earphones out of their case

Risks to Watch Out for When Wearing Headphones for Long Periods of Time

As years go by, more and more people choose to work from home, which means professional communications require specific forms of technology. Video or voice calls are becoming more frequent. You have to have some long-distance communication device to help you talk to your colleagues—headphones. This is especially true if you have a lot of distractions at home.

Headphones are not only used for long-distance calls, but also for listening to music while you work. This adds to more frequency of use of headphones. If you have in-ear ones, they block airflow to your ears. This may cause some risks to your ears and lead to severe conditions if neglected.

Potential risks

The ear canals are supposed to be open for air. They produce ear wax and transports it in and out of the ears, together with foreign substances, such as oil, grime, and dirt particles that come from the environment. When you block your ear canals for long periods, they become dark and moist, which means a growth of unwanted bacteria can build up. Even though headphones allow more airflow than earbuds, they’re still not enough to offer a proper amount of airflow.

Usually, the device itself—earbuds or headphones—doesn’t result in excess ear wax production. What causes excess wax production is the improper airflow in the ear canal. The more you block air to flow in your ears, the more the possibility of causing the wax accumulation. Additionally, the surplus wax build-up can also lead to infection, which is why you might need wax removal microsuction before that happens.

Controlling ear wax build-up

Giving your ears a break every hour helps the muscles in your ears rest and breathe. This regulates the flow of oxygen and equalizes the moisture in your ear canal, reducing the overproduction of dirt and ear wax.

The insides of your ears don’t need frequent cleaning. Cleaning them with a cotton swab or a Q-tip can push the wax further into the ear canal, which can more likely lead to blockage over time if not removed. What you can do is clean your ears twice a week at most. After a shower, get a cotton cloth and use your pinky finger as a spoon to get excess wax in your ears before they get hard and build up.

That’s the only cleaning your ears require. If you clean your ears more often than necessary, there would be no wax that protects your ears from dirt and bacteria. No protective barrier can also lead to infections and blockage.

It can also affect your jaws

Wearing your earpieces tightly for long hours can lead to pain and damage to you the joint of your jaws since they are right next to the ear canal. If this happens, sharp pain in your ear can be the pain from your jaw. Seek medical help if this happens too often, or better, once you’ve experienced acute pain.

Ear blackheads are possible

headphones and mic at a recording studio

This may be more common than you realize, especially since many people wear earbuds more often.

Here’s a fact: Blackheads and pimples can form anywhere where there are pores, including the ears. This is more common than you think since the insides of your ears are hidden. Ear zits are as common as zits on your face. Unless you try to pop them, it’s nothing to worry about since doing this can lead to infection.

Cleaning your device

Of course, it’s always important to regularly clean things you attach to your body. To clean your earbuds, wait for the earwax to dry, and don’t start when it’s still gooey to avoid spreading it. You can use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to wipe off every grime you find. You don’t want to put it off until later, so it’s best to clean them up regularly to keep dirt build-up to a minimum.

If a soft-bristled toothbrush is within your reach, use it to brush your buds softly to remove gunk off your device. You just need to loosen the debris so you can wipe them off lightly.

Ear wax builds up quickly. The longer you leave it, the more gross and infectious grime can accumulate in your skin.

You need to be aware of these things. Sometimes, you put your can at risk without noticing it, and ignorance can cause skin irritation and infection. Even small things like headphones that you use daily can put your skin at risk, especially since they’re hidden and you don’t notice them. It’s always best to acquire these things before problems can lead to more inconvenience or even more pain.

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