If the idea of sharing a toothbrush with someone else is enough to make you shudder you’re going to want to listen up! As more of us are taking hygiene more seriously than ever, due to the pandemic, we’re trying to pick up habits that make us happy rather than give us the ick!
So if you’re one of those people who share music and earphones with your friends or partner, you may need to prepare yourself. Experts say it's basically just as gross as sharing a toothbrush.
Sujana Chandrasekhar, MD, an otolaryngology partner at ENT and Allergy Associates told Well + Good that transferring ear wax and bacteria can cause ear infections—which can be really nasty.
Sujana told the publication that it’s okay to share earphones and AirPods, as long as you clean them with alcohol before and after. We can safely assume that nine times out of ten that does not happen.
Sujana explains that it’s really important to do this because it’s easy to spread an infection. She said: “If one of you has an ear canal infection… that infection can be spread from person to person.
“Also, if you’re rough or deep with the insertion of the pod, you can cause a superficial scratch of the ear canal skin, which predisposes it to infection.”
It does make you think that if sharing a toothbrush makes us feel so gross, why did we ever think sharing something that goes inside our ear was fine and perfectly hygienic?
Sujana explained that the skin in the ear isn’t like the skin anywhere else because it's “found in a dark, warm place, and that is a fertile breeding ground for both bacteria and fungus".
“Swapping ear wax is just grody (gross) to think about in general, but the other person’s flaky ear wax has no business mingling with your soft, sticky ear wax, and vice versa. Also, if the wax is on the bud and you don’t clean it before putting it in your ear, you’re putting foreign wax deep into your own ear canal. That’s just yuck.” Yuck indeed.
So try your best to avoid sharing earphones, but if you have to make sure you clean them thoroughly, both before and after use.
Naomi is a Lifestyle News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team and has recently earned her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ. She has a background in design, having studied Illustration at Plymouth University but has taken a leap into the world of journalism after always having a passion for writing. She currently writes pieces on beauty, trends, fashion, and entertainment for GoodTo and My Imperfect Life. She also tests and reviews beauty and skincare products and tries out the latest TikTok hacks for My Imperfect Life.
Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.
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