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Should you share those earbuds?

Should You Share Those Earbuds?

Most people wouldn't think twice about sharing their earbuds, but you may want to think again ... because they are covered in bacteria.

Heidi Mitchell, WSJ health and wellness reporter, says "they are pretty germy. If you think about what's going on in your ear canal, it's a nice, hot humid environment for the bacteria to thrive. Then you stick this thing in there, [and] the bacteria like that." Mitchell said that some bacteria, including MRSA, can live for a week on an inanimate object.

However, she said it's not highly likely because headphones and earbuds aren't very good transmitters. A study in India showed that while there was a highly elevated number of bacteria in chronic earbuds users, but there wasn't a higher risk of infections.

To keep earbuds clean as they are tossed in gym bags, use isopropyl wipes to occasionally disinfect them, especially after use in the gym.

The situation isn't really any better with larger over-the-ear headphones as catching lice may be a possibility.

Join the discussion

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Richard April 12 2014 at 12:44 PM

Would you share a toothbrush, a comb, a hairbrush, or how about a used condom. All should be kept for use by the original owner. It's called personal Hygiene folks.

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1 reply
KCAOL Richard April 12 2014 at 2:31 PM

Well said! If others touch it,like knobs,levers, handles, condiment bottles in cafes etc, you are getting their germs! And if you have an scratch, you could very easily catch something.
WASH HANDS WELL, AND OFTEN!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
cgssnavickas April 12 2014 at 2:51 PM

I usually wipe my earbuds with rubbing alcohol at least once a week. Can't hurt.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
Christopher April 12 2014 at 3:54 PM

pretty soon this country will be like the movie demolition man and we won;t be able to exchange bodily fluids anymore . IE : Kiss , Intercourse etc

Flag Reply +2 rate up
chuck April 12 2014 at 9:36 AM

how about you libs just outlaw everything in the world? better yet, outlaw libs, that will save to world.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
2 replies
hna76cldy chuck April 12 2014 at 10:15 AM

Better yet outlaw Trepublicans they are always obstructing everything or punch them in the face!

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
posthuf hna76cldy April 12 2014 at 11:06 AM

Get a clue and do your own research. Listening to liberal media won't educate you.

Flag +5 rate up
sophiebpoodle chuck April 12 2014 at 12:28 PM

Nobody is trying to take anything away from you idiot. NOT EVERY EFFING THING IS ABOUT POLITICS.
You're obsessed. Obsession is a mental illness. Get help.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
mlucid April 12 2014 at 10:29 AM

In other words, you'll never know the difference unless some glib talking head, mewling about gross germy earbuds trys to sensitize you to some non-existent threat. Right. What a load.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
msdrtmover April 12 2014 at 6:16 PM

Nope...not gonna happen! That's just plain nasty!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
rozym786 April 12 2014 at 8:53 PM

personal belonging are not meant for a share purpose, its kind of hygenic aspect, lipsticks,brush comb cosmatic andy personal are absolutely no no no. a foolish person would keep askin for but a smart person would abruptly refuse and make one understand the consequences though.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
tdiplaci April 12 2014 at 5:37 PM

I would not put the earbuds from my best friend in my ears. Some things you just don't share. It would be as bad as sharing a mouthguard or toothbrush.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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