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How to reduce ear pain from headphones

how to reduce ear pain from headphones

I hear the cliche’ that hearing problems are for seniors. In fact, most people believe that hear loss only happen on the elderly. For sure, you will be shocked to learn that one out of every five teenagers does suffer from some level of hearing loss worldwide. Also, the hearing loss rate in teenagers is 30% higher than what it was in the 1990’s.

These statistics make it important for each one of us to learn how to reduce ear pain from headphones and adopt some preventive measures. The World Health Organization (WHO) found out that up to 1.1 billion young adults and teens do suffer from ear pain majorly caused by headphones.

Connection of the hearing loss with headphones

Although there are several causes of hearing loss like going for concerts and noisy sporting events without hearing protection, unsafe use of headphones posed the greatest threat. Try bearing in mind how often people listen to music since music devices became transportable.

People do listen to music at home, in the car, at their place of work, gym, drifting for a sleep, while running or working and much more. People do combine music in almost every aspect of their lives.

If not cautious, the exposure level can quietly and slowly steal your hearing. Here are important ways one can use to help reduce ear pain and hearing loss from the headphones. Here are 7 quick ways of reducing ear pains from headphones.

1. Limit the volume of your headphones to safe levels

Setting your headphones to more than 85 decibels is capable of causing pain on your ears and permanent hearing loss. However, you need not purchase a sound meter by yourself to help in measuring the decibel levels.

The best idea is to ensure you keep your music player volumes at levels not louder than 60% of the maximum volume. Going higher than that will mean you are past 85 decibels. Just listen at the safe levels. You can learn more about safe headphone volume for iPhone and that of Android.

For example, when the MP3 players are at their loudest, they are able to pump out over 105 decibels. Keeping in mind the decibel scale just like the Richter scale, 105 decibels is 100 times more intense as 85.

During normal conversation, 60 decibels is usually registered. Hence, when listening to music and have to raise your voice whenever you are speaking to someone that is a sign that you need to lower your music volume.

2. Limit the time you listen to your headphones

Ear pain is not only the volume’s function. It can also be caused by time. The longer you will be exposing your ears to louder sounds the higher and more intense the pain can be. This brings us to the 60/60 rule. Previously, we did suggest that you can keep the volume of your MP3 player at 60% of the maximum volume.

Ensuring that you limit the time of listening to music to under 60 minutes a day is the other aspect. You need to keep in mind that low volumes will help in making the listening times longer. It is also advisable for one to take routine breaks from the sound since having 2 hours of uninterrupted 60 decibels can be very damaging when compared to four and a half hour intervals that are spread throughout the day.

3. Choose the right type of Headphone

One main reason why most people do have difficulty in keeping their headphone volumes at fewer than 60% of the maximum volume is due to the background noise.  For instance, when environmental noise increases like in the gym, one will always have to compensate by increasing the volume of the music.

The best remedy to consider many factors before buying yourself a headphone. In the guide on Buying Bluetooth or Wireless Headphones you will get knowledge on how to select the right headset or earphone. For example, using the same guide, you can select a noise cancelling headphones like the Bose QuietComfort 35 II. You can always limit the sound volume when the noise at the background is mitigated enabling you to enjoy high-quality music at lower volumes.

The disadvantage of low-quality earbuds

However, the low-quality earbuds are known to have the dual disadvantage of being closer to the users’ eardrum and incapable of regulating the background noise. Sound quality is also diminished and is combined with the environmental sound that is distracting with increasing the volume being the only way to compensate.

It is much worthy to invest in premium headphones especially those that do have a noise cancelling technology. With that, you are able to stick to the 60/60 rule without having to compromise the music quality and your hearing level down the road.

4. Go for over the ear headphones

There are earbuds which are up to nine dB louder when compared to the over the ear headphones. This will help in reducing the safe listening time from 2 hours to 15 minutes in case you were listening at 91 dB!

In case you are a great fan of the headbanging music effect and deep vibration, you can consider using an equalizer on your device to help you in turning up the bass. Even when you reduce the volume, you will still get that pleasing feeling.

5. Get up and Move

Yes, I know is a surprise, but very effective way to reduce ear pain from headphones. Very few people are aware that exercising is good for the years. Performing cardio exercises like running, walking and cycling will help get the blood pumping to all the body parts together with the ears.

Imagine it is easy, its all about the flowing of blood in your body. Good flow of blood to the internal parts will help the ears stay healthy and ensuring that they work to their maximum potential. However, ensure that you stay safe by wearing a helmet. 

6. Avoid the use of Cotton Swabs on your Ears

Most people are known to resort to using cotton swabs to help in cleaning wax out of their ear canal or after using headphones for some time. However, this is never advisable. It is not only normal to have some wax in your ears but it is equally important.

Ears are known to be self-cleaning body organs and wax do help in preventing dust together with other harmful items from getting inside the canal. Inserting anything inside your ear canal can easily damage the sensitivity of the eardrum.

In case you do have excess wax, you can always clean around the ear canal by use of a damp and soft towel. You can also consider using ear wax removal solution for a few nights. The solution will help in softening the wax so that it will flow out on its own. It is advisable that you always seek professional guidance and care whenever possible.

7. Go for Regular Checkups

You can always request your physical care physician to always incorporate screenings for your hearing while carrying out regular checkups. This is because ear pains and hearing loss do develop gradually and it is always recommended that one you go for yearly hearing consultations by visiting a healthcare expert. With that, you will be in a position to identify hearing loss sings and quickly take action.

Taking action is of great importance since untreated hearing loss apart from detracting from relationship strengths and life quality has been linked with other types of health concerns such as heart disease, dementia, and depression.


To know how to reduce ear pain from headphones, you must know safer usage and the volume to adopt. However, safer hearing levels are entirely based on older research.  In most cases, people used to think that muffled hearing together with tinnitus which was mainly experienced after attending a great club or concert was a mere partial hearing loss caused by loud music from the headphones.

It is now clear that even exposure to regulated noise levels can lead to permanent damage to the delicate ribbons between the ears hair cells. The damage will only become visible after one or two decades when you will start experiencing trouble hearing conversations with lots of noise at the background.