After putting on the headphones over a period of time continuously, our ears start to hurt little. We have all experienced that one time or the other, or you may be even experiencing it now!
So, why do our ears hurt when we use the headphones? What must we do to prevent it? Or how do we find one that will not hurt our ears? These are just some burning questions that you will find the answers here.
Types of Headphones
Before heading on the question of why it’s important that you have an idea of the type of headphone that you are using. Headphones that we find today are basically of three categories. They are the in-ear, on-ear, and over-ear headphones.
To explain it in simple, the cushion in in-ear headphones sits comfortably inside, but in on-ear headphones, it presses down on the ears. In the over-ear headphones, the cushion fits over the ear.
It’s sometimes difficult to find the most comfortable headphones to buy. You might even be surprised to find that exclusive brands like Sony or Bose may even hurt the ears. Comfort is what we must look for when it comes to headphones, and very often, it is a personal affair. It is easy to assess design and technology but doesn’t forget comfort if buying the headphones online.
Some evident reasons as to why headphones hurt our ears
Size of the headphones matter
Headphones that are smaller than the average size or very small will hurt the ears. So, before making the purchase, look out for the width of the headphone. Getting one that’s very tight may end up to be painful and uncomfortable.
It’s quite obvious that everyone’s head size is different, starting with yours. So, don’t make the mistake of assuming that one size will fit all.
You should also consider the cup size too. If your ears are especially small or large, then you might find that some models are a poor fit for your ears. Also, if the cushions end up being too small or too big, then they cannot rest properly against the ear. The maladjustment will be uncomfortable for the ear due to the pressure on your ear’s cartilage.
When you get in-earphones, it’s practical to keep the packet of replacement buds carefully in a proper place. The packet often includes a larger and a smaller size that might fit your ears comfortably. With in-earphones, it is particularly difficult as every person has different ear canal. What might fit for one person may not sit properly for another.
Manufacturers basically make the shape and sizing decisions basing on what will fit most people as general. But often that is not the case for someone who finds it difficult to keep earbuds and in-earphones. They will say that one generalized size is not always the one that fits all.
You might have Listener Fatigue
Listener fatigue is the tiredness feeling that occurs due to listening to sound over a prolonged period. As per Alex Rowe, it is related to excessive energy in higher frequencies.
According to Sony, it is related to your eardrums working too hard when processing loud volume. The fatigue will only be addressed by taking breaks and keeping the headphones down.
Do you wear Glasses?
When the headphone presses down the arm of the glasses, it causes significant discomfort. If you wear glasses and contact lenses alternatively, then it would be the best switching to contacts if you’re going to wear your headphones for long periods. Also, switching to thinner arm glasses will lessen the pressure when using the headphones.
On-Ear headphones’ clamping effect
The headphones’ clamping effect is what keeps them secure on our ears and head. It helps and prevents the headphone from sliding off. If you wear headphones during your exercise, you know the necessity of it. The big clamping plus allows you to move about freely with no restriction.
However, if the clamping effect is strong, it might become uncomfortable and cause pain to the ear. It may put pressure on the cartilage and the temporal lobe of your ear.
A way of reducing the effect is to loosen the headphones by stretching it using books or maybe even the headphone box. But make sure that it is done gently and that you do not over-stretch the headphones.
Damage on the headphone cushions
Headphone cushions are generally designed comfortable and robust. They often tend to peel and crack if not taken proper care. The main reason for the damage is sweat. Sweat is quite corrosive. Not only does it look unsightly, but it also smells pretty bad too.
The sweating also makes the cushions feel uncomfortable in the ear. You can opt for headphones that are sweatproof such as availing covers to protect from moisture damage.
Wearing over-ear and on-earphones during the winter
For a start, there are no fats in our ears. So, they tend to get stone cold during the winter. In order to keep warm, our body works harder. Now, the cold ears are not only uncomfortable but also end up to be painful when using the headphones over a long period. In order to keep the pain away during the winter, cover your ears using ear-muffs over the earphones.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
For some people, wearing noise-canceling headphones also add to the pressure on the ears. Sensitivity technology might not be suitable for many people. The reason may be due to the fact that soundwaves emitted by such headphones may counteract the incoming ambient noise.
The use of active noise cancellation headphones may also stimulate motion sickness. Studies also show that wearing such causes of vertigo-like symptoms in women.
Besides, the mentioned reasons, some other possible causes are:
- Excessive volume – Sustained exposure to loud sounds, about 125dB can adversely affect the hearing.
- Excessive treble – The crisp treble range is related to listeners fatigue. If you listen at a generally large volume, it can be the cause of the ear pain.
- Extra-large ear cups or tips – using extra-large ear tips or cups also add to the ear pain by making it sit uncomfortably in your ear.
- Poor fit – Having earphones that are probably too small or too big for your head also adds to the discomfort and pain. The clamping issue may also add to the discomfort.
Tips and guidelines to help you
Here is a list of tips or guides to help you if you are having the issue of ear pain due to headphones.
· Before buying the headphones off the shelf, try it. Make sure that they sit comfortably over your ears.
· Check the headphones for proper fit and size according to your ear.
· Every so often, take timely breaks from listening. It will not only reduce the chances of the pain but also help you to prevent it from occurring.
· Listen at a moderate volume. Take into consideration your eardrums as well as the decibel threshold.
· Maintain the cushions and see to it that they are in ample shape. Replace the wrecked ones and also opt for sweat covers.
It might not be easy to find the headphones that fit you right easily. However, it’s your money that you are going to invest. So, take the time to research and try some before finalizing and buying one. It will be totally worth the time it takes to find the one that fits you right.