Whether listening to music or watching videos, everyone seems to be plugged into their devices, which means having earbuds perpetually stuck in the ears. That can prove dangerous from a health perspective. Here’s a quick look at earbuds, clean ears, ear health, and what to do about it.
Do You Need to Clean Earbuds?
The short answer is: yes. While dirty earbuds certainly won’t make you or your child sick, they can cause complications.
Dirty earbuds carry bacteria like staph aeureus. These bacteria aren’t deadly, but, according to Dr. Abbas Anwar, an otolaryngologist, “If these bacteria become too numerous they can lead to infection.”
Swimmer’s Ear is not just for swimmers. It can occur whenever compromised skin on the inner ear comes in contact with bacteria or fungi. So, if you or your kids are continually putting dirty earbuds in ears, they increase the chances of infection.
You should be especially cautious, too, if you have a child with other skin sensitivities like psoriasis or eczema, since their skin is already more sensitive to irritants.
How to Clean Them
If you have earbuds with silicon covers, the easiest way to clean them is by removing the cover, soaking them in warm soapy water to release grime, then using a cotton swab to clean away any excess. Allow them to dry overnight. Be sure you don’t use them again until they’re completely dry.
If they are wireless or Bluetooth earbuds, cleaning is a bit more involved. It’s recommended to use a dry toothbrush to sweep debris out of the earbuds’ holes, then use rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab to clean out residual dirt. As a final step, clean the entire earbud with an alcohol wipe.
For owners of AirPods, Apple supplies a cleaning guide here.
How Often to Clean Earbuds
If you’re doing a thorough cleaning as detailed above, a monthly session should be enough. You can also encourage your child to use an alcohol wipe after every few uses to keep their earbuds from getting too dirty.
Kids love their gadgets and earbuds are at the top of every tweens must-have list. Like most coveted gadgets, they come with responsibilities. With these easy steps, your kids can keep their earbuds clean and ears healthy.