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How to Prevent Hearing Loss from Headphones

What do you do when you want to listen to your favorite music on the go? Simple: you get a pair of headphones. Headphones are not only convenient but they also make listening to music enjoyable. However, they can also pose a threat to your ears, especially if you play loud music and use them persistently for long. In response to frequent complains of earing problems, we guide you on how to prevent hearing loss from headphones as you enjoy your music.

A majority of headphone users have reported suffering from ear pain and blamed it on their headsets. In fact, there is a debate on headphone vs earphone hearing damage, and which of them causes more problems. Either way, the problem is real. This is unfortunate, but there are many ways to relieve ear pain caused by headphones.

The knowledge of how to use headphones safely is important in preventing ear damage. To know more about this, let us first, though, let us get an insight into how headphones cause ear pain in the first place.

How Does Wearing Headphones Cause Ear Pain?

There are several ways in which headphones cause ear pain. Here is an insight at the most common:

  • Ergonomic Problems

Headsets are not custom made and as such don’t always fit perfectly. Sometimes they feel too tight or too big for your ears. This leads to soreness around the ears and causes referred ear pain, whereby pain around the ears, in places such as in your jaws, makes the ears hurt too.

  • Sound Pressure

Sound expands the air. Considering that headphones are sealed around your earlobes, the speakers inside expand the air pressure and most of it is directed to your eardrums. Your eardrums can only take so much, and prolonged strain eventually causes ear pain, tinnitus, and even permanent hearing loss. Therefore, it is worthy to explore how to reduce ear pain from headphones before things get out of control. The consequences of persistent headphone use for the reason why it is always advisable to maintain volume to a minimum.

  • Bacterial Infection

Headsets are not the most hygienic accessories. They collect dirt and dust which fosters the growth of bacteria. Sometimes this bacteria seeps into your ear canal and causes infections whose symptoms include ear pain. As such, it is important to clean your headphones every once in a while.

Home Remedies for reducing ear pain from headphones

Fortunately, most cases of ear pain caused by headphones are mild. The pain can be managed and treated right at home in a variety of ways. Through these methods, you can master how to prevent hearing loss from headphones. Some of the tested and proven home remedies for ear pain include:

1. Applying Hot and Cold Pads

Heat and cold have healing properties for pain in general, and they work exceptionally well for mild ear pain.

On one hand, heat helps to relieve the air pressure inside the ear canal. It make the air escape, thus reducing the strain on internal muscles and relieving pain. It is also easy to use: just dip a clean towel in warm water, rinse it, and apply.

For best results, it is advisable to apply the hot pad on the neck and throat too. It should take about 20 minutes for the pain to dissipate, but feel free to hold the pad in place for longer periods if necessary.

Cold pads, on the other hand, help to how to reduce ear pain from headphones. They relieve the pain by numbing the ears. They are especially helpful when the pain is in the muscles surrounding the ears, rather than inside the ears themselves. The pad should be applied in the area below the ears for about 20 minutes.

There is also nothing wrong with applying both hot and cold pads if you find it helpful. However, you will find that hot pads work better than cold pads.    

2. Gently Massaging the Ear

As mentioned, referred ear pain emanates from muscles surrounding the ears and is caused by ergonomic issues with headphones. Massage therapy has proven effective in this case. Applying right pressure on the neck, jaws, and the areas just behind the ears help relax tense muscles and relieve pain. Of done properly massage therapy can also help drain excess fluids in the ears. This way, you can prevent hearing loss from headphones, and in conjunction with other methods.

3. Eating Garlic

How does eating a clove of garlic help relieve ear pain? Doctors cannot say just how, but all you need to know is that many people have alleged it working. It has been a reliable home remedy for ear pain in folk medicine for centuries.

Eating garlic mostly works on mild ear pain caused by bacterial infection, and you may need to eat at least one clove for several consecutive days to experience some relief. To this end, experts recommend complementing it with other home remedies or antibiotics. 

4. Applying Onion or Garlic Oil

Like garlic, onions also have anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties. However, unlike eating garlic, eating onions doesn’t help much. Rather, the best way to harness the healing properties of onions is to apply its juice in your ear. The onion oil not only relieves pressure in the ears but also kills any bacteria that may be causing ear infections.

You should first heat the onion in a microwave for about a minute to soften it and make it easier to extract the oil. Apply only a few drops in each ear and ensure that it seeps into the ear canal. Garlic oil helps as well.    

Medicinal Remedies to Ear Pain from Headphones

Home remedies are most effective for relieving mild ear pain. However, prolonged use of headphones can cause much more severe complications including tinnitus and permanent hearing loss. If you try any of these home remedies and don’t experience relief yet, seek medical attention.

We recommend that you visit your doctor for professional care. Specialized medical care can help you learn how to prevent hearing loss from headphones. they may recommend some of the following remedies;

  • Over-the-Counter Medication

At the very least your doctor will prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs that you can buy over the counter. The most common drugs prescribed for ear pain include aspirin, taking ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. The doctor may also prescribe a stronger medication for severe pain.

  • Surgery

in extreme cases, tinnitus and permanent hearing loss can necessitate surgery. Fortunately, this is rare and surgery is not always necessary, and when conducted it often proves effective.

How to Prevent Hearing Loss from Headphones by Customizing Your Headphones

You don’t have to forego music to avoid ear injuries from headphone use – you can enjoy both. However, you need to learn how to use them safely and reduce the ear pain from the regular wearing of headphone. One is to customize them. There are multiple ways to customize your headphones so that they become both safe and comfortable. Here are some useful tips:

  • Give them a Stretch

The band on your earphones may feel tight and rigid now, but it will loosen with time. You don’t have to wait for days or weeks though – you can loosen them in minutes by giving them a stretch every once in a while. Be gentle when you pull them apart and ensure that the force is even on both sides. You may need to stretch them several times before the fit comfortably. This will relieve the pressure on your head and ears.

  • Buy a Padded Band

The headband on your earphones may feel tight and hard. If this is the case, you should get yourself a padded band. There are many makes that you will find compatible with your headphones. These bands are easy to attach and they feel soft and smooth on your head and ears.

  • Buy Replaceable Ear Pads

Ear pads are not meant to be permanent. Replacements are easily and cheaply available, and you can get better ones than the original pair. Go for ear pads that have a sort leathery cushion that will feel comfortable to your ears. However, the primary purpose of getting ear pad replacements is to avoid the bacterial buildup. 

  • Always Keep the Volume to a Minimum

The main cause of earache among headphone users is high volume. It may feel thrilling to crank all the volume up, but it will come back to bite you. As such, try to maintain the volume to a minimum – just enough so that it is audible.


You can have your cake and eat it when it comes to headphones – all you need to do is to take the necessary precautions to make your headphones safe as advised. Also, select the best gadget that fits your ears. To know which to choose, decide on which is better between headphones and earphones. However, if you do happen to experience ear pain, then try out any of the highlighted home remedies or consult a doctor is the pain persists.