Can Earbuds Widen Your Ear Canal?

Today, a lot of music enthusiast love listening to music using the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds. Do you know why? Because they offer rich sound, block out surrounding noises, and they are perfectly clear, portable and super light. When my friends and loved ones ask me what kinds and brand of wireless earbuds with mic they should go for, I frequently recommend xFyro. But just as frequently, most of those friends usually ask some questions such as can the earbuds cause virus? Can they cause vertigo or dizziness? These and many more questions have been addressed in the previous articles.

However, questions about the use of wireless Bluetooth earbuds look like it’s never going to end. There is a question popping up among Bluetooth earbuds users, and this is “can earbuds widen your ear canal?” If you are one of those people asking a question like this, read further as I provide you with information that can help unriddle the question.

What Is The Structure Of The Ear Canal?

The ear canal is the passage leading to the eardrum, and it is also known as the external acoustic meatus. The ear canal is made up of cartilage, bone, fibrous, small hairs, and skin. These are divided into two parts, and they include the bony part and the elastic cartilage part. When you plug your wireless earbuds in your ear and play a song, the ear canal serves as an entryway that the sound waves coming from the Bluetooth earbuds pass through to the middle ear and the inner ear.

Are Ear Canals The Same?

The ear canal’s physical anatomy, size, and shape can vary from person to person dramatically. If you buy a shoe can the shape and size fit every person? Of course, no! The same thing applies to your ear canals. In fact, your right ear canal can be different in size and shape from the left ear canal. Even though the canal of your ear is approximately 0.2-inches in diameter and one inch in length, the length and diameter vary from adult to children and newborn. This is why it is most times important to consider the size of your ear canal before investing in the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds.

Additionally, the result of a scientific study about the typical sizes of ear canal across populations and gender showed that the ear canals of females are approximately 20% smaller than males. It also found that the ear canals of Caucasians are significantly bigger than those of Africans and Asians as a population. This means knowing your ear canal size and going for the perfect wireless earbuds with different sizes of ear tips can help you get a better fit for your ear canal.     

Can Ear Canal Expand? 

This question can be answered based on different situations. If your external auditory canal is narrow, you can expand or widen it through canaloplasty. This is a surgical procedure where the doctor reconstructs the ear canal. So, in a situation like this, yes, the ear canal can expand or become bigger. However, some factors are generally considered to widen the ear canal, and the increase in age is one of them.

There are general comments about the change in the size of your ear canal from a child to an adult. But you know what? Studies showed that the volume of the ear canal does not change with age. However, remember that the older male’s ear canals are larger than the females. Even though the vestibular and auditory systems can experience changes as you grow older, there is a limited and reasonable minimal change within the ear canal.

Can Earbuds Make Your Ear Canal Larger?

Now that you know how the ear canal looks like, their size, and whether they can widen or not, do you think using your best wireless Bluetooth earbuds can make them larger? As at the time I am writing this article, scientifically, the ear canal does not widen when you plug your waterproof wireless earbuds in your ears because they are lined with bone. But from the reviews of many wireless Bluetooth earbuds users, there are a mixed response, results, and comments.

According to a thread on head-fi that discussed “do ear canals temporary expand?” Some of the reviewers believed that the ear canal has cartilages and soft tissues which tend to change a little bit when pressure is applied to it. Also, most of them said they have experienced the temporary expansion of the ear canal after using the wireless earbuds constantly for a long time, but it relaxed back after giving it a rest. How do you think they came about this? Most of them were listing to their favorite hit-songs using the best and exceptional wireless Bluetooth earbuds with mic and efficacious eartips. After that, they changed to earbuds with customized eartips and found it hard to get a good seal.     

Furthermore, there are other suggestions that earbuds can slightly widen your ear canals. Do you know how and why? It is believed that small forces can produce changes to the body over time and the same thing can be applied to the pressure or force exacted on the ear canal walls by the wireless earbuds. Also, this hardly causes any discomfort to the ear.


What Damage Can The Earbud Cause To The Ear Canals?     

You might not be hearing or reading it for the first time that earbuds damage the ear. But have you ever wondered how? Unlike the headphones that sit on the ear, the in-ear devices such as the wireless earbuds sit directly inside the ear canal and channel the sound to your inner ear. So in a situation where you want to drown out of the outside world, you will have to crank up the volume of your device, and this is where the problem lies. Increasing the volume of your Bluetooth earbuds to a loud and excessive level can result in the rupture of earbuds and lead to either temporary or permanent hearing noise. Also, it can carry bacteria and dirt which increases the risk of ear infections.

Additionally, moisture and sweat are trapped in the ear canal by earbuds. But the ear uses ear wax to clean itself. So, each time you plug in your best Bluetooth earbuds the wax is pushed back preventing it from working itself out of your ears. Over time, the wax can build up inside the ear canal and potentially result in impacted wax or blockages.    

Despite all the damages the use of Bluetooth earbuds can cause to your ear canals and ears generally, you can still minimize the risk of the damages through some few practices. Ensure you clean your ears, be mindful of the volume of your wireless earbuds and device, and reduce the time you spend wearing your Bluetooth earbuds. Also, make sure that you clean your earbuds every time you want to plug them inside your ear canals.       

Why Some Earphones Does Not Fit Your Ear Canal Comfortably

From our discussion above, you have seen that most people believe that the reason why their earbuds fall out after using it constantly for some time is due to the slight expansion of the ear canal. However, some other factors may potentially cause the wireless earphone not to stay secure or fit comfortably in the ear canal.   

  • The sleeves or tips of the earbuds may be too large or too small – remember, I have mentioned it before that the size of the human ear canals varies with individuals. This means an individual with large or wide ear canals using a Bluetooth earbud with small or medium tips or sleeves might not achieve a secure and comfortable fit. The earbuds will be falling out frequently. Also, if the ear canal is small and you are using wireless earbuds with big eartips or sleeves, you won’t find it convenient plugging them in your ears. In an extreme case, there are multiple types and sizes of ear tips. There are home-made, spacers, custom fit ear tips, foam ear tips, silicon ear tips, triple flange, bi-flange, and single flange. Regardless of the one you go for ensure you go for the one that will fit well into your ear canals. Luckily, there are wireless Bluetooth earbuds that come with different sizes of ear tips to meet your ear canal size needs. 
  • Slippery ear canal – ear wax can make the ear canal slippery, and this can cause the wireless earbuds for swimmers to slip and fall out. Not only that, the ear canal can be slippery as a result of perspiration. Of course, you can find a solution to this by cleaning the ear to get rid of the sweat, moisture, and wax. 
  • The closeness of your jaw to your ears – There is a joint called temporomandibular on each side of your skull. The joint act as a hinge that allows you to talk, chew, and swallow. Your ears are located behind the temporomandibular joint. So, if your jaw moves, the shape of your ear canal can be altered temporarily. When this happens, the wireless Bluetooth earbuds might shift its position and fall out of the ear canal.

How to Keep Earbuds from Falling Out Of Your Ear Canal

Whether you have small or wide ear canals, some general tips can help to keep your wireless earbuds from falling out of your ear canal.

  • Insert your wireless earbuds into the ear canal properly. Open the opening of one of your ears by using your fingers to pull the top. Place the Bluetooth earbuds in your securely while holding the ear up. When done, release the ear. You can repeat the same step for the other ear. 
  • If the earbuds fall out, remove the ear tips and replace it with another ear tips until you get the ones that will fit into your ear canals perfectly. 
  • You can keep your wireless Bluetooth earbuds secure by placing a tight hat or headband over your ears. 
  • There are some accessories such as ear-shaped covers, custom fit covers and more that can be attached to your earbuds. They can fit behind and over your ear to keep your wireless in-ear headphones in place.    

Can Earbuds Widen Your Ear Canal? : Conclusion

Scientifically and from the different studies available today about the use of wireless earbuds, there is no concrete evidence to show that earbuds widen ear canals. However, there has been many comments and reviews from most people who use earbuds often that there might be a slight change in the size of the ear canal after using earbuds for a long time. If you notice that your ear canal is narrow or wide, you will need to try different sizes of ear tips on to ensure you get the correct fit. There are some top-notch wireless earbuds that provide a nice tight seal and comfortable fits to your ear canal as they come with different ear tips option.