If you own a pair of AirPods, they're likely one of your favorite accessories. They have great sound quality, are super convenient, and make you look cool AF. I mean, what's not to like?
Well, according to Dr. Sina Joorabchi, there is one pretty unfortunate downside that can occur from AirPod overuse. It's something called otomycosis, which is a fungal infection that can affect one or both ears.
In a viral TikTok that now has over 36 million views, Dr. Sina shows himself removing a "fungus and earwax mixture" from a patient's ear. This patient claimed to have worn his AirPods "constantly."
To get more details, BuzzFeed spoke to Dr. Sina, who is an otolaryngologist and facial plastic surgeon practicing in Pembroke Pines, Florida.
"Otomycosis occurs in high humidity environments, summer months, or when the ear has been traumatized by a Q-tip. Think of that wet log you lift off the grassy forest floor and notice a growth of mushrooms...it's not so dissimilar to that," he explained.
And, basically, if you put anything in your ears for an extended period of time, you risk raising the humidity in your ears and causing otomycosis. Dr. Sina also said that, depending on which country is reporting and where they are geographically located, research shows that as little as 5% to as high as 81% of people can get it. "But, in general, one out of every eight outer ear infections is reported to be otomycosis," he concluded.
"Earplugs run the greatest risk [for developing otomycosis]...and AirPods are not excluded to this risk, though I do think they are decently vented compared to other 'in the ear canal' headphones on the market," he said. Meaning, ANY type of earbuds — not just AirPods — may leave you with a ginormous fungus ball in your ear!!!
And, if you're wondering how otomycosis is treated, well, Dr. Sina was not shy in saying, "In order to treat it, you must first pluck the mushrooms!!!" After the fungus is removed, the ear is cleaned and prescription ear drops are used for a couple of weeks.
Fungus isn't the only thing Dr. Sina wants AirPod users to be wary of. "People also need to be careful about using AirPods for an extended period of time, as listening length, as well as sound intensity, can cause permanent hearing loss at any age," he said.
"I recommend taking at least a 10-minute break, as your ears can fatigue out just like your knees or ankles after a long run! Use the '60-60 Rule,' as in, do not listen to more than 60% of your iPhone max volume for more than 60 minutes, since length of duration can also cause hearing loss," he said.
So, there you have it — be careful with those AirPods! To see more health-related content from Dr. Sina, be sure to follow him on TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram!