How To Comfortably Wear Headphones? (The Ultimate Guide)

Assume you've just purchased a new pair of headphones and are eager to put them to use. You put on the headphones, but something doesn't feel quite right. You're feeling a little uneasy – not so much that it hurts, but just enough to be noticeable and annoying that it distracts you.

Do you start to wonder how to comfortably wear headphones?

As silly as it sounds, a lot of people have this problem, especially if they're using headphone models, they're not used to. In most cases, this is due to improperly wearing your headphones.

Here is a quick method to try:


How To Comfortably Wear Headphones?

This is how to wear headphones comfortably. In-ear headphones are often worn straight down, with the cable dangling on the front or back. Because these are in-ear headphones rather than earbuds, you should wear them snugly by pushing on your earlobes while inserting the ear tips to produce a reliable seal inside the ear canal.

How To Comfortably Wear Headphones?
How To Comfortably Wear Headphones?

As a result, this article will serve as a guide to help you wear your headphones correctly in order to get the best overall comfort while retaining the full functionality of your device. We'll also go over some pointers to keep in mind to avoid discomfort during your listening experience.


Can you imagine trying to listen to your favorite album while constantly having to readjust your headphones, or watching a movie while having to keep your headphones from falling off? Doesn't exactly sound like the best-case scenario, does it?

These are just a few of the issues that can arise if you don't wear your headphones correctly. But it doesn't stop there. Incorrectly wearing your headphones can cause headaches, as well as pain or discomfort in your ears.

Wearing your headphones incorrectly can also have an impact on your performance during certain activities, such as working out or going for a run, due to the cable getting in the way of your movement.

You might be thinking to yourself that it’d be near impossible to have fun under these circumstances, and you’d be right! As a result, wearing your headphones properly can significantly improve your overall listening experience.

However, in addition to allowing you to get the most out of what you're listening to, wearing headphones correctly can also allow you to get the most out of what the headphones have to offer.

Another thing is wearing your headphones correctly will help with their maintenance and longevity because you'll be using them in the way the manufacturers intended. Based on the headphone design, you can also expect better music quality from the headphones because a proper fit ensures a more reliable seal for good music isolation and breathability.


In addition to your personal preference, the proper wearing technique will be determined by the type, build, and overall music quality of the headphones you're using.

Because headphones products come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and designs, different techniques for wearing your headphones for a perfect fit are required. Here's a quick guide to the best practices for each type of headphone.

Wear Headphones Comfortably
Wear Headphones Comfortably

1. How To Wear On-ear And Over-ear Headphones Correctly?

On-ear and over-ear headphones may appear similar at first glance, but there are significant differences that can affect your overall experience with them. In general, on-ear headphones products are smaller and more compact than over-ear headphones.

These headphones have small ear cups that sit on top of your ears but do not completely cover them. The Bowers & Wilkins PX5 is an excellent example of on-ear headphones.

Over-ear headphones, on the other hand, have larger ear cups that cover your ears. The padding on the ear cups is large enough to completely cover the ears and form a secure seal around them. The Sony WH-1000XM4 is one of the year's most recognizable over-ear earphones.

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The instructions below apply to both on-ear and over-ear headphones.

  1. Determine the left and right sides of the on-ear/over-ear headphones. You can usually find “L” and “R” markings on each side which suggests the proper orientation.
  1. Put on the headphones after you've ensured proper orientation. Place the headband in the center of your head and each ear cup directly on your ears.
  1. Play around with the area where the earpads rest on the ear to find a position that allows you to properly hear the audio without feeling too constricting or awkward. For over-ear headphones, make sure the earphones completely encompass your ears. It is beneficial to position the headphones so that your ears are in the center of the ear cups, with no part of your ears protruding from the pads.
  1. Make the necessary adjustments to other parts of the headphones. You can adjust the height of the headphones, the clamping strength of the headband, and even the placement of the cable (for wired earphones) so that it doesn’t get in the way. Feel free to play around with the positioning until you find the most comfortable fit.

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2. How To Wear In-ear Headphones And Earbuds?

The same can be said of in-ear headphones and earbuds, with both devices looking similar but having distinguishing features that set them apart. In-ear headphones products are designed to stay inside the ear.

Soft material (such as silicone and foam) ear tips on these headphones help keep the device in place while forming a reliable seal inside the ear.

Earbuds, on the other hand, do not actually stay in your ear canal. These, on the other hand, are specifically designed to remain in the space just outside of your ear canal (concha). Earbuds typically lack soft ear tips and instead have small drivers that sit just outside the ear.

For earbuds:

The steps for wearing earbuds are almost identical to wearing on-ear/in-ear headphones, with the only difference being that you should make sure that the earbuds are sitting comfortably on the crevices of your ear folds to keep them from falling off.

  1. Determine the earbuds' left and right sides. On each side, you'll usually find “L” and “R” markings, indicating the proper orientation.
  1. Put on the earbuds after ensuring proper orientation. Place each earbud on the corresponding side of your head, making sure the concha of your ear fits snugly.
  1. If you're still having trouble keeping your earbuds in your ears, you might want to look for accessories that you can pair with your earbuds to keep them from falling out. There are numerous options available, such as getting ear hooks or wingtips, so shop around to see what works best for you.

For in-ear headphones:

There are two main ways to wear in-ear earphones, depending on how they are made. The over-the-ear/around-the-ear method and the straight down method are the two options.

The KZ AS16 and Sennheiser CX 300S are examples of over-the-ear in-ear earphones and regular in-ear headphones, respectively.

The primary distinction between the two is that the former uses special ear tips that require the earphone drivers to be positioned in such a way that the wire can loop around the ear, whereas the latter uses regular ear tips.

Straight down in-ear headphones:

In-ear headphones are typically worn straight down, with the cable dangling on the front or back. Because these are in-ear headphones rather than earbuds, it's best to wear them snugly by pulling on your earlobes while inserting the ear tips to ensure a reliable seal inside the ear canal.

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Another thing to consider is to take care not to force the in-ear earphones into your ear canal! Apply enough pressure to keep the headphones in place, but not so much that you feel pain or discomfort.

  • Determine which side of the in-ear headphones is left and which side is right. On each side, you'll usually find “L” and “R” markings, indicating the proper orientation.
  • Put on the in-ear headphones after ensuring proper orientation. Put each ear tip on the opposite side of your head. On the other hand, gently pull your earlobe to create enough space to gently push the ear tip inside your ear canal.
  • Position the wire in front or behind you, depending on your preference.

Over-the-ear/around-the-ear headphones:

These in-ear headphones are made with wires that loop around your ears for better security and to prevent them from falling off during movement. As mentioned earlier, these headphones usually have wingtips or ear tips that require a different positioning to keep the drivers in place.

  • Determine which side of the in-ear headphones is left and which side is right. On each side, you'll usually find “L” and “R” markings, indicating the proper orientation.
  • Put on the in-ear headphones after ensuring proper orientation. Put each ear tip on the opposite side of your head. With your other hand, gently pull on your earlobe to create enough space to gently push the ear tip inside your ear canal.
  • When wearing over-the-ear in-ear headphones, the lower end of the headphone driver (the part that connects the cable to the driver) should be facing upwards.
  • Loop the wire over your ear and secure it snugly in place.
  • After looping the wire over your ear, position the rest of the wire in front or behind you depending on your personal preference.
Reduce Discomfort When Wearing Headphones
Reduce Discomfort When Wearing Headphones


These are general tips for users that want to ensure a comfortable experience while wearing their headphones.

1. Choose The Right Type Of Headphones

The most reliable way to determine the best type of headphones for you is to try them on and get a feel for each of them. This enables you to determine which headphones are the most comfortable for you.

It's helpful if you have friends or family who have different headphones you can try on or borrow for a few hours to see if you have any issues wearing them for that long.

2. Always Check The Fit

It doesn't matter how expensive or high-quality your headphones are if they don't fit you properly. Although this tip primarily applies to in-ear headphones with replaceable ear tips, it is useful to be aware of the significance of proper fit for other types of headphones as well.

Here's how to find the best in-ear headphones for you:

  1. Put on the headphones and listen to any music with the stock ear tips.
  2. Remove the stock ear tips and replace them with ear tips of a different size that are compatible.
  3. Play the same music you were just listening to.
  4. Determine whether the music quality and your overall comfort improved or deteriorated.
  5. If it improves, leave the ear tips in place and stop here. If the situation worsens, feel free to try a different size.
  6. Repeat the process until you find a pair of ear tips that improves music quality while also being the most comfortable and having the best fit.

3. Remove Eyewear Or Jewelry That Could Get In The Way

When wearing headphones, it is not advisable to wear earrings or other ear piercings because these objects can cause discomfort or pain as well as damage to the ear cups or headphone padding.

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Another thing is it is possible to wear glasses or eyewear with headphones, it may necessitate a little more effort to ensure that it does not interfere with your overall listening experience. If you want more information on how to do this, read our article on how to wear glasses with headphones.

4. Repeat With The Right Ear Hole And Adjust As Necessary

You can now repeat the process with your right ear, now that the other bud is comfortably resting on your other ear.

The reason you must do it from one ear to the other is so that you can adjust it. Even ears can be asymmetrical at times, and you simply need to position the earbuds so that they are comfortable for you.

5. Choose The Right Material

Most people don't realize it, but you don't have to use the stock headphone pads or ear tips if you prefer something different. It's a good idea to experiment with different materials to determine which one you prefer.

Also, replacing headphone pads can be difficult, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the type of headphones you have and how the pads are attached to the drivers. If you believe you require additional assistance, please see our comprehensive guide on how to replace headphone pads.

6. Be A Responsible Headphones User

Being a responsible headphone user means putting your ear health and comfort first. Even if you wear your headphones properly, there is a chance that you will experience some discomfort if you wear them for several hours at a time.

If at all possible, take breaks every hour or so by removing your headphones and gently massaging your ears to allow them to breathe. It also helps if you can keep your device's audio at no more than 80% volume.

How To Properly Wear Headphones?
How To Properly Wear Headphones?

CONCLUSION: How To Comfortably Wear Headphones?

You should now be able to wear your headphones comfortably for the best listening experience if you keep these tips and detailed instructions in mind.

You should not only be able to wear headphones as they were intended, but you should also be aware of what to look out for in order to reduce overall discomfort when wearing them.

FAQs On Wearing Headphones Properly

How can I make my headphones more comfortable?

To make your headphones more comfortable, stuff 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.

What is the harm of wearing headphones?

Headphones worn over or around the ear can cause pressure damage to the pinna, the outside part of the ear. Bending or squeezing the delicate cartilage of the pinna while wearing headphones can be painful, and you risk causing a skin abrasion that could become infected.

Is it OK to wear headphones the whole day?

The normal use of in-ear devices rarely causes a problem. However, prolonged earphone use, such as leaving them on all day, may: compress the earwax, making it less fluid and more difficult for the body to naturally expel. Compact the earwax to the point where the body starts to itch.

Do headphones loosen with use?

When left there for a day or so, the tension in the headphone will relax, allowing for a proper fit with no discomfort. It is important to remember to go slowly because too much stretch in a short period of time can cause a break or crack in the headband if it is stretched too much.

Barry Moroney

Hi, Barry here. I'm a tech writer and blogger. I write about the latest technology, gadgets, and software. I also provide the best how-to and guides on the latest sound systems. I'm always excited to share my knowledge with others!


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