Small earbud-type earphones have been around for a while now. Almost everyone who owns an iPhone has a pair of earpods, and most audio brands’ affordable styles of earphones are in-ear varieties. While many of us probably shared an earphone with a friend or two before, it turns out it’s something we should definitely never, ever do.
Kelly Reynolds, associate professor of environmental health at the University of Arizona also told Buzzfeed US that, “studies have shown that earbuds cause an 11-fold increase in bacteria in the ears and when you share headphones, you’re doubling the microbial flora in your ears and introducing new bacteria.”
Although ear wax is mostly harmless, it comes from a tiny crevasse in your body that is home to endless amount of naturally occurring bacteria and dead skin cells that are unique to each and every person. Earphones spend a lot of time in that tiny dark place, blocking the only exit point for wax and trapping moisture, picking up that bacteria and making earphones the perfect breeding ground for germs.
Furthermore, just think about all the germ-ridden places your earphones come into contact with. Bouncing around the bottom of a bag, on tables, in your pocket and sometimes even on the floor. What does that mean? It means you put yourself at risk of ear infections, in-ear pimples, fungus and other bacterial-driven issues, not to mention the risk of skin infections if you have broken skin, such as a scratch, near to where your earphones sit.
And sharing earphones with a friends adds all of their bacteria to the mix too, meaning everytime you share an earphone with a friend you are increasing your chances of contracting one of these issues.
It’s important to regularly clean your earphones to keep the germs at bay. Apple recommends:
- Using a soft, dry, lint-free cloth.
- Make sure not to get any liquid in the openings.
- Clean the microphone and speaker meshes with a dry cotton swab. Remove any debris from the meshes with a clean, dry, soft-bristled brush.
- Don't use sharp objects or abrasive materials to clean your AirPods or EarPods.
However, it pays to also go over your earphones with a soft cloth and some rubbing alcohol to neutralize as much of the bacteria as possible.
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