Can You Get Cauliflower Ear From Headphones: Everything You Need to Know
Cauliflower ear is unsightly, and it can lead to a higher chance of other ear-related health problems. Fighters get it all the time, but can you get it from headphones as well? No one wants to worry about ear issues, but we all love music. Oddly, having a cauliflower ear can cause pain and problems with wearing a headset later. Moreover, one way to prevent the condition is to wear protective head and ear wear if you fight, such as that seen on athletes. What causes it exactly? Can you fix it? Should you toss those headsets right away? I’ll explain everything you need to know to avoid cauliflower ear or minimize headset pain if you already have it. Plus, I’ll help you find a good fit for your ears so you can relax and listen to music with your headset worry-free, but don’t turn the volume up too high, or you might end up with unrelated hearing loss.
Can you get cauliflower ear from headphones? There is no evidence that wearing headphones will cause cauliflower ear. Although it’s a common enough fear, the reality is that cauliflower ear comes from trauma, such as repetitive hits to your ear or an infection. So long as you’re not using the headset to hit yourself, then you should be just fine.
Headsets For People With Cauliflower Ear
If you have ever had any ear pain, from a new piercing to a serious infection, then you know how hard it can be to wear a headset. Fortunately, wearing a headset will not cause cauliflower ear, and it may even help in the case of a minor impact. By adding protective padding around your ear, you lessen any blunt force trauma, even when that isn’t what you intended the headphones for in the first place.
Hopefully, if you ever suffer damage or infections in your ears, you will be able to get to a hospital or see a doctor right away. However, those who are not so fortunate may find themselves contending with cauliflower ear anyhow. You can try draining it at home, but that is risky.
A cauliflower ear can begin to form in as little as a day, so it’s vital to take care of it as soon as you notice fluid buildup. Equally important, you should never use ice on a cauliflower ear. The cold can reduce blood flow to the area and lead to increased clotting, which is exactly what you want to avoid.
Additionally, you don’t want to put pressure on the ear while it is swollen. Until it has been drained, this will likely only cause you pain and further prevent proper blood flow to the area. It’s not a good idea to wear a headset within a couple of days of developing cauliflower ear.
After that, you may want to avoid insertable earphones. Since they tend to fit into the opening of the ear canal, they will add outward pressure. Particularly for those with existing damage like cauliflower ear, this can cause more problems than it solves. Though the pain may or may not be a problem, this style increases the chances of impacted ear wax and infections when not cleaned and worn carefully.
Seek out a headset that has over-ear headphones. By surrounding your ear with a ring of foam padding, you can block noise or listen to music and TV without needing to put extra pressure on the ear itself. This style also shouldn’t rub the scarred area, and that will also help prevent discomfort. Unlike earphones that lay on top of your ear, the over-ear style design helps cut down on actual ear-to-device contact.
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What Is Cauliflower Ear
Cauliflower ear is a deformity that is typically the result of blunt trauma to the ears. While boxers often get it, you won’t find many DJs sporting cauliflower ear because headphones do not cause it. If you see someone in headphones with this unique injury, it is safe to assume they got it from something else.
In some cases, an infection may be to blame for the lumpen appearance of cauliflower ears. Anything that blocks blood flow for long enough can result in this condition. Moreover, your best defense against it is to seek treatment for ear issues immediately.
According to WebMD, “When blood flow is blocked, the affected cartilage may die and, without the supportive tissue, fold in on itself. Scar tissue may form, contributing to a swollen and deformed look. Over time, the effects may become more prominent, and they may be permanent. The good news is that cauliflower ear can usually be prevented, even after such an injury occurs.”
When you seek treatment for this condition, your ear may need to be drained. Failing to do so can result in the fluid pocket calcifying, thus creating a distinct cauliflower appearance. However, a properly drained wound is compressed to prevent refilling, and your ears can be spared the unpleasant and permanent appearance of these scars.
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Prevent Cauliflower Ear
People who participate in combat sports like boxing and martial arts are often seen sporting a different head equipment type. This specialized ear and skull protector helps prevent cauliflower ear, among other injuries. However, that’s not the only time you should wear extra head protection. Bicyclists, skateboarders, rollerblades, and other head-injury-prone sports enthusiasts should always wear a helmet.
Sports and fights aren’t the only;y time you need to check an injury for fluid buildup signs. Accidents like falling or getting hit by a flying object can also cause blunt trauma. Furthermore, any infection in the ear, inside or out, should be treated seriously. Even a piercing can get infected and result in blockages that decrease blood flow and result in cauliflower ear.
Health Problems Related to Cauliflower Ear
All too often, people who have cauliflower ears go in for a single treatment and think their worries are ended. Forget about wearing headphones; sheer thoughtlessness is probably the number one reason people end up with permanent cauliflower ears. To be fair, not being able or willing to see a doctor is a close second place.
When you go in for treatment, your doctor will drain any fluid. After that, they may need to put in a few stitches, though not always. You will be given a compress to help prevent the ear from refilling with fluid as well, and you may get prescription antibiotics if the situation warrants it.
It is crucial to listen to your doctor, follow all instructions to a tee, and go back in if you have any problems. Sometimes the fluid will build back up. Failing to re-drain the ear will still result in a cauliflower ear.
Cauliflower ear can lead to other serious side effects. Those who possess this condition are far more prone to impacted wax issues and future ear infections. You will need to monitor your ear health more carefully in the future.
If your ear becomes infected or damaged enough, you may need plastic surgery to rebuild it. In the worst-case scenario, you could end up needing to have your ear amputated. As you can see, discomfort when wearing the wrong headset is only a small part of what could happen.
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The best way to avoid cauliflower ear is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Naturally, avoiding blows to the side of your head will help reduce your chances, but other problems like infections can also cause cauliflower ear to form. Never ignore an ear injury or infection.
If you have already developed cauliflower ear, then finding headphones that work for you may be more difficult. Insertable options like ear pods may never be comfortable. Additionally, any headset that continually presses down on your ears can make the discomfort worse. Don’t settle for more pain. Get over-ear headphones that surround and enclose your ears instead.
There’s no reason to worry about headphones causing ear problems if you wear them properly. Best of all, they do not cause cauliflower ear.