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Is It Safe To Share Headphones?

CU slow motion handheld. Young women using smartphones sharing headphones and laughing

There are few things more annoying than arriving at work and realising that you’ve forgotten your headphones.

If you’ve got an office job you’ll now get to spend the rest of the day listening to whistling, chewing, sniffing and inane conversation about what’s happening this weekend.

Let’s say some kindly person does offer to save you from the symphony of irritation.

Is it okay to take them? Is it safe to share headphones?

According to PushDoctor.co.uk’s online GP Dr Prudence Knight, it rather depends.


‘This one is a matter of degrees of risk.

All skin surfaces are teaming with microbes most of them either friendly or neutral with the odd bad guy mixed in.

Our ears are no different-covered in bugs which are transferred to headphones or ear buds.

‘The tight fit of earbuds and the potential to get ear wax on them increases the grossness factor but any headphone or earbud is likely to be covered with microbes.

‘If we use someone else’s headphones these microbes can be transferred to our ears.

Most of the time this isn’t a problem but if they carry a particularly nasty bug or we are particularly sensitive we might be more likely to develop an infection as a result.

The risk is small and most people who share headphones or earbuds don’t develop infections.

‘The greater risk is to our hearing from excessive volume especially when using earbuds.’

So actually, it’s probably fine, especially if we’re talking about over ear headphones rather than earbuds.

Just don’t turn the volume up too loud, because as Dr Knight says, that’s actually dangerous.

Source: metro.co.uk

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