You might really suffer from ear infections. The majority of them go away in a few days, but some may take up to several weeks to go away, depending on your situation. You should take the utmost care of your ears during this period, which includes taking your medications on schedule, avoiding any physically demanding activities, and keeping your ears as dry and clean as you can.
Still, you may be wondering if you may continue using your over-ear headphones as you wait for your ears to heal. Perhaps you need to finish some work, which involves listening to music with noise-canceling headphones, or you just want to enjoy some music in privacy.
Fortunately, as long as you wipe them out and don't use them for extended periods of time, you can wear over-ear headphones while healing from an ear infection.
To wear headphones safely, you do, however, need to know more. Thus, I'll delve deeper into relevant issues and research in the parts that follow. Thus, remove your headphones and give your ears a chance to breathe.
Can You Wear Over-Ear Headphones With Ear Infections?
An investigation was conducted in Malaysia to find out if wearing headphones for nearly seven hours a day increases the risk of ear infections or hearing loss in customer service agents.
Based on the study's findings, only a relatively tiny proportion of the workforce—nearly 5%—was found to have earwax accumulation and external ear canal infections. As a result, using over-ear headphones is not the only way to get an ear canal infection or to make it worse.
The good news is that you can listen to music and wear your over-ear headphones without getting an ear infection.
But the main goals of this study were to gather information about the aural health (ear health) of the workers and investigate the relationship between regular headphone use and hearing loss. (Which also led to the conclusion that hearing loss was not primarily caused by listening to audio at medium volume.)
The study did not give priority to the impact of fungi and bacteria on headphones as a result. Rather, they cited a far earlier study that contrasted the growth of germs on pilots' earplugs. This earlier study came to the conclusion that using earplugs does not promote the growth of fungi or bacteria, even if they are not cleaned every day. (For most test participants.)
Thus far, the majority of studies on this topic appear to be positive for humans. However, they are neglecting a few crucial factors: What happens if you lend someone else your headphones? What happens if you wear headphones or earbuds during the day and work out while wearing them?
If you continue with the foregoing practices, I can tell you with absolute certainty that you will either get an infection or make an existing one worse. I'm confident that all otolaryngologists, or ENT doctors, will concur on this as well.
As a result, you must make every effort to maintain good aural hygiene and reduce the risk of ear injury from headphones. Fortunately, you'll find some advice and strategies on how to accomplish this in the section that follows.
How to Avoid Ear Infections When Wearing Over-Ear Headphones？
In case you nevertheless desire to utilize over-ear headphones and keep your ears free from pain, discomfort, and infections, I strongly advise taking into account the following procedures:
1.Regularly clean your earbuds and headphones
Maintaining dust- and germ-free and clean headphones, whether wired or wireless, or hearing aids is the best defense against ear infections. Cleaning them once a week is fine; you don't have to do it every time you take them off.
But if you work out while wearing over-ear headphones or perspire a lot, I suggest cleaning the ear cushions after each workout with an alcohol wipe or damp cloth. Remaining sweat, dust, or grime will cause the earpad liners to degrade and encourage the growth of bacteria.
Taking regular rests and occasionally allowing your ears to breathe are the best ways to avoid getting an infection. It can considerably lower your risk of developing an external ear canal infection. Furthermore, it keeps ear wax from building up within your ears.
Whether you work in streaming, video editing, audio mixing, or another field, you may need to use headphones for extended periods of time. Nevertheless, I strongly advise developing the practice of setting aside 10 minutes every few hours to remove your headphones and allow your ears to relax.
It's also advisable to avoid using headphones when you eat or sleep.
2.Avoid sharing headphones or earbuds
I'm also guilty of this since, whenever I hang out with friends, we share headphones and evaluate the sound quality of each one (trying to figure out who has the better-value headphones). Fortunately, neither I nor my pals contracted any infections, and we cleaned our ears in the same manner as everyone else.
Always clean or sterilize headphones before wearing them if you are sharing them. For added protection, you may also use these throwaway headphone covers.
Having said that, you should never share headphones or earbuds, especially if you have an ear infection, as this increases the risk of developing a bacterial or fungal infection on the skin surrounding your outer ears.
3.Wipe off your ears
Because they think their ears can clean themselves with ear wax, many headphone users ignore cleaning their ears. By attracting and removing microscopic foreign objects from your ears, such as dust, debris, and bacteria, earwax may really keep your ears clean. They can't handle headphones, though, so you'll have to cooperate and assist with cleaning your ears.
Therefore, anytime you're showering or getting ready after working out, you should always try your hardest to wipe your ears. This can be accomplished by using a moist cloth to wipe away perspiration, dust, and debris from the earlobes, helix, and rear of the ears.
On occasion, you can use an over-the-counter earwax softener to perform a "deep clean" and remove impacted wax.
4.Lower the volume
In situations where you're having difficulty answering calls from colleagues while commuting or if you just want to feel that bass kick in a little harder, you might be tempted to turn up the volume to the maximum, especially if your headphones don't do a good job of isolating background noise or handling bass.
Regretfully, spending hours on end listening to loud music damages your hearing, and if you keep doing this, your chances of developing hearing loss increase significantly.
Avoid exceeding the 70 dB limit when listening to music because sustained exposure to sounds louder than this might cause hearing impairment.
If you experience a ringing sensation then a muffled sound, you may have a temporary tinnitus condition or noise-induced hearing loss. If you have tinnitus, you can still wear headphones securely, but you should avoid loud music and give your ears a break. Thankfully, the ringing stopped after a few days.
As you can see, wearing over-ear headphones and playing music at a reasonable volume doesn't make your ear infections worse. But you're inviting yourself to get sick again if you don't use sanitized earphones or headphones and wear them for extended periods of time without stopping for regular breaks.
Thus, use headphones sparingly and pay attention to your body at all times.