For anyone and everyone who is sick and tired of reading pieces about COVID-19, relax. This has nothing to do with COVID-19, the vaccines, masks, distancing, or mental health.

The cool thing about this weird or unusual reason for heading to see your doctor is that by the time you've finished reading this, you'll know whether you will have this problem or not.

Young woman dancing to music
She might have a problem. (Getty Images)
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Shot of a mature man using wireless earphones while out for his workout
Him, too. (Getty Images)
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Even these guys. (Getty Images)
Even these guys. (Getty Images)
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Ear Buds, Air Pods (Whatever You May Call These Little Ear-Phones), Are Giving Illinoisans A Reason To Make A Doctor's Appointment

And it's all about keeping things clean, whether it's the ear buds themselves, or the ears you shove them in to. Headphones collect sweat, dirt and bacteria that can be transferred to your ears and set you up for dangerous infections.

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A report at Buzzfeed.com explains that the nasty downside that happens when you overuse ear buds is something called otomycosis, which is a fungal infection that can affect one or both ears.

Dr. Sina Joorabchi (otolaryngologist and facial plastic surgeon):

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.

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What Can You Do To Avoid These Problems Without Giving Up Your Ear Buds?

According to doctors at Illinois' Rush University Medical Center, start out by keeping them, and the case they're stored in, clean by using alcohol. Also, give your ears a break once in a while.

NBCChicago.com:

An ENT doctor at Rush University Medical Center, Dr. Elias Michaelides says he is seeing plenty of patients with symptoms.

“I would recommend everyone takes their earbuds out for at least five minutes every hour, if using them continuously, to get some air into the ear,” Dr. Michaelides said.

Michaelides also recommends trying out different brands to get the right fit.

“There shouldn’t be any pain or irritation after wearing them."

Check Out the Best-Selling Album From the Year You Graduated High School

Do you remember the top album from the year you graduated high school? Stacker analyzed Billboard data to determine just that, looking at the best-selling album from every year going all the way back to 1956. Sales data is included only from 1992 onward when Nielsen's SoundScan began gathering computerized figures.

Going in chronological order from 1956 to 2020, we present the best-selling album from the year you graduated high school.

10 Bands or Singers Most People Love but Illinois Residents Can't Stand

These are 10 of the most popular artists, bands, and singers worldwide, but some Illinois residents can stand them.