Are you getting an ear infection from ear plugs? Some people find that this can be a real problem. This is particularly the case if they are used often or for a long period of time.
So why is this? There are three reasons.
- Number one. Your earplugs are dirty. Foam ear plugs are probably the worst culprits for this. After a few uses they can become contaminated with dirt and bacteria. They are difficult to clean and often are not replaced when they need to be. If they are kept somewhere dirty like in a pocket or the bottom of your bag then they can build up dirt in this way as well. When you put the plugs in your ears you are also putting the bacteria in.
- Number two. The earplugs warm up your ear canals. Because your ears aren't being ventilated the temperature can rise slightly. This favours the growth of bacteria and fungus.
- Number three. Your ears are getting moist. For the same reason as number two, moisture builds up in your ear canals. This also favours the growth of bacteria and fungi.
So what is the solution? ZenPlugs solve these problems. The thermoplastic that we use is not porous, unlike foam earplugs. It does not accumulate dirt and germs. It can also be wiped clean and contains an antibacterial compound called Steritouch. They do not need replacing either, lasting for years of normal use. The antibacterial properties counteract the increase in temperature and dampness.
Summary. To summarise, ear infections can be caused by ear plugs in three ways. They introduce bacteria and they raise the temperature and the moisture level of the ear. ZenPlugs moulded earplugs counteract these by being far more hygienic.
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If you think you have an ear infection make sure you visit your doctor. This post does not constitute medical advice.
Dr Toby Bateson