Can headphones cause headache?

Headphones are a popular accessory for many people, whether they are used for listening to music, podcasts, or making calls. While headphones can provide a convenient and immersive listening experience, some people may experience headaches when using them.

But what is the actual thing? Can headphones cause headaches? or not. If yes, then how to prevent them? So let’s to find the truth.

a lady facing headaches due to using headphone for a long .

Does Wearing Headphones Cause Headaches?

The short answer is yes, headphones can cause headaches. This is because headphones can put pressure on the head and ears, and also because loud music or sound can cause tension and strain in the muscles of the head and neck. I have done more detailed research in this regard, the results of which are given below.

The Reasons Behind Headphone Headaches

According to my research, the most common reasons for headphone headaches are listed below with their details:

1. Tight fit:

If you wear very tight headphones, that creates pressure on your ears, and head, leading to headaches. Putting pressure on the head and ears while wearing headphones that are too tight is what causes this type of headache. It can also lead to ear pain and discomfort.

You should choose a soft and comfortable ear cushion for your headphones to prevent any discomfort or pain caused by prolonged use. And it should perfectly fit your head, not too tight or too loose.

2. Noise: 

Some people experience headaches from noise because it causes stress and tension. When someone is exposed to loud or prolonged noise or loud sound, the body releases stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which can cause increased heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension. Moreover, noise can also interfere with your sleep, which can also contribute to the development of headaches.

3. Extended use: 

Excess of anything is harmful to us. Wearing headphones for an extended period without any break can also cause headaches. This is because the pressure and weight of the headphones can become uncomfortable over time.

4. Allergies:

Suppose you are allergic to the materials used in your headphones, such as the foam padding or plastic components. In that case, this can cause headaches and can create an uncomfortable situation and headache also.

5. Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ): 

If you have TMJ, which is a condition that affects the joints that connect your jawbone to your skull, using headphones can exacerbate the pain and discomfort in your jaw, neck, and head.

6. Ear infections: 

If you have an ear infection or other ear-related condition, using headphones can cause pain and discomfort in your ears and head.

7. Medical conditions: 

Some medical conditions, such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, can cause headaches that may be worsened by using headphones.

8. Poor posture:

 If you use headphones while hunching over your desk or slouching on the couch, this can cause tension in your neck and shoulders, leading to headaches.

9. Poor sound quality: 

If the sound quality of your headphones is poor, it can cause discomfort and headaches, as your ears may have to work harder to distinguish the sounds.

10. Headphone hygiene: 

Wearing dirty or unclean headphones can cause infections or irritation in the ear, leading to headaches.

11. Environmental factors: 

Some environmental factors like poor lighting, high noise levels, or poor air quality can also be responsible for headaches during using headphones. It increases your discomfort and ruins your listening

12. Psychological factors: 

Psychological factors such as anxiety, stress, and depression can cause headaches, and headphones can sometimes exacerbate these symptoms.

13. Personal sensitivity: 

Some people may be more sensitive to certain frequencies or types of sounds, which can cause headaches while using headphones.

It’s important to note that while headphones can be a potential cause of headaches, they are not always the primary factor. If you’re experiencing frequent or severe headaches, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment.

So, How To Prevent Headache From Headphones?

Here are some tips on how to prevent headaches caused by headphones.

1. Choose the right headphones: Look for headphones that are comfortable and fit well. Over-ear headphones with padding and adjustable headbands can be a good choice, as they distribute weight more evenly and reduce pressure on your ears.

2. Take breaks: If you’re using headphones for an extended period, take breaks every hour or any defined value of time that you prefer. It will give your ears and head a chance to rest and recover.

3. stretch your neck and shoulders: Tension in the neck and shoulders can contribute to headaches. So it is important to stretch and release tension from these areas. You can also try some simple exercises of the neck and shoulders. 

4. Be careful about volume:  If you’re listening to the audio, try to keep the volume at a moderate level. It will help reduce strain on your ears and prevent headaches. It is also important to avoid sudden changes in volume, such as switching from a quiet to loud track. It can cause stress on your ears and head. Try to keep the volume consistent.

5. Try noise-canceling Headphones: Noise-cancelling headphones can reduce the amount of external sound reaching your ears and create headaches. Noise-canceling headphones can give you comfort without extra sound and headaches.

6. Adjust the equalizer settings: Adjusting the equalizer setting on your device can reduce the harsh sound that contributes to headaches. You can experiment with different settings to find a comfortable balance.

7. Stay hydrated: Dehydration can lead to bad headaches. So it is also very important to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated all day, especially while using headphones.

8. Avoid loud environments: Using headphones in a loud environment, such as a concert or a noisy street, can also contribute to headaches. So always try to avoid loud environments to ensure a headache free listening

9. Maintain Headphones hygiene: Always keep your headphones neat and clean. Avoid sharing headphones with others to reduce the risk of infection and eye irritation.

10. Use the right audio quality: The audio quality of your listening content can also create headaches. Always try to use high-quality audio files or streams from reputable sources to ensure that you are getting the best sound quality

11. Seek medical advice: If you are facing continuous severe headaches while using headphones, you should go to a healthcare professional and follow their advice. They can determine the cause and suggest an appropriate treatment plan

12. Limit using headphones: The final and most important thing is to limit using headphones. Excess of anything is harmful to our health. It would be best if you try to use headphones with a limitation that doesn’t affect your health.

There is a very similar topic that can make you confused: external compression headache. To avoid confusion, I am going to briefly describe this topic also.

External Compression Headache and Treatments

What is an External Compression Headache?

An external compression headache, also known as a “pressure” or “tightness” headache, occurs when something puts pressure on your head, causing pain. This pressure can be due to wearing tight headbands, hats, or even headphones. When an object compresses your head tightly, the blood circulation goes off or is reduced, cells are damaged, and you feel a headache. It can be tolerable or dangerous.

What Does a Compression Headache Feel Like?

A compression headache typically feels like a constant, dull ache or pressure around the head, usually focused on the forehead, temples, or the back of the head. The intensity of the pain can range from mild to moderate, but it’s generally not severe.

How to Treat External Compression Headaches

The first step in treating a compression headache is to remove the source of pressure. In most cases, simply taking off your hat, headband, or headphones should provide relief. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can also help alleviate the pain. However, if your headache persists or becomes more severe, it’s best to consult your doctor for a proper evaluation and treatment plan.

Can Headphones Cause Hearing Loss and Headaches?

Headphones and Hearing Loss Prolonged exposure to loud sounds through headphones can indeed cause hearing loss. To prevent this, it’s essential to practice safe listening habits, such as limiting the volume and taking regular breaks when using headphones.

Headphones and Headaches Wearing headphones, especially those that are tight or press against your head, can contribute to external compression headaches. This applies to all types of headphones, including wireless headphones, Bluetooth earbuds, and AirPods.

In conclusion, wearing headphones may give you a headache, but there are ways to avoid getting them in the first place. By choosing comfortable headphones, taking breaks, and lowering the volume, you can enjoy your audio without experiencing discomfort or pain.

Can noise-canceling headphones cause headaches?

Noise-canceling headphones can actually help reduce headaches for some people by reducing the amount of external noise, which can cause stress and tension. However, if the headphones are tight-fitting or uncomfortable, they may still contribute to headaches. It’s important to choose a comfortable pair of noise-canceling headphones to minimize the risk of headaches.

Can sleeping with headphones cause headaches?

Sleeping with headphones on can potentially cause headaches if they are tight-fitting or uncomfortable, leading to pressure on the head during sleep. Additionally, wearing headphones while sleeping can increase the risk of ear infections and irritation. It’s best to avoid sleeping with headphones on, and instead, consider using a white noise machine or a pillow speaker for a more comfortable alternative.

Can wearing headphones cause neck pain or muscle tension?

Poor posture while wearing headphones, such as hunching over your desk or slouching on the couch, can contribute to neck pain and muscle tension, which may lead to headaches. To prevent this, maintain good posture and take breaks to stretch your neck and shoulders.

Why does wearing headphones give me a headache?

There are several reasons why wearing headphones might cause headaches, including tight fit, extended use, allergies to materials, poor posture, or personal sensitivity to certain frequencies or types of sounds. Identifying the specific cause can help you find a solution to prevent headaches in the future.

Does wearing headphones change the shape of your head?

No, wearing headphones does not change the shape of your head. However, if you experience discomfort or pain from wearing headphones, it may be due to the tightness of the headphones or the pressure they apply to your head.

Can headphone use lead to hearing loss?

Prolonged exposure to loud sounds through headphones can cause hearing loss. To prevent this, practice safe listening habits such as limiting the volume and taking regular breaks when using headphones.

What should I look for in a comfortable headphone to avoid headaches?

When choosing headphones to avoid headaches, look for a comfortable fit with padding and adjustable headbands to distribute weight more evenly and reduce pressure on your ears. Over-ear headphones are a good choice for comfort. Additionally, consider noise-canceling headphones to reduce external noise and prevent the need for high volume levels.