to headphones or speakers when you’re at home.
  • Make sure your earbuds are always clean every time you wear them. A simple wipe or gentle cleaning solution should do the trick. You can also wipe with a damp cloth to remove any irritation.
  • Be mindful of your volume. Avoid turning the volume up full blast for prolonged durations of time.
  • Clean your ears. In order to prevent excessive ear wax build-up, clean your ears regularly. You may clean your ears using cotton swabs but make sure to clean only the outer area of the ear. You may also try some over-the-counter ear wax removal aids.

You can minimize the damage that earbuds cause as long as you make sure that your ears are well taken care of. Keep in mind that your ears are very delicate and need constant attention. In some cases, it may simply be better to opt for quality headphones.

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.