When should you clean the headphones?

It is not uncommon to find earphones covered in wax and collecting dirt. Although it is disgusting, this accessory is in direct contact with our ear, so hygiene should be extreme.

Most likely, we use headphones or AirPods on a daily basis. But if we’re like most, we’ve never bothered to clean them. There are even those who do it in the few days after buying them, with the intention of taking care of the new headphones. However, forgoing cleaning can cause some potential ear problems.

Infection and hearing loss

The ears contain an endless supply of sticky brown wax and natural oils. Every time we insert the headphones, some of this dirt is transferred to the devices. Earbuds also collect dirt and bacteria when they’re not in your ear, whether they’re sitting on your desk or buried in the bottom of your bag.

That is, we do not want to put this accumulation of germs back in the ears. Bacteria in earphones can potentially cause an infection in the skin canal of the ear. But this is not just a potential risk. The use of devices such as earplugs or hearing aids that are not properly cleaned are one of the main factors that can increase the possibility of developing bacterial or fungal ear infections .

The chances of getting an infection are even higher if we use cotton swabs to clean the ears. They are known to wear down the ear canal and allow bacteria to more easily enter the skin.

Another potential downside of dirty headphones is that all that earwax can block your headphone speakers , causing you to turn the volume up higher and higher. Over time, that can set the stage for hearing loss. Even if the volume doesn’t seem too loud, turning it up can potentially boost other frequencies to a higher level that can cause hearing damage.

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How to clean headphones safely

In an ideal world, we’d give headphones a quick clean every day. If that level of commitment seems like too much, try doing it every few days or even once a week . Anything is better than never.

It is recommended that you clean your headphones in the same way that hearing aid patients are advised to clean their devices. We can apply a little isopropyl alcohol on a tissue or cloth and gently clean the headphones. Using wet cloths or chemical cleaners is not recommended. The first one can damage the headphones and the other one could damage the ears.

If stubborn wax builds up on the speaker, we will need to carefully scrape or remove it. There are brushes for cleaning hearing aids with a wax stick, but a dry toothbrush or toothpick will also work. We will only avoid using too much pressure with the toothpick so as not to end up damaging the headset.