Can I Wear Headphones With An Ear Infection?


Short Answer: Generally, it’s best to avoid wearing headphones if you have an ear infection. It can exacerbate symptoms, delay healing, and increase discomfort. However, the decision also depends on the type of headphones and the severity of the infection.

Greetings, dear reader! As someone who’s intimately familiar with the ins and outs of headphones, I often get questions about how and when to use them.

One that stands out, perhaps because it’s rooted in both health and habit, is about wearing headphones during an ear infection.

As someone who’s been there, I know how tempting it is to pop in those earbuds despite the pain. This topic is close to my heart because I understand the importance of music and connection in our lives. So, let’s dive right into this.

1. The Science Behind Ear Infections

An ear infection occurs when the middle or inner part of the ear becomes inflamed due to bacteria or viruses. This can lead to symptoms like pain, swelling, and sometimes a discharge.

You can wear headphones if you have an ear infection. However, make sure that you clean your ears often and that you keep your head straight when wearing them. These precautions can reduce the chances of getting an ear infection.

Fact: According to the World Health Organization, over 1 billion young people worldwide could be at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices.

2. The Risk of Headphones During Infections

Wearing headphones, especially in-ear types, can trap moisture, and warmth, and potentially introduce more bacteria, worsening an existing infection.

Headphones are a must-have accessory in our modern, connected lives – but when it comes to infections like ear infections, they can be a real pain! Wearing headphones, especially the in-ear types, can trap moisture and warmth, creating an environment that encourages bacterial growth.

Tip: If you’re experiencing any discomfort or suspect an infection, give your ears a break from headphones until symptoms subside.

3. Over-Ear vs. In-Ear

Over-ear headphones, which sit around the ear rather than inside the ear canal, might be a safer alternative if you absolutely need to use headphones during an infection. They don’t directly contact the infected area, reducing potential irritation.

One thing to note is that if you have a problem with your ears or your ears are inflamed, you should not wear over-ear headphones.

This is because the earphones will press against your eardrum and cause even more pain. In case of an ear infection, you should first visit the doctor.

Fact: Inner ear infections affect approximately 20 out of every 100 people yearly. Reducing irritants like in-ear headphones can help in a smoother recovery.

4. When To Seek Medical Advice

If you experience persistent pain, discharge, or hearing loss, or if symptoms worsen after initial improvement, it’s crucial to see a healthcare professional.

There are many things that can cause ear pain, including ear infections. An ear infection is caused by the presence of an irritant in the ear canal that causes swelling, pain, and sometimes fever.

The pain can affect your ability to hear, and you may also experience a mild headache, earache, or a feeling of fullness in your ears.

Quick Solution: Always prioritize medical advice over the need to use headphones. Your hearing health is irreplaceable.

5. Keeping Your Headphones Clean

Regular cleaning of your headphones reduces the chances of bacterial transfer. Use a soft cloth, and for in-ear headphones, consider using alcohol wipes occasionally.

Most people know that ear infections are caused by bacteria. If you think that wearing headphones would prevent you from getting an ear infection, you are wrong.

Tip: Make it a habit to clean your headphones at least once a week to maintain good ear hygiene.


Headphones are more than just accessories; they’re an integral part of our daily lives. Yet, when it comes to ear infections, caution is the best soundtrack.

By understanding the risks, making informed choices, and practicing good hygiene, you can ensure that when the music plays, it’s only sweet melodies you hear, not the throb of pain.

Remember, health first, and headphones second. Stay tuned, but always stay safe!


As an expert in headphones and earbuds, I have spent years diving deep into the world of audio technology. My passion for sound quality, design, and innovation has driven me to create this platform, where I can share my knowledge and help others in their quest for exceptional audio experiences.