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Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro earbuds are causing some users painful ear infections

Journalists and more have experienced problems with the earbuds from Samsung.

samsung galaxy buds pro earbuds
Image: Samsung

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro was the first pair of earbuds from the South Korean giant to feature active noise canceling. They released to positive reviews, but an editorial from Chris Wedel at Android Central might have you hitting pause on your purchase, especially if you have any known allergies.

It seems that some of the materials used could cause skin irritation or even infections, and he isn’t the only person affected.

With a premium product, you’d expect a premium experience, with quality sound, quality noise cancelation, and quality battery life. Those things are all true for the Galaxy Buds Pro, but there’s a quality-of-life issue that took only 20 minutes to crop up in Chris’ case – the signs of an ear infection.

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At first, he didn’t know what was happening, so he avoided putting anything in his ears for a week until it cleared up. He didn’t even suspect the Buds Pro at first, as he’s constantly trying different earbuds for work, as well as earplugs for home projects. That changed after the third time of using the Galaxy Buds Pro; when his ear ballooned up.

Yes, that’s Chris’ ear below (heads-up: the picture is a bit gross), swollen like crazy after using the Galaxy Buds Pro after only 45-minutes of using one earbud for a video call.

The next day, it was so swollen that when he went to the doctor, the doctor couldn’t get the otoscope inside to see if his eardrum had ruptured due to the infection. It took three days of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories to get the swelling under control enough so the doctor could finally see that his eardrum was in fact, still okay.

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samsung galaxy buds pro earbuds causing ear infection

It seems that he’s not alone, either. Chris found multiple threads with other affected users, including this one on Reddit from u/satcom805 that seemed to be almost identical to his situation.

Other users needed medical intervention requiring a hospital stay, itchy allergic-style reactions in both ears, and Samsung’s own help forums are full of users who suffered “severe ear infections” or similar after using the Galaxy Buds Pro for short periods of time.

Samsung is going to have to officially respond at some point, as a class action filed in New Jersey back in August alleges that the Galaxy Buds Pro “can cause allergic and inflammatory reactions in wearers’ ears,” and as such, are unfit for purpose. It’s also not limited to only users in the US, as reports from South Korea earlier this year also talk about multiple affected users.

Similar issues were also affecting Apple AirPods Pro users, and those using PowerBeats Pro. Is there a common material being used between all three? The charging contacts on the Galaxy Buds Pro and AirPods Pro contain nickel, which is a common allergen. It could also be something in the silicone ear tips, which other brands aren’t using.

Oh, and in case you were wondering about Chris’s situation? Samsung refunded his purchase of the Buds Pro. He says if you’re having issues, reach out to Samsung straight away to get things sorted out, it’s not worth playing with your health.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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