Are you experiencing headache from headphones and wondering why do headphones give me a headache, If so, here are some causes and remedies to consider.

Do Headphones Cause Headaches? (The Science)

According to the American Headache Society, there are three main types of headaches: frontal sinus headache (FSH), occipital neuralgia (ON), and maxillary sinus headache (MSH).

A different mechanism causes each class. Pressure on the front of the brain can cause FSH, pressure on the back of the brain can cause ON, and pressure on both sides of the skull can cause MSH. Headphones can cause all three types of headaches in various ways.

  • Headache after headphones is the most common problem faced by headphone and mostly earbud users this is mainly related to soundwaves frequently traveling in ear canal with you being taking rest.

    Most people experience headphone headache when they listen to music or watch videos for an extended period.

  • can earphones cause headaches? If you’re experiencing a headache from earbuds, you aren’t using them in the best way possible. Here are some of the most common causes and remedies for headaches from headphone use.

  • why do noise cancelling headphones give me a headache? This is because the headphones force your head down and keep it in a fixed position, which can cause tension in your neck and spine and developing pain to the head.

Headphones also amplify sound, making it harder to hear external noises and causing your ears to overheat.

Do Headphones Affect the Brain?

Yes, headphones can affect the brain. Headphones amplify sound and can also cause pressure on the ears. This can lead to headaches, dizziness, and other problems. 

Why does Wearing Headphones Give me a Headache?

Anyone who’s ever had a headache from headphones knows how frustrating it can be. Here are some of the most common causes of why do headphones give me a headache.

Overuse of Headphones:

Like any other type of audio device, headphone use can lead to headaches if it’s overused.

People who use headphones for extended periods risk developing a headache. Headphones can be a source of tension and stress, which can lead to headaches.

There are various causes of headphone-related headaches, including:

  1. The neck and jaw muscles can get cramped from headphones for long periods. When this happens, the muscles contract painfully, creating a headache.
  2. Headphones can increase pressure inside the skull. This pressure can cause pain in the temples and behind the eyes.
  3. Headphones can also cause ear fatigue and pressure, leading to headaches.

Wearing headphones Too Tight:

Wearing too tight of headphones can cause headaches, according to a recent study published in the journal headache.

The study found that for people who experience headaches regularly, wearing headphones that are too tight can worsen the condition by restricting blood flow to the head.

Wearing Uncomfortable Headphones:

If you’re suffering from a headache because of wearing too-tight headphones, you can do a few things to alleviate the pain.

The most common cause of headaches from headphones is earcup pressure. When the cushions are pushed firmly against your ears, it can cause nerve compression and interference with blood flow. Wearing headphones for an extended period can also cause the build-up of pressure in the inner ear.

Try using an airbag cushion or headphone strap extender to relieve pressure in your ears.  Headphones can worsen symptoms by increasing pressure on the temples and stimulating blood vessels near the eyes. Some people also find that headphones aggravate migraine pain more than listening to music without them.

earcup pressure

Sleeping with Headphones:

Like many people, you may not know that sleeping with headphones on can cause headaches. Headphones are known to block out noise (Noise canceling and Headache are related), which can lead to a lack of sleep and dehydration—combining those two factors with the fact that headphones can put pressure on your ears can lead to headaches.

Also if you have EQ setting in your headphones try to adjust it according to your comfort. It is recommended to see alternative ways to listen music while sleeping.

Wearing Unsuitable Headphones for your Ears:

The most common cause of headaches from headphones is wearing headphones unsuitable for your ears. The ear shapes vary from people to people, Not only the shapes but also the any kind of piercing,

In these cases search for you ear style headphones- if won’t get any it is recommended to wear over-ear headphones- won’t pressurize ears. Also for piercing see headphones for specific type, like tragus headsets.

Many people wear headphones without properly checking if the ear tips fit their ears perfectly. The pressure applied to the outer ear canal can create pressure inside the eardrum, which in turn causes headaches. Wearing headphones that have high clamping force can also causes pressure inside the eardrum.

Padding on Ear Cups that is Too Shallow:

Many factors can cause headache from headphones, but most commonly, the shallow padding on the ear cups of the headphone. This pushes pressure on the eardrum, which in turn causes headaches.

So it is recommended to use perfectly padded headphones and our recommendation is to use Beyerdynamic DT700 ProX and Beyerdynamic 700 Pro.

Ear Tips of In-Ear Headphones that are Improper:

If you’re experiencing a headache from headphones, it’s likely because you’re using an ear tip that is not suitable for your ears, ear tips play important role in increasing comfort of earbuds.

You should try foam eartips for sensitive ears, as ear pain is directly related to headache.

Boosting the Volume:

Many people use headphones to listen to music or watch a movie, but not everyone realizes that the loud audio volume can contribute to headaches.

Many believe that simply turning up the volume on their headphones is enough to cause a headache.

The source of this pain can vary depending on the person, but it is often caused by increased pressure inside the skull. This increased pressure can cause strain on various parts of the brain and lead to a headache.

Wearing with Glasses:

If you’re using headphones and experiencing a headache, it might be because the headphones are not fitted well. In particular, if you are wearing glasses, the pressure on your eyes can cause a headache.

If you’re experiencing headaches from headphones, it’s likely because you’re not wearing the correct type of headphones. Some headphones don’t fit well with glasses, so your ears are compressed, and the pressure on your brain increases.

Get headphones designed explicitly for glasses wearers to avoid headaches from wearing headphones. These headphones will have smaller ear cups that fit more snugly around your ears, and they often come with an adjustable headband to ensure a comfortable fit.

Girl in pink feeling headache

Tips: How To Prevent Headache From Headphones?

When it comes to headaches, headphones are one of the culprits. Here are some tips on how to prevent them from happening in the first place:

Take breaks if you need them:

 When listening to headphones for an extended period, take a break every 60 minutes to let your ears rest and recover. This will help avoid headaches in the future.

Drink plenty of water:

Headache sufferers often experience dehydration due to pain medication or head congestion from the headache. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day if you experience frequent headaches while listening to audio devices.

Use earplugs or earmuffs:

Suppose you must listen to music or watch videos for an extended period. These will help reduce the amount of noise amplified by the headphones, which will help reduce the likelihood of a headache forming.

Make sure you’re using Noise-canceling headphones:

 Noise-cancelling headphones are a good option if you want to avoid loud noises, while over-the-ear headphones are better if you need to be able to hear ambient sound.

Don’t keep your head in one position for too long - move around.

Don’t wear Earphones For A Long Time.

Avoid wearing headphones for extended periods to prevent headaches if you don’t need to.

Wearing headphones for an extended period can build up pressure in your ear canal. This pressure can cause discomfort and eventually a headache. Headphones usually emit high levels of sound, which can be very loud and jarring.

When you listen to music or audiobooks on headphones for an extended period, your brain may get used to this sound level and begin producing more of it to hear correctly. This process is called “neurological adaptation,” which can cause headaches in some people.

Don’t Wear Unless You Are Listening to Something 

Headache is one of the most common symptoms people experience. According to the National Headache Foundation, around 30% of Americans sometimes suffer from headaches. The headache may be mild or severe, but it’s always a nuisance.

Don’t wear headphones unless you are not playing music or listening to podcasts or audiobooks. This can cause headaches because if there is no sound from headphones, there are earcups and pressure constantly on your ears which can cause headaches.

Adjust Headphones According To Your Convenience 

Wearing headphones for extended periods can lead to headaches due to the repetitive pressure on the eardrums.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) states that this pressure can result from

" The size, shape, and stiffness of the headphone earpads, the seal between your ear and the headphone speaker, and how tightly you wrap your head." 

Additionally, tight headphones can cause vertigo or dizziness because they tighten blood flow to the brain. You can do a few things to prevent or reduce your chances of getting a headache from headphones.

First, make sure you choose headphones that fit comfortably. If you’re having trouble finding a good pair of headphones that fit well, try wearing them for a short period and see if that helps.

Second, make sure your headphones fit snugly against your head. Wearing them too loosely will increase the risk of headaches and cause discomfort and fatigue.

Lastly, if you experience any dizziness or vertigo while wearing your headphones, remove them immediately.

Using headphones at low volume:

If you’re one of the many people who suffer from headaches when using headphones, there’s a chance that lowering the volume on your audio devices can prevent them.

Headache sufferers often attribute their symptoms to listening to music or audio at high volumes for long periods. Still, these loud noises can also cause headaches if played at low volumes.

Always use an equalizer to adjust the sound according to your own needs.

Don’t sleep with headphones on:

 If you’re experiencing a headache from wearing headphones, it’s essential to rule out any possible medical causes.

Here are a few things to keep in mind: Do not use over-the-ear or neckband style headphones if you are sleeping because they tend to keep your head stationary while you sleep and can lead to neck pain

Get a good night’s sleep. If you’re struggling with headaches from wearing headphones, make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night by going to bed.

Search for comfortable headphones

You can do a few things to try and alleviate or prevent headaches from headphones. 

  • Make sure the headphones you’re using fit well. Headphones that are too tight or too large can cause pressure on your head, leading to a headache. Opt for snug but not too close headphones that fit comfortably against your ears.
  • Try adjusting the padding on the ear cups of your headphones. If that doesn’t work, try switching to a different type of headphones. Headphones that have deeper padding tend to be less likely to cause headaches.
  • Use noise-cancelling, low-weight, Adjustable headphones.

Try Different Headphones To Find a Suitable Match

Not all headphones are created equal and can cause different types of headaches. 

Misaligned ears, tight bands, and excessive bass can all give you tension headaches. Additionally, some people are more sensitive to sound than others, so test out various models to see which ones work best for you.

Test out different types of headphones. If you usually suffer from tension headaches because of misaligned ears, try out earbuds or in-ear headphones.

If you’re more sensitive to sound, try using over-the-ear or on-ear headphones.

Girl screaming of migrine

What To Look For To Find A Comfortable headphone:

When looking for comfortable headphones, you must consider what type of headphones you use.

There are three main types of headphones:

Over-the-ear headphones cover your entire ear and can be more comfortable than other headphones, but they can also be more difficult to find.

On-ear headphones sit on top of your ears and are generally less comfortable than over-the-ear headphones, but they offer better sound quality. 

In-ear headphones go into your ear canals and are generally the most comfortable type of headphones because they seal in your ear canal and create a moisture barrier.

It is essential to find a comfortable headphones to wear so that you will not experience headaches from wearing them. 

Some factors that you should consider when choosing comfortable headphones are the

Size of the headphone:

 The headphone size is essential because it will determine how much pressure is applied to your ear when you wear it.

The adjustable design of the headphone:

The design of the headphone is also essential because it will determine how tight or loose the fit of the headphone is

The type of material used in the headphone:

The material used in making headphones also directs the user’s comfort. For example, headphones with a headband made of cloth are more comfortable than those with a headband made of metal.

Look at the Weight Of The headphone:

Make sure the weight of the headphone is manageable before making your purchase. If the weight is too much for you to handle, keeping the headphones in place while you’re listening to music or watching a movie may be challenging. 

A lightweight headphone weighs less than 0.55 pounds, whereas a heavy-weight headphone weighs more than 0.75 pounds. 

Look for a Suitable Clamping Force:

With ear cups, headphones sit above your head and catch your ears from both sides. As a result, they exert clamping forces on all sides. Forces like these exert direct pressure on your head.

You must purchase headphones with stretchable strips that fit well with your head size and comfort.

Look for Adjusting Options:

When looking for headphones, be sure to adjust the settings so that the sound level is comfortable for you. This will help reduce the chances of experiencing a headache from the headphones.

They should not entangle your hair. If they do so, then check how to prevent headphone hair. 


We are hoping that this article might be helpful for you and you can know, avoid headache from headphones by just choosing headphones with good padding.

If you still experience a headache after following these tips, it might be best to consult a medical professional. They can help rule out any underlying causes and recommend treatments for your specific situation.

Oliver Dules
Oliver is a distinguished professional who holds a prestigious degree in Technical Engineering from Harvard University. With a solid academic foundation, he embarked on a career path that showcased his expertise and commitment to the field. Over the past four years, Oliver has honed his technical skills and knowledge through hands-on experience at two industry giants, JBL and Samsung. His tenure at these renowned companies has equipped him with a deep understanding of cutting-edge technology and innovative solutions. Oliver's remarkable journey, marked by academic excellence and practical industry experience, underscores his unwavering dedication to advancing the realm of technical engineering.