Apple’s AirPods Pro are an impressive set of wireless earphones, offering active noise cancelation, transparency mode, and even spatial audio. They’re incredibly popular, but some users have suffered allergic reactions after using them.
If your ears don’t feel right after using your AirPods Pro, you might be allergic to the materials in them. You aren’t alone; lots of other users are also discovering they’re allergic to AirPods Pro despite the fact other headphones don’t give them any reaction at all.
We’ll delve into why this might be the case, how to tell if you’re having an allergic reaction, and what you need to do about it.
Why Are People Having Allergic Reactions to AirPods Pro?
This isn’t the first time an Apple product has caused allergic reactions. The nickel in Apple Watch straps started giving users a rash way back in 2015, as reported by International Business Times.
But an allergic reaction inside your ear canal can be much more troublesome.
Many users who have reacted to their AirPods Pro explained that they can use other in-ear headphones from companies like Sennheiser without any problems. This suggests Apple is using a different material in AirPods Pro that more people have an allergy to.
What Materials Are AirPods Pro Made Of?
Apple hasn’t published the exact materials used to make a set of AirPods Pro. But you can get the basics just by looking at them.
The body of AirPods Pro is made of the same white plastic Apple has used on its accessories for years. Presumably, it’s exactly the same as what you find on wired EarPods and regular AirPods.
At the base of each AirPod Pro stem is a small strip of metal. It’s difficult to say what kind of metal this is without hearing from Apple. Depending on where your allergic reaction is—in your ear or on the side of your face—you might be reacting to this metal rather than the rest of the AirPods Pro.
Finally, the soft ear tips that go into your ears are made of silicone. This seems to be the biggest cause of allergic reactions as most people experience symptoms inside the ear itself, where these silicone tips go.
It’s possible Apple uses a mix of different materials in its silicone ear tips, which could be why some people react to these without reacting to other silicone earphones.
How to Tell If You’re Allergic to AirPods Pro
There are a range of different reactions you might experience if you’re allergic to AirPods Pro. The exact way your body reacts to an allergen is different for everyone. But needless to say, all these reactions relate to your ears and they occur shortly after using your AirPods Pro.
You might have an allergy if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Itchy ear or ear canal
- Swelling and inflammation inside your ear
- Sensitive, dry, flaky, or scabbed skin in or around your ears
- Sore or itchy red rash in or around your ears
- Drainage, leakage, discharge, or ooze coming from your ears
- Stinging, tingling, or painful sensations in your ears
This list isn’t exhaustive; there are plenty of other symptoms you might experience if you have an allergy to your AirPods Pro. Be sure to seek professional medical advice to confirm an allergy and make sure there isn’t anything else going on with your ears.
What to Do If You’re Allergic to AirPods Pro
Of course, the first thing you should do if you find out you’re allergic to your AirPods Pro is to stop using them and speak to your doctor. Get your ears checked out and make sure there aren’t any serious health problems you need to address.
Once you get the all-clear, here are some suggestions about how to protect yourself from another allergic reaction.
Clean Your AirPods Pro
It’s possible you suffered an allergic reaction to dirt or dust on your AirPods Pro, rather than the earphones themselves. To find out if this was the case, follow our guide to clean your AirPods Pro.
Pay particular attention to the silicone ear tips, which you can remove and run under the tap to clean them out. Just make sure they’re bone dry before clipping them back onto your AirPods Pro.
After cleaning your headphones, try using them again to see if your allergic reaction returns.
Clean Your Ears
We aren’t trying to imply that you don’t clean your ears normally, but if you experience an allergic reaction to your AirPods Pro then you definitely need to clean them again.
Don’t insert anything into your ears to clean them except for water or ear drops.
Despite popular belief, inserting a cotton bud into your ear is a good way to damage your ear canal, perforate your eardrum, or create a blockage of ear wax.
After giving your ears a thorough clean, try using your AirPods Pro again to see if you experience any allergic reaction symptoms again.
Change Your Ear Tips
If you think you’re allergic to the silicone ear tips on your AirPods Pro, you’ll be glad to learn that plenty of third-party alternatives are available that don’t use silicone.
Changing the ear tips on your AirPods Pro can get rid of your allergic reaction. Different ear tips can also help your AirPods fit into your ears better and even improve noise cancelation.
Lots of third-party ear tips are available, but we suggest you try some made from a different material to silicone, like these foam ear tips from Comply.
Stop Using Your AirPods Pro
If you’re still getting an allergic reaction to your AirPods Pro, you should stop using them. Putting up with your allergy to keep using your AirPods is a bad idea and could result in serious damage to your ears.
Apple offers a 14-day return period for any products you bought directly. Otherwise, contact your retailer to find out about their own return period.
If you can’t return your AirPods Pro, consider selling them. Like all Apple products, they hold their value well so you should be able to get a good price selling them even though they’re used.
Find Some Alternative Headphones
We love the AirPods Pro, but if they give you an allergic reaction then they aren’t worth using. Luckily, they aren’t the only wireless earphones on the market.
You might have better luck with the original AirPods, which are cheaper and don’t use silicone ear tips. If you still want active noise cancelation, consider the Beats Solo Pro headphones instead.
Dan is a freelance writer based in South West England.
He spent two years supervising repairs as a Genius Admin for Apple Retail and uses that knowledge to keep our troubleshooting guides up to date.
Long before that, Dan turned to Apple products from a musical background. Having owned iPods for years, he bought a MacBook to learn sound recording and production. It was using those skills that he gained a first-class Bachelor of Science in Sound Technology.