Does Wearing Headphones Increase the Amount of Bacteria in your Ears? Asked by Ahmed from Surrey

When we found this post we were so excited, having searched for over one year for this, discovering it on this website was an exciting time for yours truly.

Hi Ahmed, how’s it going?

So, the short answer to your question is that anything you put in your ear will increase the bacteria levels present, simply by sheer dint of the introduction of a foreign object to your ear. You can consider this to also be true for cotton buds, earplugs and, of course, your index finger. Microorganisms tend to reproduce well in hot and humid environments and the ear, like the mouth and nose, certainly have all the right conditions for a germ-orgy of sorts (sorry for the image).

It has been said that using headphones increases the bacteria levels in your ears over 700 times.

To whatever degree this somewhat alarming statistic is true or false is, quite frankly, virtually impossible to determine. Put simply, there are just too many variables in the equation. Issues arise like ‘how many other people have used the headphones (are they shared devices like audio museum tours)?’ ‘How much bacteria is in the average person’s ear in the first place?’ or even ‘where are the headphones stored when not in use?’

All of these questions (and many, many more) would need satisfactory answers before we could start picking our way toward a definitive answer. According to our old friend Cecil Adams of, the ‘700 times’ factoid has its origins in a 1992 study in which experts measured bacteria found on 20 headsets of the type used by commercial airlines. According to Adams, the amount of microorganisms present on the ‘phones increased by 11 times, not 700 (as is often reported). A year later, the New York Times ran an article that is, according to Adams, the root of the old ‘700 times’ bit.

However, it should also be said that many different kinds of bacteria are vital to living organisms like us and, at any given time, there is an almost indescribably huge level of bacteria operating in your body. Yes, there is an increase in your in-ear bacteria if you use headphones, but it’s really not much different from the bacteria levels you encounter in your day-to-day life.

You may worry that this increase in bacteria can be damaging to your health (that is, after all, a reasonable concern). However, unless you suffer from regular ear infections, or any other easily aggravated ear-related ailments, the answer is a pretty definitive ‘no’.

Maybe if you dangle your headphones in the toilet before use, or get a flu-riddled relative to cough on them, you may have some trouble, but otherwise, the content of your ear is likely to be far more bacteria-friendly than the contents of your pockets (where the headphones are usually kept before use – if I’m any guide, that is).

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Plantronics introduces the Voyager Edge headset & BackBeat Fit sports earphone

Plantronics introduces the Voyager Edge headset & BackBeat Fit sports earphone
Without giving too much about this earpiece short article, but I found it remarkable and related to what Im now doing.

earpiecePlantronics announced the Voyager Edge a compact Bluetooth earpiece and the BackBeat FIT, a pair of sports dedicated earphones at MWC this year.

Built with a rather simple, and stylish look, the Voyager Edge should provide accurate communication in any environment due to its proprietary noise- and wind-cancellation. The headset is bundled with a slew of features like voice commands and Smart Sensors, allowing wearers to answer calls hands-free with a word or as they place the headset on their ear, with Voyager Edge announcing the name of incoming callers. Voyager Edge will be available worldwide starting in April.

Plantronics Voyager

The headset also features responsive sensors that direct calls to your phone or headset, pause music for incoming calls, and automatically answer calls as you place the headset on your ear. It also allows wearers to use their voice to answer or ignore calls, check battery level, connection status, and more. And Voyager Edge announces the incoming callers name no need to look at the phone to check who is calling.

Plantronics Voyager headset

The Voyager Edge charges via microUSB, the Voyager Edge headset provides up to six hours of talk time, or up to 16 hours with the portable charging case.

The second model showcased at MWC is a pair of Bluetooth headphones designed for more of an active lifestyle, the Backbeat FIT. This lightweight, sweat- and weather-proof earphones provide stereo audio without chords.

Plantronics BeatFit

The headset is built to offer certain safety features for people exercising at night. The Fit can provide consumers with bright colours via unique reflective materials on the headband and armband carrying case to increase visibility. The ear tip has been specially designed to allow exercisers to hear environmental sounds, so they are still connected to potential hazards around them.

Matching the headphones theres also a small armband/carrying case for the smartphone while in use, or a pouch for the earbuds when theyre not in use.

Plantronics BeatFit earphones

The BackBeat FIT packs power for a weeks worth of workouts up to 8 hours of listening time. Plus, it offers DeepSleep, a hibernation mode, which keeps the headphones charged and ready to use for up to six months.

The Backbeat FIT and Voyager Edge will be available in Europe, North America, and carriers across the world starting this April. The price-point for both the Voyager Edge with Portable Charging Case and the BackBeat Fit will be 129 / 109.