Headphones Hurting Ears? – Remedy For Ear Pain Due to Earphones, Headsets, and Earbuds

Headphones hurting ears? The seamless, hands-free experience we get from some of these devices offer hard-to-beat convenience but comes with their own risks, including ear pain. Even over-the-ear devices like headsets are not left out. That discomfort soils your audio experience. The good news is that the “headphones hurting ears” problem can be fixed.

How long can you wear your air pods or earphones without them hurting your ears? I used to be able to hold them in for an hour max, and that was so frustrating as these accessories have become an important part of our lives, from listening to music, watching movies, and receiving and making calls. They are must-haves.

In this article, we will be sharing remedies for ear pain due to earphones, headsets, and earbuds.

Headphones Hurting Ears? – Remedy for Ear Pain Due to Earphones, Headsets, and Earbuds

To fix the “headphones hurting ears” problem, you will have to either reduce wearing time, learn to place them properly, or get the right-sized ear accessory for your ears. This pain is often caused by how long you have been wearing the audio devices, how they are placed, level of volume, clamping force, and how they fit. So you can tell that the remedy for ear pain due to earphones, headsets, and earbuds lies in the causes.

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How Long You Have Been Wearing Them

Our ears are not made to hold items in them for too long. Also, our tolerance levels differ. For many, they can hold their ear devices in for about 90 minutes before they start feeling any pain while others might start feeling hurt a little earlier or later.


The best thing to do is to remove your earphones and allow your ears rest for a while until the pain has subsided. Your body can fix this on its own if you give it enough time. You do not have to pull your ears to stretch them as this might result in more pain.

How They Are Placed

Since our ears are mostly made of cartilage, when the speaker plate of our earphones or earbuds press against them or squeeze them out of shape, we feel pain after extended use. If your ear accessory is placed such that the speaker plate is pressed directly against your ear or that the surrounding cups on your headset are not wide or thick enough, you will experience ear pain after a short time.


For in-ear headphones, do not place them too deep in your ears. Also, make sure that the long side is sitting alongside your earlobe in-between the small space called the intertragic notch.

For over-the-ear headphones, the cups should be big enough to fit around your entire ear and thick enough to hold the speaker plate away from directly touching your ears.

Getting over-the-ear headsets that enclose your ears and do not allow speaker plates to press against them can buy you more listening time.

Read also: Best Wireless Earbuds for Phone and Business Calls

How They Fit

There is no one-size-fits-all earphone. Like Jony Ive, the Chief Design Officer of Apple said: “making headphones to fit everybody’s ears is like making shoes to fit everybody’s feet.” As such, you should get one that is a perfect fit for you.

For in-ear headphones, if their tips are too large and you insist on “managing” them, they will make you very uncomfortable. On-ear headphones, on the other hand, are normally slightly uncomfortable. So, if on-ear headphones are your ideal choice, you might have to bear with minimal discomfort even with sufficient padding.

For over-the-ear headphones, except they are a poor fit, they are often very comfortable to wear. Their ear cups should be adequately padded and big enough to cover your entire ear. This way, they don’t press on your ears but rest on your head.


For in-ear headphones, find a ear tip that fits your ears perfectly. Some earbuds come with about 3 extra tips in different sizes.

For headsets, make sure they have sufficient padding and cover your entire ear. One other thing you should take into consideration is clamping force.

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Clamping Force

If your headset has a strong clamping force, that is, the force it exerts over your ears as it covers them, you will most likely experience ear pain. A clamping force that is too strong will put too much pressure on your ear cartilage and temporal bones and will lead to ear soreness.


Try out as many over-the-ear or on-the-ear headsets as possible before purchasing one to make sure the clamping force is just right for you. You might try out samples at a store if they will allow you wear them for long enough or those from friends and family members to know what works for you.

Excessive Volume

Even phone manufacturers program our phones to remind us that excessive volume can damage our ears. The pain threshold for the human ear is about 125 dB. If you keep exposing your ear to sounds around this volume for long periods, you might start experiencing ear pain no matter how comfortable your earbuds, earphones, or headsets are.


Listen to your audio and video files at average volume. You reduce your chances of being subjected to pain by doing so.

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