Interesting Question: What Would Happen If You Never Took Your Earbuds Out?

Anyone who wears contact lenses knows that it’s important to let those eyeballs breath. But what about your ears? What if you never, ever took your earbuds out? investigates.

How long have you left your earbuds in today? Let’s assume you work a job that allows you to listen to music for the majority of the day. That’s a good three to four uninterrupted hours of earbuds jammed into your ears. But what if you just never took them out? What would happen to your ears?

Dr. Anil K. Lalwani is an Otolaryngologist — an ear doctor. If there’s anyone on the planet who can somewhat definitively say what might happen in the event of Endless Earbud Insertion, it’s Lalwani. And according to him, it’s not good.

What would not happen, Lalwani says, is your ears filling up with earwax, because that’s just not how your ear works. Only the outer half of your ear canal produces wax, so jamming an earbud in there wouldn’t create any sort of wax buildup, Lalwani says. In fact, the continual removal and insertion of earbuds is what leads to earwax impaction. “I’ve seen people take the earbuds and push the wax in,” he says. “But not so much where the earbuds sit in there awhile and there’s a ton of wax accumulating.”

Keeping your earbuds in might save your ears from clogging up with earwax, but as a long-term strategy it’s just not a good idea.

Read on.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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