Air Out your AirPods

Air Out your AirPods

Tess Cornwell

This last year of the pandemic and all its Zoom and Facetime meetings, classes and conversations would not have been as easy if it weren’t for headphones or their “superior” counterpart- enter the airpods. Since December of 2016 airpods have taken over the Apple user’s capacity for convenience. With automatic connection to phones and laptops alike, it seems like a ‘sound’ investment. With appreciation clearly being easy to dole out, we forget that we are not meant to have plastic, nickel, silicone, and acrylates shoved into our ears at the rate that we have been.

According to the Pew Research Center, 53% of Americans say the internet has been essential during this pandemic. With that being reference to only essentials such as work and familial communications during lockdown, consideration must also be given to the increases in social media interaction and use as well, more specifically the increase in Youtube’s traffic, between the years 2019 and 2021 mentioned in another Pew Research Center analysis, found that traffic to the auditory and visually stimulating site has increased quite impressively. With that being said, we can also assume there has been an increase in the usage of headphones and airpods. 

While as humans, we are pretty aware of how to clean our ears, we also need to be aware of how to decrease the likeness of any irritation or infection due to increased use. Cleaning our headphones/earbuds is one of the most important steps to maintaining a safe and sanitary experience, so here are some pointers from Apple (the most notoriously finicky): 

  • Use a soft, dry, lint-free cloth.
  • If your headphones are exposed to anything that might cause stains or other damage—like, soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, perfumes, solvents, detergent, acids or acidic foods, insect repellent, sunscreen, oil, or hair dye:
    • Wipe them clean with a cloth slightly dampened with fresh water and dry with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth.
    • Allow them to completely dry before placing in the charging case.
    • Do not attempt to use them until they’re completely dry.
  • Make sure not to get any liquid in the openings.
  • Clean the microphone and speaker meshes with a dry cotton swab.
  • Don’t use sharp objects or abrasive materials to clean your headphones.
  • NEVER for any reason submerge or wet your headphones

This newfound appreciation for privacy, has created a standard for seeing others while also creating an entire market for how we hear them. We must create the standard for how we care about the parts surrounding this sphere, including our own.