Headphones Hurt My Ears – How To Fix It?

There are a wide variety of headphones available these days. They can range in type from the small earbuds to the large headphones and all are used to listen to audio on our devices or to cancel the noise of the world around us.

These devices are used directly on our ears and can cause mild irritation, pain and even headaches, if used improperly. Here we will look at the different causes behind your ear pains depending on the device you are using and how to fix it. We’ll also look at the best practices for using headphones.

Reasons for Ear Pain

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Tight Fitting of Headphones

If you are using headphones and suffer from ear pain or headaches, then one of the major reasons could be the fitting of your headphones. Often headphone bands are made of a tight material so that they stick to your head and don’t fall down, but every head is a different size and the tight grip of the head phone might be causing your ear pain. To resolve this issue, use the following steps.

  • Take a box, around the same size as your head
  • Stretch the headphones on the box
  • This will break in the headphones and lose some of its hardness. Depending on the thickness of the headphone, it should be kept for around 24-48 hours
  • After this, take the headphone out and try it. It should feel relatively softer around your ears
  • If the headphones still feels tight, then you might need to try again, or buy a new headphone larger in size

High Volume

No matter whether you are using earbuds or headphones, having high volume will damage your ears and cause pain. This is especially true if listening for prolonged periods. Take the following checks to make sure that your volume is within the desired range.

  • Go to a semi crowded area
  • Sit next to a person
  • Put on your headphones, and decrease or increase the volume until you can hear the person next to you talking
  • That is the volume you should ideally have for your headphones

Skin Condition

It could be the skin around your ears that is causing you pain, especially if you are using headphones. It could be because of dry skin or an allergic reaction to the material used on the headphones.

  • If you have dry skin, make sure to clearly moisturize your ears before wearing headphones
  • If you are having an allergic reaction, characterized by a rash or redness of the ears, then you can simply change the covering of the headphones to a different material, rather than having to change the headphones completely

Shape and Size of Ear

Each person has a different size and shape of their ears. Headphones of all kinds are made for the average ear. This is one of the reasons why some people review one pair of headphones as amazing while another person would review it uncomfortable. It is important that your headphones cover your entire ear and are suitable for you before buying them.

Time Spent with Headphones

Wearing headphones for long periods of time can damage the ears causing pain. If you are listening to an audio above 100 decibels, then you should not be listening to it for more than fifteen minutes. On the other hand, even with normal volume range, you should not keep earing your headphones for more than an hour. If you are in a habit of doing so then set an alarm on your phone and take your headphones off after an hour and let your ears relax.

Brand of Headphone

It is entirely possible that a particular brand of headphone is not suitable for you and could be causing pain. Try changing your brand to see whether it reduces the pain.

Placement of the Earbuds

If you are using earbuds and they are causing you pain, then you need to take the following steps to ensure you are using them safely:

  • Do not put the ear buds in your ear canal
  • Pull on your earlobe and gently fit the bud into the open area, making sure that the plastic area (if you have plastic earbuds) is lying along your earlobe
  • The earbuds are meant to sit comfortably on your ears, not inside your ear

If the pain still persists, then it is possible that the buds are not suitable for your ear shape. Try to change the type of earbud you are using or try using headphones, to check whether they are more comfortable for you to wear.

Long Term Damages of Headphones

Wearing headphones are safe only if you are listening to them at the recommended decibel level and taking breaks between uses. If you are not careful you can suffer from the following problems:

  • You can get an ear infection. Putting ear buds inside the ear canal, rather than letting them rest inside the outer ear, can introduce bacteria and cause the infection
  • Becoming desensitized to loud noises
  • Tinnitus, where a person can hear noises like buzzing, ringing or humming in their ears
  • Hearing loss

Best Practice for Headphones

The one way to avoid potential problems leading from incorrect earphone usage is to follow the given best practices.

  • Always adjust your headphones, if they are causing pressure to your ears
  • Take off headphones and let your ears rest if you have been wearing them for long periods of time
  • Keep sound level beneath 60% when using headphones
  • Lower your volume to almost zero before putting on headphones, so that you do not get a loud sound when you start your audio, as that can cause damage to the ear drums
  • Clean your headphones regularly when a dry cloth to clear any bacteria or harmful substance on them, before using them
  • Make sure that you are wearing the earbuds properly
  • If you are having an allergic reaction to the material of the headphones, then change your earphone to different material, if possible
  • If your pain persists, make sure to get it checked out by a doctor to figure out if there is a medical cause behind the pain

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