It’s a perfectly normal act in today’s world to borrow a pair of earphones when you need to. But the misery that comes with realizing you’ve left your earpiece at home or don’t have one at the moment for whatever reason, is probably worth more than the dangers involved in borrowing one.
It turns out earphones are a transmission medium for bacteria that can be found in the ear. Sharing your earphones with another person increases your risk of trading dead skin cells, wax and bacteria in your ears.
Now having bacteria in your ear is not a big deal. Almost everyone has it; and it’s usually not a problem until their numbers get too high or new bacteria is introduced. It is here that there is an increased risk of ear infections. Coupled with a tiny wound or exposed hair follicle, the risk of ear infection goes higher.
But wait. Before transferring germs from another person’s ears to yours, using your own earphones might not even be such a very good idea. Why? They plug the little cavity in your outer ear where wax and lots of bacteria can be found, shutting out light and making the place warm – ideal conditions for bacteria to thrive.
When they’re not in your ears and are lying somewhere, earphones also accumulate germs from the surfaces that they come into contact with, which get transferred to our ears later.
As a rule, your earphones must be used sparingly and cleaned regularly, preferably with an alcohol-based disinfectant.
And trading bacteria with others is simply not advisable.