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If Earbuds Are Bad for You, and How Wearing Them Can Be Potentially Dangerous

Are earbuds bad for your health? Prevent damage from happening with this advice from an actual audiologist.

Here at Bright Side, we believe that any device can turn unsafe if not used wisely. We decided to look for an expert opinion on what may happen to us if we overuse our headphones, and here’s what we found out.

You may develop impaired hearing.

According to science, most 30-year-olds should be able to hear a 17-kilohertz sound, which means they could hear an approaching mosquito. But the truth is more and more young people can’t hear at this level at their age. We all have 15,000 hearing cells at birth, but once we lose one, it doesn’t restore naturally. Scientists tie this cell loss problem to the frequent use of headphones. That’s why either listening to music or podcasts without wearing earbuds and turning down the volume may decrease your chances of developing hearing loss.

You may have a wax blockage in your ears.

A buildup of ear wax occurs because earphones stop the wax from coming out of the ear canals naturally. In turn, your ears may become blocked, which can lead to an infected ear. Moreover, earphones act like cotton swabs and can push the wax deeper into the ear canal, which may result in earaches and dizziness.

If you are wearing earbuds, try to clean them after each use. This is because when you’re done using them and then leave them lying around somewhere, a lot of bacteria and dirt can come inside and cause more earwax. You can use an old toothbrush to clean them — or a substance wipe will do too. It’s also recommended to let your ears breathe, so try to use earbuds less. If you really enjoy listening to music in your free time every day, then it may be best to listen out loud through speakers, etc.

Ear infections, a rash, or even an allergic reaction can also be caused by wearing headphones too much, as lots of bacteria can build up.

You may start hearing non-existant sounds, even in full silence.

If you overdose on earphone-wearing, you may develop an annoying sensation of tinnitus. You may start hearing ringing, clicking, buzzing, hissing, or roaring in your ears, even when you’re in full silence and resting. This sensation has no cure, but it can easily be prevented by reducing the amount of times you wear headphones and lowering the volume in your earplugs, scientists claim.

To lessen the effects of tinnitus, it’s recommended to wear custom-made earbuds or join a hearing loss program in case it gets really harmful. While it only affects 10%-15% of people’s ears, it might be good to check with your doctor just in case, and as a result, use your headphones less often. If your child, on the other hand, tells you that they are experiencing something along the lines of tinnitus, it’s recommended to have them use headphones and earbuds less often.

You may get skin problems and acne.

According to medical experts, those who frequently wear big headphones, especially when they work out and sweat, are allowing thousands of unpleasant bacteria to multiply. This may lead to acne and skin infections. Additionally, if you use earplugs, the excessive oil from inside of your ear may start accumulating, creating rich soil for bacteria that may cause ear pimples.

In order to keep your headphones clean, it’s recommended to rub them with a makeup remover wipe, and then use a different wipe to clean the spaces around your ears, hairline, and jaw. It’s also advisable to carry wipes or anti-bacterial materials around with you wherever you go if you tend to use headphones quite often.

Do you know someone who spends too much time with their ears covered? Tag them in the comments below.

Please note: This article was updated in October 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.
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