Headphones are a ubiquitous accessory in today’s world. However, recent studies have shown that headphones can have negative effects on our ears, including damage to the ear cartilage.
In this article, you can get answers to various questions like; do headphones hurt ear cartilage? why do my ears hurt while wearing headphones? and how to stop headphones from hurting your ears.
What is Ear Cartilage?
Ear cartilage is the firm, elastic tissue that forms the outer ear. It is made up of a network of fibers and cells that provide support and structure to the ear.
Unlike other types of cartilage, ear cartilage does not have a blood supply, which makes it more vulnerable to injury.
How Do Headphones Hurt Ear Cartilage (The Science):
The science behind headphones and ear cartilage discomfort lies in the pressure that is exerted on the ear cartilage.
When headphones are worn for extended periods of time, they can put pressure on the cartilage, leading to inflammation and pain.
The pressure on the ear cartilage is dependent on several factors, including the type of headphones used, the duration of use, and the volume level.
In-ear headphones and earbuds are more likely to cause ear cartilage discomfort as they sit directly inside the ear canal.
Over-ear headphones distribute pressure more evenly and are less likely to cause cartilage damage.
Why Do My Ears Hurt While Wearing Headphones and Earbuds (Causes and Preventions):
Explore some of the most common causes of ear pain while wearing headphones and provide tips on how to prevent earbuds hurt cartilage.
1. Headphone overuse may damage the ear:
One of the most common causes of ear pain while wearing headphones is overuse.
When headphones are worn for extended periods of time, they can put pressure on the ear canal and surrounding tissues, leading to inflammation and pain.
To prevent ear pain caused by headphone overuse, it’s important to take regular breaks from wearing them.
Try to limit your headphone use to no more than 60 minutes at a time, and take a 10 to 15-minute break between sessions.
2. The small size of headphones:
The small size of headphones, especially earbuds, can cause discomfort and pain in the ear canal.
To prevent this, consider switching to over-ear headphones, which distribute pressure more evenly across the ear and reduce the risk of ear canal damage.
3. Unadjustable Headbands:
Headphones with unadjustable headbands can cause discomfort and pain around the ears.
To prevent this, choose headphones with adjustable headbands that fit your head properly.
4. A poor fit of headphones:
Headphones that don’t fit properly can cause discomfort and pain in the ear.
To prevent this, choose headphones that fit your ears properly. Look for headphones with adjustable ear cups or ear tips, and try different sizes until you find a comfortable fit.
5. High clamping force:
Headphones with high clamping force can cause discomfort and pain around the ears.
To prevent this, choose headphones with a lower clamping force, or adjust the headphones to reduce the pressure.
6. Loud Volume:
Listening to music at a high volume can cause damage to the ear and lead to discomfort and pain.
To prevent this, keep the volume at a moderate level and take regular breaks from listening.
Additional Health Risks of Loud Noise Exposure:
Headphones can cause significant damage to the ear cartilage, according to a recent study.
The study found that when people listen to loud noises for an extended period through headphones, the ear cartilage can mechanically stress and eventually break.
This can lead to decreased hearing ability and even deafness.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that a person regularly exposed to loud noise can experience other health issues besides hearing loss, such as:
- high blood pressure·
- increased heart rate
- cardiovascular disease
If you’re concerned about your exposure to loud noise and want to reduce your risk of health problems, it’s important to avoid using headphones whenever possible.
Instead, try listening to music or audio with speakers.
7. Damaged Ear Cushions of headphones:
Damaged ear cushions can cause discomfort and pain around the ears.
To prevent this, replace damaged ear cushions as soon as possible.
8. Ear cups with shallow padding:
Ear cups with shallow padding can cause discomfort and pain around the ears.
To prevent this, choose headphones with deeper padding or add additional padding to the ear cups.
9. Over-inserting the in-ear headphones:
Over-inserting in-ear headphones can cause discomfort and pain in the ear canal.
To prevent this, insert the headphones only as far as is comfortable and avoid pushing them in too deeply.
10. In-ear headphones with incorrect ear tips:
In-ear headphones with incorrect ear tips can cause discomfort and pain in the ear canal.
To prevent this, choose ear tips that fit your ear canal properly.
Related: Foam Vs Silicon Eartips
11. Not cleaning headphones:
Not cleaning headphones can lead to the buildup of earwax and other debris, which can cause irritation and pain.
Related: How to clean headset Earpads.
To prevent this, clean your headphones regularly with a mild cleaning solution and a soft cloth.
Also Read: How to disinfect heaphones.
12. Not doing regular exercises:
Not doing regular exercises can cause tension and pain in the neck and shoulders, which can lead to discomfort and pain around the ears.
To prevent this, do regular exercises to improve posture and relieve tension.
13. Using headphones that are not for use with glasses:
Using headphones that are not designed for use with glasses can cause discomfort and pain around the ears.
To prevent this, choose headphones that are designed to be worn with glasses or adjust the headphones to fit comfortably over your glasses.
Earphones hurt ear cartilage (How to Protect Your Ear):
To protect your ear cartilage from headphone-related injuries, it’s important to take several steps.
- Consider using over-ear headphones, which distribute pressure more evenly across the ear and reduce the risk of cartilage damage.
- Noise-canceling headphones can also be helpful, as they allow you to listen to music at a lower volume, reducing the pressure on the ear cartilage.
- Taking regular breaks from using headphones and adjusting the volume to a moderate level can also help prevent ear cartilage damage.
- Additionally, practicing good hygiene by keeping your headphones clean and avoiding sharing them can help prevent ear infections that can lead to cartilage damage.
In conclusion, ear pain while wearing headphones can be caused by a variety of factors, including overuse, poor fit, high clamping force, loud volume, and incorrect use.
To prevent ear pain, it’s important to take regular breaks from using headphones, choose headphones that fit properly, and keep the volume at a moderate level.
If you experience ear pain while wearing headphones, stop using them immediately and seek medical advice if the pain persists.
In addition to taking preventative measures, there are several things you can do to treat ear pain caused by headphones.
These include using ear drops or pain relief medication, applying a warm compress to the affected area, and doing neck and shoulder exercises to relieve tension.
It’s also important to note that if you experience persistent ear pain or discomfort, you should seek medical advice from a healthcare professional.
They can examine your ears and provide a diagnosis, as well as recommend appropriate treatment.