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How Often Should You Clean Your Earbuds

A Brief History Of Earbuds

From as early as the start of the nineteenth century, earbuds have been around as a go-to device for projecting audio output. Earbuds exist in a wide variety taking many forms, from In-Ear Headphones/Monitors, the Classic Earbuds, and the Ear-Hook earbuds. However, before this assortment we enjoy today was available, earbuds existed as rigid ear tubes connected to flexible tubing utilizing a rigid Y connection. The setup also contained ear tips of soft rubber or other suitable material, which is adjustable in the operator’s ear and renewed when deemed necessary.

Is It Cleanup Time For Those Earbuds?

It is advised that you take breaks between earbuds’ usage and allow your auditory canal to recover. The earbud-use-breaks also ensure that your ear canal is well ventilated, which in turn keeps it in a healthy state. A cool-down period of twelve to eighteen hours is enough to ensure your ears reset back to their natural state.

For most earbud users, their earbuds have grown to be an everyday must-have item, which is akin to mobile phones. Be it the wireless earbuds housed in a pod that is also used for recharging or wired equal, earbuds are a rather portable option for sound output devices. The alternative to these would-be headphones, but they are considered rather bulky in comparison.

Just as you would not share your toothbrush with anyone, it is advised that you treat your earbuds, especially the ‘In-Ear’ type, with the same prohibition when it comes to contact with other people.

One of the more common implications of using earbuds is the aspect of one being prone to bacterial ear infections that would otherwise be a low-risk health condition. These infections are caused by the exchange of bacteria from one person’s ear to that of another. If you share your earbuds with other people, you are all at risk of bacterial infection from one another, with the earbuds acting as a mode of transmission. Even without sharing your earbuds with another person, you still may be at risk of contracting bacterial infections from your earbuds, depending on where you store them. The rubber or sponge cover on the earbuds’ tip can act as a suitable habitat for bacteria and other microorganisms.

Earwax (scientifically known as cerumen) buildup is also a great point of concern for ear health matters. Though earwax is a natural body secretion, it can pose a health risk if proper ear hygiene is not maintained. Excess earwax forms up inside the ear due to the improper passage of air, which hinders earwax flow. When you use your earbuds, especially those that get deep into the ear canal, it tightly seals the ear canal. This sealing takes away the pressure difference between the ear canal and the outside world, the pressure that would otherwise come in handy in facilitating the earwax’s secretion. This causes a buildup of earwax, which like every other body secretion, can have side effects if left in the body for too long.

For the case of earwax, it can provide a breeding ground for bacteria that may be existing in the ear or those that would be introduced from external sources. Also, as a result of closing up the ear canal and improper ventilation, moisture builds up, making it easy for one to contract fungal or yeast infections.

How To Clean Up Those Earbuds

When it comes to cleaning earbuds, the result is determined by how often you clean the earbuds, and the cleaning process tasks.

According to experts, earbuds should be meticulously cleaned after every use, and on the extreme of it, they should be cleaned at least twice every week. Another call to cleaning away from the set timelines would be whenever you notice earwax building up around the grooves or ridges of the earbuds. There are perforations or mesh-like structures right above the speaker for some earbuds, which should also be thoroughly cleaned. Experts recommend that it is essential to clean and disinfect earbud pieces and attachments to remove accumulated earwax and kill potentially harmful bacteria.

Rubbing alcohol is a staple when it comes to cleaning earbuds. Other alternatives to rubbing alcohol include alcohol wipes, natural disinfectant, methylated spirit, and pure cleaning vinegar. These fluids are used alongside cotton swabs or soft cleaning cloths used to wipe any visible foreign elements on the earbuds.

Depending on the type of earbuds, cleaning can be done either externally or extended to the earbuds’ internal surfaces. Though rare, some earbud designs allow for the removal of the cap that holds the speaker in place. Uncapping of the earbud makes it easy to clean the earbud’s perforated edge from the inside, which removes any earwax elements that may have been trapped on the inside. Though this method leaves a rather perfectly clean earbud, it can cause other unintended harms if not conducted properly.

Since earbuds are made up of rather small components, there exists the risk of any of the said components being stuck in the user’s ear canal if not properly fastened back. There have been instances of people being admitted to hospitals with foreign objects stuck in the ear canal. Upon proper inspection of these cases, it is discovered that the said foreign objects are parts of the components of earbuds. In some extreme instances, these cases require surgery to remove the foreign objects without causing harm to the ear canal.