Why Do Headphones Hurt My Ears? (7 Serious Problems To Know)

Why Do Headphones Hurt My Ears? If you enjoy music as much as I do, you are probably aware from personal experience that headphones can cause agony.

Ear cups and ear tips may be so painful at times that they completely impair the listening experience — and I wanted to put an end to it.

Have you ever pondered how to manufacture headphones that aren't painful to your ears?

Reading this article on premature hearing loss made me realize that headphones can create more problems than I previously imagined. So I decided to do some additional studies to find the best solution to such a prevalent problem.


Why do Headphones Hurt my Ears
Why do Headphones Hurt my Ears

Quick Answer, Why do Headphones Hurt my Ears?

Listener fatigue is a symptom that you may be feeling. That is where your eardrums work hard to control the level of sound that enters your ear canal. The higher the loudness, the greater the strain on your eardrums, which results in weariness. The longer you wear headphones, the more likely it is that your ears may hurt.

Why do Headphones Hurt my Ears? (Possible Serious Problem)


Smaller headphones will irritate your ears. Before purchase, you should measure the breadth of the headband because one that is too tight would be uncomfortable and painful. You may not have considered the size of your head before, yet each melon is unique.

Don't believe the myth that one-size-fits-all. You should also look at the size of the cups, because some models may be too big or too little for you if you have unusually large or small ears. If the cushions are too big or too little, they won't fit correctly against the ear and will put pressure on the ear's cartilage, which will be painful.

When purchasing in-earphones, keep the little packet of replacement buds in a safe place. These frequently have smaller and larger sizes that may be more comfortable headphones for your ears. It's especially tricky with in-earphones because everyone's ear canal is different, and what works for one person may not work for the next.

Manufacturers make sizing and design selections based on what they believe would fit the most number of people, but as anyone who has struggled to keep in-earphones and earbuds in place will tell you, one size does not fit all.


Listener fatigue is a fatigued feeling that can arise after a long duration of listening to sound. According to Alex Rowe, it is frequently related to “too much energy in the higher frequencies,” which can be attributed to the way a headset is manufactured or to our own specific sensitivity.

Listener fatigue, according to Sony, occurs when your eardrums are working too hard to process loud sound streaming through the ear canal, putting a significant load on the eardrum. Listener fatigue can only be alleviated by taking a break and removing your headphones.


If your headphone presses against the arm of your glasses, it might cause severe discomfort over time. If you use contact lenses and glasses, it may be worth switching to contacts when wearing headphones for extended periods of time.

Thinner arms are preferable to bigger arms because they put less pressure on the side of the head. Your current glasses may not be suitable for wearing with headphones, so keep this in mind the next time you buy new ones.


Headphones' clamping action is what keeps them securely on our heads and ears; without it, they'd slide straight off. The clamping effect is a significant bonus for those of us who wear headphones when exercising.

It enables us to move around vigorously without having to constantly re-adjust. However, if the clamping effect is too powerful, it can be uncomfortable and painful since the clamping puts pressure on the temporal bone as well as the ear cartilage.

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Stretching the headphones over a row of books or the box they came in is one approach to reduce the amount of ‘clamping' force they have. It is done gently. After all, you don't want to overstretch them, and the clamping effect is required to keep the cans on your head. This should give them some ‘give' and make them more comfortable to wear.


Headphone cushions are supposed to be durable yet comfortable, but if not properly cared for, they can crack and peel. Sweat damage is the most common cause of this.

Sweat is highly corrosive. This will not only look unappealing, but it will also stink. It will also make the cushions feel uncomfortable on the ear. Depending on the type of headset you're wearing, you have a few alternatives.

One option is to get a new set of cushions. Amazon and eBay both have a large number of third-party sellers. Sweat-proof headphone covers can also be added to protect your cushions from moisture damage.

How to Make Headphones Not Hurt Your Ears?
How to Make Headphones Not Hurt Your Ears?


In the winter, our ears can become extremely cold. There’s no fat on them for a start and when the temperature drops, the body reduces blood flow to our extremities in order to keep our vital organs warm.

Cold ears are not only uncomfortable, but they may also be painful, and if you put two cups over them, they will most likely begin to ache. Earmuff covers for headphones can help keep your ears teddy bear soft while you listen to your playlists, podcasts, and songs.


When you wear headphones to listen to music, you throw your body out of equilibrium. Let's face it: wearing headphones is far from natural. As a result, your body has a difficult time adapting to this headgear.

Headphones cause internal pressure by assaulting the eardrums directly. Your eardrums vibrate in order to adapt to louder sounds. As a result, the stronger the vibrations, the more discomfort you will experience. If the vibrations are excessively intense, some companies claim that they can create listener weariness.

To get a sense of the magnitude of this pressure, suppose you're at a rock concert and you're standing right next to a speaker. You'll probably want to go away from the noise at some time because the typical sound level at a rock concert is between 100 dB and 120 dB (which is quite loud).

Consider listening to a sound emanating from your earbuds that can produce 113 dB at full volume. It's like you're at a rock concert in your head! However, while I was trying to figure out how to wear earbuds properly, I assumed I needed to insert them as deeply as possible within the ears. Oh, how wrong I was!

In terms of external pressure, if a headphone set or a pair of earbuds does not fit you properly, they will most likely harm your ears.

When I discovered why my ears had been uncomfortable, I began to wonder whether there was anything I could do to avoid the agony. Fortunately, I discovered some helpful hints to follow, and they have served me well thus far.

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How to Reduce Ear Pain in using Headphones by DIY solutions?

Why do Headphones Hurt my Ears
Why do Headphones Hurt my Ears

Depending on the type and severity of the condition, home remedies for ear pain can involve a variety of solutions. Simple solutions may include the following steps:

  1. Changing the earphones to relieve strain on your ears
  2. Removing headphones or earbuds for an extended length of time can help reduce hearing loss.
  3. Limiting the sound level to 60% or less of the maximum volume and wearing the devices for no more than an hour at a time
  4. Take an acceptable over-the-counter oral pain reliever if it does not interfere with other prescriptions.
  5. If there is no underlying ear illness, use over-the-counter ear drops particularly indicated for pain treatment.

How to Properly Use Headphones to Avoid Ear Damage?

Why do Headphones hurt my Ears Video

1. Keep the Volume Down

Because loud music can cause internal ear damage, try turning down the volume on your music player before listening to it through headphones. The average conversational level is roughly 60 dB, so the music volume should not be much higher.

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However, you may have difficulty locating the decibel intensity on your listening equipment. In that scenario, you should not exceed the volume recommended by your device.

However, take in mind that volume standards vary by company. The bar for models with higher volume levels may be set higher, thus your headphone set may still make you feel uneasy.

2. Reduce the frequency with which you use your headphones

You should also limit the amount of time you wear your headphones because your ears require time to heal. Aside from pain, excessive earphone use might result in noise-induced hearing loss.

But, how much listening is too much?

TIP: Apply the “rule of 60.”

There is one easy guideline to follow, but keep in mind that it is not set in stone. According to “the rule of 60,” you should not use your earbuds for more than 60 minutes at a time. You should also stay to the maximum loudness and dB levels of 60 percent and 60 decibels to avoid hurting your hearing.

3. Invest in Noise Cancelling Headphones

Noise-cancelling (also known as noise reduction) technology is frequently utilized with single-ear Bluetooth cell phone headsets. Its primary function is to eliminate all extraneous noise from the outer world. This allows you to concentrate on the sound coming from the headphones.

You can turn down the volume and still hear everything if there is no outside noise. However, this might be a two-edged sword.

It is possible that not hearing anything from the outside world is harmful, especially in traffic. I almost got hit by a school bus full of rowdy kids a few years back when I opted to use noise-canceling headphones while running some errands.

Learn from my experiences and make sure you're always aware of your surroundings and aren't putting yourself or others in danger if you use such headphones.

4. Wearing Glasses with Headphones Should Be Avoided

When it comes to eyewear, you should concentrate on avoiding spectacles that carve into your head. So, for starters, consider avoiding headphones in favor of earbuds or earphones.

However, if you absolutely want to wear headphones with glasses, there are some less-uncomfortable DIY solutions:

How to Wear Glasses with Headphones?

  1. Reduce the clamping force to avoid squeezing the glasses too tightly against your head.
  2. Get a pair of glasses with flexible, slimmer frames.
  3. Over-ear headphones are preferable to on-ear headphones.
  4. Use thicker and softer cushioned ear pads.
  5. Cut a hole through the ear cushions where the glasses will go.

5. Discover the Best Fit

And here's my best tip on how to wear headphones: get a pair that fits! If you're going to buy a new pair, be sure they're compatible. When it comes to headphones, you want a flexible band that allows you to modify the clamping force. When it comes to earphones, select some with interchangeable tips.

However, as former Apple chief designer Jony Ive stated, making headphones that suit everyone is analogous to making shoes that fit every foot. You get the point – keep looking until you find the perfect headphones for you.

How to Find the Perfect size Headphones?

Here are some more pointers to help you locate the ideal match:

  1. Always utilize the L and R sides in the order they are labeled.
  2. Choose memory foam earpads and cushion cushioning for the headband.
  3. To keep the ear tips in place, use stabilizers.
  4. Find the right clamping force to comfortably position the headphones.
  5. If over-the-ear headphones are available, try to avoid using on-ear headphones.
  6. Get a softer band cushioning.
  7. Determine the proper ear tip size (note that sizes can differ between models).
  8. Check to see if your ear cups are the correct size.
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Why are Noise Cancelling Headphones hurt my Ears?

Some folks simply do not seem to be able to wear active noise-canceling headphones (ANC). In a previous post, we investigated whether noise-canceling headphones were safe to wear. We came to the conclusion that they are safe, but that some persons have expressed sensitivity to the effects of active noise cancellation technologies.

This could be related to the soundwaves released by ANC cans in order to cancel out incoming ambient noise or background noise. One study investigated if the headphones were a factor in one woman's onset of vertigo-like symptoms after wearing them for 12 hours. It's likely that ANC headphones cause motion sickness in certain people.

How do reduce the damage to eardrums from Headphones?

As a result, there are a few things you can do to lessen how much headphones damage your ears.

  1. If at all possible, try them on before you buy to ensure a comfortable fit. Before you buy, double-check the size.
  2. Take frequent breaks from listening.
  3. If you've turned it up, turn it down.
  4. Replace damaged cushions and then add a sweat-proof headphone cover to keep the cushions in good condition.
  5. Add an earmuff headphone cover if your ears are prone to colds.

When to Contact a Hearing Care Professional in Your Area?

Although some at-home remedies can help relieve pain caused by earphones or earbuds, it's critical to get expert help if the condition lasts more than a day or if you suspect an ear infection or injury. A professional hearing care specialist can examine your ears, diagnose the condition, and make treatment recommendations to prevent hearing loss.

Our knowledgeable staff can tailor earbuds to your specific ears and listening requirements. We can also address any other questions you have about the causes and treatments of ear pain caused by earphones, earbuds, and other similar accessories or devices. Contact our friendly team right away!

Final Thoughts on Why do Headphones Hurt my Ears

Finally, I learned that there's no reason why listening to music should be difficult because not every earphone or headphone model is built to fit every ear. As a result, all you have to do is find the right one.

Since I covered some alternative methods for making headphones that don't hurt your ears, you might be wondering what the best answer is. Avoiding prolonged internal and external ear pressure, in my opinion. So, the next time you want to listen to music, figure out how to wear headphones without putting them too close to your eardrums.

I hope you enjoyed this post and found it useful. The hunt for the best headphones will be difficult. However, if you follow the advice I provided you, it will be much easier, as they helped me a lot. Keep in mind that your hearing is in danger – don't jeopardize something so valuable. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends and leave comments.

Headphones Hurti
Headphones Hurti

FAQs About Headphones Hurting The Ears

How do you wear headphones without causing damage to your ears?

Place the headband in the center of your head and each ear cup directly on your ears. Play around with the location where the earpads land on the ear to find a position that allows you to adequately hear the audio without feeling restricting or weird.

How can I improve the comfort of my headphones?

To make your headphones comfier, insert some foam or other padding all the way around the ear pad. This should thicken the pad, allowing more room for your ears inside the cup.

How many hours a day should you wear headphones?

“As a general guideline, you should only listen to MP3 players at levels up to 60% of maximum volume for a total of 60 minutes every day,” adds Dr. Foy. “The shorter your duration should be, the greater the volume.” You should only listen for roughly five minutes every day at maximum volume.”

Trina Oralde

I'm a tech writer and contributor who covers the latest in gadgets and technology. I keep my finger on the pulse of the tech world, so you don't have to. Stay up-to-date on the latest with me!


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