Reports about wireless earbuds overheating, catching, fire and/or exploding are not new. There have also been frequent reports about them causing ear infections as well.
Better earbud habits can prevent needing medical attention
We’ve all done it— popped in some earbuds for a video conference call or just to play some music and shut out distractions. But while earphone use has gotten more ubiquitous and for longer periods of time during the pandemic, if you’re not careful, you could find yourself at the doctor’s office.
As a marketing professional Julia Addis is on the phone talking to people all day long.
“I live in an apartment downtown with two roommates and all three of us are working from the same place, so I had to resort to using headphones,” said Addis.
During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, she says she would use her earbuds two to eight hours a day.
“They’re in basically for meetings all, all day long,” she said.
But wearing earbuds for hours on end can reduce oxygen flow inside the ear canal. Experts warn obstructions can cause wax to build up and mix with moisture, and that can lead to irritation and infection.
“When you use these devices for such a long time, it really does increase the chance of having infections for those variety of reasons,” said Dr. Elias Michaelides, an ENT and associate professor specializing in hearing at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
Dr. Michaelides points out that earbud surfaces are also prime environments for dirt and germs to accumulate.
“If you’re wearing a device for that many hours and you’re using it many times, it could lead to bacteria or wax buildup on the device, which then could lead to increased chance of infection,” said Dr. Michaelides.
For Julia Addis, the earbud overuse turned into severe pain and multiple trips to the E.R.
Read more: Wireless Earbuds Can ‘reduce oxygen flow inside the ear canal’, Increase Infection Risk, Expose Wearers to Harmful Radiation (That wasn’t obvious from the second they appeared was it??)