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Can Wearing Headphones Cause Headaches?

Last updated on January 6th, 2023 at 12:06 pm

Can Wearing Headphones Cause Headaches? It depends on how your wear them, and the volume they’re set at. Let’s find out more…

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Headphones have become very popular in recent times. People wear headphones while jogging, exercising, or commuting. This allows them to listen to music or their favorite podcasts.

Some people wear headphones for very long times. Some of them experience headaches and worry if it is the headphones that is causing them.

It is a fact that headphones can cause headaches. When headphones are worn too tightly, worn for too much time, or the volume is too high then headaches can occur.

What is a compression headache?

A compression headache is a headache that occurs due to compression on the forehead. The compression can occur when you wear something tight across the head. Headbands, hats, goggles, helmets, and earphones can cause compression headaches.

Normally, wearing headphones or headbands do not cause headaches. If you have been wearing them too tightly, then there is a possibility of getting a headache.

The headache occurs when the headphone presses on the nerves. This can cause pain. Compression headache usually occur when you use a headphone or earplug that doesn’t fit you.

People who wear eyeglasses and then use a headphone can be more at risk of getting this type of headache. The headphone would press on the eyeglasses, which would in turn press on the nerves causing a headache.

While medication and other remedies are available, the best way to treat this problem is to wear the headphones properly. You may need to change the headphones or reduce the duration for which you wear headphones.

What does a compression headache feel like?

Can Wearing Headphones Cause Headaches?

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A compression headache occurs when there is an external compression on the head that occurs due to tight helmets, hats, or headphones. The pressure caused on the scalp and forehead can result in the headache.

The pain from a compression headache is usually moderate. Going through the symptoms of a compression headache would help in understanding how it feels like:

  • There is moderate pain on the head and neck regions.
  • The pain intensifies when the source of the compression is worn (eg: headphones).
  • While the pain is moderate, it does not affect normal routines and is unlikely to be severe.
  • The pain is mostly situation around the areas where the compression occurs.
  • The longer the compression, the more is the duration of the headache.
  • Once the compression is removed, the pain usually stops or reduces gradually.
  • The external compression can become a trigger for a migraine attack for people with migraine. This causes severe headache, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to sound and light.

Can wireless headphones cause headaches?

A wireless headphone is very convenient, especially when you are on the move. It connects to your mobile or other device through Bluetooth technology.

There are no wires and the headphone can be worn around the head with the speakers placed on the ears. Newer pod earphones come in the form of small plugs that can be inserted into the ears. Convenience is the main reason for using wireless headphones.

Some people experience headaches due to wireless headphones. The primary reason for this is the compression the earphone causes on the head. When people are travelling, they tend to wear the earphone tightly to prevent it from falling off.

This puts pressure on the scalp and around the ear. The nerves in these areas can get pressed. This can result in a headache.

If you have a headphone that is too small for your head, then it would not fit properly. The tight fit puts a lot of pressure resulting in a compression headache.

There are other reasons why wireless headphones can cause a headache:

  • Wearing the headphones for too long a duration.
  • Listening to music or audio at very high or full volume.
  • Wearing headphones and glasses together, which increases the pressure of the scalp and forehead.
  • Improper padding for the ear tip, which can result in pressure on the ears.
  • Ear tip that does not fit well. This happens if the ear tip is smaller than your ear size.
  • When an airpod or similar device is used, it emits strong electromagnetic radiation. This radiation can result in headaches. While there is no evidence for this, many users complain of headaches. This could be due to the radiation.
  • Airpod-type devices are pushed into the ear, so they fit securely and don’t fall off. If you have small ears, this can cause pressure. The result can be a headache.

Can earplugs cause headaches?

Earplugs are essentially meant to protect your ear against loud noises. If you want to sleep and there is noise in the background, you can use an ear plug to cut down the noise.

Earplugs can also be worn while driving a bike. The speed at which the wind hits your ears can cause ear pains. You can wear earplugs to protect the ears.

Earplugs are pushed into the ear. During this process, it can press against the inner ear. It also pushes against the jaw and causes an external compression headache.

When the earplug is pushed in tightly or if it is too small for your ears then it can cause a headache. Using a foam tip for the earplug can be helpful in reducing the pressure. This can also help in avoiding headaches.

Can Wearing Headphones Cause Headaches?

What is a compression headache treatment?

If you have developed compression headache due to the use of earplugs or a headphone, then the treatment is simple. Stop using it! Once you identify what is causing the headache, removing the cause stops the headache.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to pinpoint a cause. This could be because it does not pain while using the headphone, but when pain starts later. A visit to a doctor can help diagnose the problem correctly.

You have to stop using the thing that causes the external compressions. You may be using a smaller product or wearing it too tightly. In such a case, getting a better fitting product may stop the pain.

Some people get a migraine due to the compression headache. They can be treated by using NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs). When the pain is severe, you need to see your doctor to get the right treatment.

Can I get a compression headache from mask?

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in making the use of masks common. Many people experience headache after wearing the mask. It may not be easy to pinpoint the cause of the headache and people could worry if it is a COVID symptom.

When the mask has a tight band or strap, it may press on the head, ear, and neck region. The external compression can cause a headache.

Some people get a headache when they wear the mask for a long time. You need to find a mask that fits better and whose straps are not very right.

FAQs related to wearing headphone and headaches

The following frequently asked questions and answers will tell you all you want to know about headaches and wearing headphones.

Why do I get headache from wearing headphones?

When you wear a headphone, it is possible that the headphone does not fit snugly. It can be too tight causing pressure around the scalp and ear regions. This can lead to an external compression headache.

The headache can be worsened if you wear eyeglasses. The headphone and eyeglass frame can both put pressure increasing the headache.

Do headphones make headaches worse?

If you already have a headache, then using a headphone can worsen the situation. The pressure caused by the headphone can cause an external compression headache. The two headaches can together create a lot of difficulty.

Using a headphone to listen to music at loud volumes or for a long time can also worsen a headache. If you suffer from migraine, then a headphone may act as a trigger worsening the migraine symptoms.

How do you cure a headphone headache?

It is very easy to cure a headphone headache. All you need to do is to stop using the headphone. The moment you stop using the headphone, the external compression is removed. You get immediate relief from the headache.

In many cases, it is not the headphone causing the problem but using a too tight-fitting headphone. In such a case, buy a better quality headphone that fits securely and is not too tight.

Also, if you wear the headphone for too long, it may cause a headache. Wear it judiciously to prevent problems.

What does a compression headache feel like?

A compression headache is caused by pressure due to some object like a headphone, helmet, or headband. The pain in usually moderate in nature and accompanied by pressure.

The pain can be very clearly felt with pressure on the affected area. The pain would be steady in nature and not pulsing pain. The pain would go away within sometime of removing the object causing it.

A problem is when a compression headache causes a migraine. That can cause severe pulsating pain and other symptoms like nausea, auras, and photo and sound sensitivity. 

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