Your Earbuds Could Increase Risks of Ear Infection: Tips, Treatments and Prevention

So much of our lives are lived in the digital world today - and, often, the way that we connect to digital audio is via earbuds. Whether you’re using earbuds to watch videos, listen to podcasts or take work calls they are very much a part of life for many of us. While there is plenty of advice out there when it comes to turning the volume down on earbuds to keep ears safe, what about the potential they have to cause an ear infection?

How do earbuds cause an ear infection?

There are two ways that earbuds might cause an ear infection:

  1. They can trap earwax in the ear canal and push it further up. This may result in a buildup of earwax that causes an ear infection to develop.
  2. Earbuds can also trap moisture and fluid in the ears. This can create a warm, moist environment in which the bacteria that cause an ear infection can start to thrive.

How do you know if you’ve got an ear infection?

Pain is often the first sign that something is wrong. You may also have itchy ears, notice fluid draining from the ears or find that you’re not able to hear as well as you normally can. If you feel like your ears are clogged up then this is also one of the first signs of trouble when it comes to an ear infection. Some people also experience a stabbing pain in the ear. If an ear infection starts to progress then you may also develop a fever and many people find that they experience nausea with a serious ear infection too.

How is an ear infection treated?

There are a number of different options for ear infections and to ensure that you get the right one you’ll need to speak to your doctor. Antibiotic drops, for example, can be used to treat an ear infection and applied directly into the ear. Antifungal drops or a topical steroid are other options that also work just as well.

Should you avoid earbuds completely?

No, you can still use earbuds and not get an ear infection - here are some tips on how to make sure that you aren’t suffering with ear infections.

  • Clean your earbuds a lot. If you look at your earbuds you’ll notice that there is a wax buildup on them - what you can’t see is that bacteria is building up too. That’s why it’s so important to clean your earbuds as often as possible.
  • Opt for external headphones. This can be a great option if you’re already getting a lot of ear infections. External headphones are also a good choice for times when you are getting particularly hot and sweaty, such as during exercise.
  • If you already have an ear infection, don’t use the earbuds. Wait until the ear infection clears up before you start using them again.

If you want to avoid the risk of ear infections with your earbuds then it’s important to follow these simple steps.

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