Wildcats Be Aware: Did you just share your headphones?


Laying in the case, the AirPods collect dirt. Normally, people do not think twice about where they put their headphones, but the outbreak of ear infections should change that.

Ashlyn Mills, Staff Reporter

  The leading cause of ear infection cases increasing are from something we use every day: headphones. What most people are not aware of is that headphones carry the two most present bacteria found in ear infections. Recently, doctors found the link between headphones and ears, exposing the need to clean headphones and quit sharing them too.

  The reason why headphones are causing ear infections is that ears are the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive in. Under the right conditions, the two active bacteria, staphylococcus and pseudomonas, can enter micro-tears in one’s ear, attributing to the unpleasant result- the infection. 

  Different environments come with different varieties of germs, and overlooked infected points of contact can be as simple as a school bag, a desk, pockets, or even a best friend’s ear. While it may be easy to mindlessly toss headphones somewhere for a bit, share music, or let a friend borrow headphones when they are in need, it is way too easy for the transfer of harmful bacteria on headphones to our ears multiply in our ears, given that the moist and heated environment is perfect for bacteria reproduction. Whether or not the wax is visible, the risk of coming in contact with another person’s bacteria is scary enough. 

  Unfortunately, it is a problem that ear infections snowball into serious issues. If untreated, ear infections may lead to inflammation, possible hearing loss, or other neurological complications. Even though that is the worst-case scenario, dirty headphones are an issue that should be called to attention. Even AirPods, which have a case to sit in, can expose people to the same amount of germs as other headphones and possibly more. The case may serve as a miniature incubator for the germs to cling to and thrive inside of if not maintained properly. Senior Emily King said, “I’ll have to remember to be a little more careful in the future. I’m a bit of a germaphobe, so I don’t share headphones that often, but knowing this definitely justifies that!” 

  Appropriate ways to clean headphones are using a cloth or towel, along with a q-tip with rubbing alcohol/hand sanitizer to clean the crevices and outside of the headphone. The Q-Tips can be used to wipe down the small and hard to get to spots of headphones. So at the end of the day, clean your headphones, and do not share them.