“If music be the food of love, play on.” – William Shakespeare
There is no doubting the fact that music plays an integral role in our society today. A creative artform, a great source of entertainment, a part of many cultural activities, and an important part of our education system, it is deeply woven into our daily lives. In fact, the music industry in the United States alone was estimated at $17.2 billion in 2016 and predicted to rise to over $22.6 billion by 2021.
Over the years we have watched as technology has changed, grown and evolved, making our music listening experience easier and more convenient than ever before. From vinyl records to cassette tapes, CDs and today relying heavily on digital tracks and music streaming, we have access to our favorite music everywhere we go. Today it’s as easy as pulling up a playlist on our computer, tablet or smartphone wherever we happen to be, facilitated by noise-canceling headphones and earbuds. With current Bluetooth technology, we aren’t even tied to our devices by a cord any longer. There couldn’t be a better time to be a music lover!
However, with each new invention comes new risks and concerns that we, as consumers, need to be aware of. For example, as we continue to create more powerful noise-canceling headphones, these devices are capable of incredibly high-volume levels which, with prolonged use, may damage the user’s hearing. Understanding these risks, we can take the necessary steps to keep ourselves safe.
A new risk has come to light recently regarding the prolonged use of earbud-style headphones. Often preferred due to their small and inconspicuous size, many earbuds today even come with the ability to adjust volume levels, control your music and even answer phone calls. However, have you considered the potential risks of wearing these devices for long periods of time without the necessary care both for your ear and the earbud itself?
While the idea of blackheads certainly isn’t new, we are all familiar with their presence on areas of the face such as the nose and chin, many people don’t realize you can actually get blackheads inside your ears. For this reason, the team of professionals on the TV show ‘The Doctors’ decided to speak out and warn their viewers about the risks including clips of a viral YouTube video that has, at the time of this article, been viewed over 11 million times. The video shares the eight-minute extraction session of two blackheads, which are actually connected beneath the surface, inside of someone’s ear.
What can you do to avoid suffering the same fate? It’s as simple as a little preventative hygiene and maintenance. When you are showering, ensure that you take the time to wash the outer part of your ears. You can also clean this part using a cotton swab between showers. This part of the ear is often overlooked as it isn’t the part accumulates a wax buildup, however, it is the part of the ear that actually requires our attention more.
The other step that should be taken is to ensure that your earbuds are also cleaned regularly. Dirty earbuds are associated with more than just blackheads – they may also cause serious ear infections. The process is incredibly simple. You don’t need any extravagant or harsh cleaners; a simple mix of soap and warm water will work. Using a gentle cloth and a small amount of the mixture wash down all surfaces of your earbuds. To avoid damage to the electronics, do not run them directly under water or submerge them, even for a second. Instead, using the cloth, get all crevices of the device. Some styles have removable silicone covers for the ears – these should be removed and cleaned separately to ensure that nothing is missed.