You’re an hour into your podcast episode, favorite song playlist, or an important business call when suddenly you start to feel your ears ache. Unfortunately, most of us have felt that uncomfortable sensation before and it seems like no matter what we do that achy feeling tends to linger.
Audio and microphone quality shouldn’t be the only thing major earbud brands focus on. Since the pandemic, more people have reached for their pair of earphones, whether it be for listening to music or attending virtual meetings. Pain from long term headphone use should be a thing of the past.
Many earbud companies have optimized their products for the average user, but there are some additional steps we can take to make our listening experience more comfortable than ever before.
What Causes Ear Pain Related to Earbud Use?
The ear is made up of flexible cartilage that slightly bends with pressure. Earbud use places consistent pressure on the most integral part of the ear, causing the fit of the earbud itself to cause pain and/or discomfort to the ear.
Cheap earbuds are not made with comfort in mind, so they tend to have an unnatural design to them, forcing our outer ear to contort to an abnormal shape. Earbuds should not be a one-size-fits-all accessory.
Wearing earbuds for an excessive period of time can cause the outer ear to ache. Not to mention, long-term use can cause chaffing, itchiness, and skin irritation in some people, especially, if the user has an allergic reaction to the materials the earbuds are made of. Poorly fitting earbuds will also prevent your ears from naturally producing earwax, which can cause infections, earaches, and hearing loss.
Music lovers tend to listen to their music at a high volume – I mean, how else are you going to truly immerse yourself in your favorite song? Music at high volumes, unfortunately, is very detrimental to the health of our ears. This can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss, buzzing and humming in the ears, and overall ear pain.
What Can You Do To Prevent Ear Pain Caused by Earbud Use?
With all the remote positions out there on the market, some of us can’t get out of using earbuds during our 9 to 5 (hopefully, not for the entirety of our 9 to 5). However, there are many things you can do to prevent the risks of excessive earbud use.
Invest in High-Quality Earbuds Made From a Flexible Material
Lots of earbuds on the market are made of cheap plastic, which can cause discomfort to the outer ear. They are some brands of earbuds that are made from flexible, moldable material that will conform to the your ear’s natural shape and reduce unnecessary pressure.
While these earbuds may be more expensive, they can prevent ear aches and pain due to their breathable materials. It’s worth it to invest in high-quality earbuds.
Switch to Headphones With An Adjustable Headband
If you’re prone to ear aches from earbuds, you might want to consider investing in a pair of over-the-head headphones. Instead of causing pressure directly on your outer ear like earbuds, headphones distribute pressure around your entire ear and the side of your head.
The headband is adjustable and flexible, fitting most head shapes and sizes. Headphones also won’t interfere with earwax production, since they do not have be inserted into the outer ear.
Listen to Audio at Lower Volumes
This is one is a no-brainer, however, it may be harder for individuals who already have hearing loss or compromised hearing to make this change. But listening to music/audio at lowers volumes can help prevent further damage and hearing loss, while also reducing the risk of ear aches.
Frequently Adjust Earbud Position
If you just can’t get out of wearing your earbuds, the very least you can do is frequently remove them and readjust the the position of each earbud. This will prevent the earbuds for causing constant pressure on the same spot.
Take a Break
Take a break from wearing earbuds as frequently as possible. Between meetings and calls, remove your earbuds. If you can, attend some meetings without using them. Additionally, try listening to your music and podcasts from your phone or computer audio!
Clean Earpads Periodically
Nothing is more gross than earwax buildup in your earbuds. Make sure to clean both the earpads and your ears frequently to avoid spreading any earwax and bacteria. This will help reduce your chances of contracting an ear infection.
Schedule Professional Ear Cleaning
Cleaning your ears with Q-tips is harmful to the overall health of your ear, and can potentially cause impacted earwax, ear infections, and injuries. It is advised that you should never put any objects like Q-tips into your ear canals. However, your primary physician can offer you professional ear cleaning that is safe and effective.
They will first inspect your ears for any injuries or foreign objects and then, soften the earwax build up, and flush out the ear canal with a warm water and saline solution. This will drain out all earwax and other debris, leaving you with clean ears!
Get Frequent Ear Checkups
Its important to take care of your ears for your overall physical and cognitive health. Part of this process includes getting frequent ear checkups.
This can go hand-in-hand with your professional ear cleaning appointments, but it is important to have a professional check on the health of your ears. They can also provide a hearing test to make sure your hearing is still at optimal levels.
Conclusion – How to Make Earbuds More Comfortable
Your ability to properly hear is closely linked to cognitive and mental health, especially in your older years. It’s extremely important to take the necessary percautions and take care of your hearing and the overall health of your ears.
If you need to wear earbuds for extended periods of time, make sure you following this tips. High-quality, flexible earbuds or headphones can help reduce pressure on the ears, but listening to audio at lower volumes, getting frequent cleanings and checkups, and taking a break from earbud use will help your ear health overall.