Can Headphones Cause Jaw Pain?

by Alex.   Last Updated On July 15th, 2022.
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For most of us, wearing headphones is a necessity, whether it’s study, work, or play. A good pair of noise-canceling headphones will drown out background noise and provide you with a quiet safe space to listen to your music, podcasts, lectures, or meetings.

Although using headphones is not the most ideal for our health. (Humans used to listen to music on their speakers and party on during the good old days.) We have come to accept that better sound quality and noise isolation are more important for work and play.

However, despite the high-quality audio, many users start to experience symptoms of jaw pain and ear pain while wearing over-ear headphones. This issue might not happen to everybody as some people’s ears would just suck in the headphones and sit tight comfortably while others’ ears would resist every step of the way, causing earaches, headaches, and jaw pain.

So you must be asking yourself: can all headphones cause Jaw Pain? Will it put a dent in my quality listening time?

Tight (and sometimes low-quality) headphones can cause jaw pain. The cans press up against your head causing tension in your skull. (skull temporal tension.) This tension can stress your jaw, and even cause headaches, dizziness, and neck pain. 

Fortunately, the human body is capable enough of giving you signs before something gets too serious. So, in the following sections, we’ll talk more about headphones and jaw pain, on topics such as:

  • Reasons why your jaw hurts while wearing headphones
  • How to stop jaw pain caused by headphones?
  • Other safe practices you can follow.
  • Some product alternatives.

With that being said, let’s take off our headphones and put on our reading glasses.

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Reasons why your jaw hurts while wearing headphones

As I mentioned previously: a major reason your jaw hurts so much while wearing headphones is because of the cans, pushing the sides of your head, causing the bones in your jaw to stress out. (The result of which is a pain in your jaw.)

Not only do headphones causes jaw pain but SOME people also believe that headphones can dent your head if you wear them for a long period of time.

Several other issues can aggravate the problem. Another issue that can cause jaw pain, dizziness, and headaches are the noise canceling effect given out by some ANC headphones.

Noise-canceling headphones do block out most background noise. However, to do so, they have to replicate the background noise. Although this is considered “safe” for the ears (since it helps you listen to music at a lower volume, without amping up the volume to block it out,) there can be some leftover low-frequency vibrations.

These low-frequency vibrations can affect the balance receptors in our ears. Because of this: the receptors sense the head is moving off-balance, and it tries to inform the brain by sending a signal.

However, our eyes tell a different story. The eyes sending in an opposite signal results in mixed signals within the brain. As the brain tries to make heads or tails of the situation, the result is headaches, dizziness, and pain in your jaws.

If this sounds scary to you, don’t worry, you’ll be fine as long as you follow common sense and listen to your body.

How to stop Jaw Pain caused by headphones?

Smiling businesswoman on a break with feet up at her desk adjusting headphones

So far, we’ve figured out what causes jaw pain by wearing headphones: headphones.

Now, since we aren’t willing to listen to speakers and sacrifice good sound quality and noise isolation. We are going to keep using headphones whenever we are working or relaxing.

Since it’s inevitable, it’s best if you prepare to take care of yourself and do the best you can. Fortunately, you won’t have to do much since there are only a few small changes or habits you need to adopt.

Loosen up the headband on your headphones: Better noise isolation and sound quality are cool and all, but it’s not worth it to keep squeezing those cans into your head, so try loosening up your headphones by adjusting the headband. (especially if it’s sitting too tightly.) If your headband is smaller and it won’t fit your head try swapping it out for a headset that will support big heads.

Take Regular Breaks: Since you’ve already bought the headphones, you might be determined to give them a shot. If so, I recommend you take it slow and use it in short bursts i.e take regular breaks every once in a while. This helps you to avoid prolonged pain and slowly adjust yourself to the headphones.

Try conditioning yourself slowly: Some of you might not be willing to depart with your headphones just yet. Many users who face this issue try to push through the pain, hoping they will get used to it with time. However, this might not be the case since everybody is different. Some may have no problem with a pair of headphones while others might be struggling to keep it on for more than 10 seconds.

Although it is not recommended, you can try them out by wearing them until you start feeling pain. You can try this out several times and decide if the pain you’re experiencing is growth or just useless suffering.

Try another pair of headphones: I do not recommend stewing in your pain for a long time when you are not reaching any growth. So if your body isn’t willing to accept a certain pair of headphones, it’s time to move on. At soundgearlab.com, we have headphones that will be perfect for casual use, gaming, and studio work.

Conclusion

Headphones (despite their high-quality audio and near-perfect noise isolation) are not the most ergonomic device to listen to music. However, people would still prefer to keep using them since they can’t bear using speakers or itty bitty earbuds. Unfortunately, with great cans comes great jaw pain. So before you commit to a pair of headphones, it’s best to try them out (if possible) and use them responsibly by taking regular intervals and not using them when you have headaches, dizziness, and jaw pain. Headphones are great for listening to music/podcasts on a long-term basis, provided you manage to find one that’s perfect for your ears.