How To Stop Headphones from Making Your Ears Hot

by Alex.   Last Updated On October 9th, 2022.
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Headphones are great devices if you want to stream music privately without sacrificing audio quality. If you are in the market for a good pair of headphones, you might want to check everything from its materials, its specifications, the sound quality, and whatnot, but most of all, you for sure would like to wear headphones with a strong clamping force that ensures you that they won’t fall out if you are working out or commuting.

If you are wearing headphones for long periods, such as when watching movies, you might feel that your ears are getting hot and sweaty, especially when wearing over ear headphones that entirely cover one’s ears. So the question is, how to stop headphones from making your ears hot?

One thing you can do to minimize the chances of getting your ears hot is to opt for on ear headphones, replace the headphones earpads, use open back headphones, purchase not too tight headphones, or simply use earbuds during hot days.

In this article, we will tackle the reasons why your ears get hot when wearing headphones and the different ways you can stop from experiencing hot ears when wearing your headphones.

Let’s get right into it.

Table of Contents

Why do my ears get hot when wearing headphones?

Clamping force

A headphone’s clamping force is crucial for any headphones on the market. A headphone’s ability to clamp ensures users that the headphone will stay intact even when they are doing exercises or commuting around the city. However, headphone manufacturers must emphasize adequate force as too little force will make the headphones slip from your ears quickly, and too much pressure on your ears will result in very tight headphones that will make your ears hot and produce immense pressure on your head.

Earpad materials

A good pair of headphones will always have decent-quality earpad material. Earpads are introduced to have a soft cushioning for your ears when wearing headphones for extended periods; adding to this; ear pads also reduce the external noise from entering your ears. However, it is crucial that you look for ear pads that won’t trap heat and ones that won’t leave your ears hot and sweaty.

Environment conditions

Even if you are wearing on ear headphones that have maximum ventilation, but your city’s temperature is a high 42 degrees Celsius, it’s most likely that you will probably sweat. So if you don’t want hot and sweaty ears, check your environmental conditions and if it is cold enough to wear your headphones comfortably without having to worry about hot ears.

african black man listening to music relaxing on sofa couch in home living room

How to keep my ears cool when wearing headphones?

Use open back headphones.

If you haven’t purchased a pair of headphones yet and want to prevent instances of hot ears, then you should opt for open back headphones. Contrary to closed back or over ear headphones that easily filter out loud noises, open back headphones don’t trap heat which won’t make your ears warm. These headphones provide excellent ventilation by releasing heat around your ears.

Though they won’t provide you with the best listening experience as over ear headphones will, these headphones will keep your ears cool even when you are doing high-intensity exercises.

On ear headphones

These headphones lie on the surface of your ears. On ear and over ear headphones differ as over ear headphones cover the surroundings of your ears, producing better sound quality but also significantly increasing the amount of heat trapped around your ears.

On ear headphones however, the earpads rest on the ears, making them far lighter, breathable, and more comfortable to wear for prolonged periods.

Avoid headphone models that produce too much pressure on your ears.

As stated earlier, clamping force is required to ensure that the headphones will stay on your ears when you constantly move around. Just like how you would want to avoid your headphones from falling out, you probably would not want to wear uncomfortable headphones that put too much pressure on your skull.

So before purchasing headphones, make sure that the clamping force is not too strong so that it won’t allow perspiration to escape, thus making your ears warm and sweaty. However, if you already have headphones that have this very issue, try to stretch the headphones out by placing your headphones over a stack of books.

Though not an ensured solution, this might distribute the clamping force more evenly over time.

Replacement earpads/ear cups

Most headphones can be changed with third-party replacement earpads/ear cups, allowing users to change their original earpads if they get damaged. Most headphone ear cups are made with the same material of faux leather because of its availability and price; however, they do have massive drawbacks when it comes to absorbing sweat, which makes your ears transpire, trapping heat, and causing your ears to get hot.

If you don’t like how your current ear cup makes your ears feel, then you can purchase third-party foam cups online that provide you with excellent passive sound isolation and the ability to allow your ears to breathe. You can even purchase memory foam cups for your headphones.

Use earbuds

Earbuds differ entirely from headphones as they go directly into your ear canal. Earbuds are handy pocket-sized devices that are lightweight, convenient, and portable audio devices that won’t negatively affect your listening experience. Since the earbud tips rest inside the ears but don’t cover the perspiration glands, you can wear earbuds for prolonged periods without having to worry about having hot ears.

However, earbuds won’t provide excellent passive sound isolation as headphones will, and earbuds also present the issue of encouraging ear infections by enabling the build up of earwax inside the ears, as well as creating an environment that allows bacteria and viruses to thrive.

Cover your ears with an absorbent material

If you genuinely want to use your headphones during hot days to listen to music and release stress, then you can put an absorbent material between your ears and your headphone pads. You can use cotton or tissue paper to put in between your headphones and ears, absorbing the sweat from your glands. Not only will you reduce the chances of having sweaty ears, but the small gap between your ears and headphones will also allow more air to enter your ears, providing more ventilation.

Clean your headphones safely.

Cleaning your headphones is something that regular people rarely do. However, if you want to prevent hot and sweaty ears, you should regularly clean your headphones in between use. The headphone ear pads tend to trap moisture and will create an even tighter seal that will trap even more heat, creating an environment that will cause your ears to get even sweatier.

Take breaks

Taking listening breaks will drastically reduce the chances of your ears getting hot. Wearing headphones for prolonged periods will cause your ears to get sweaty because of the prolonged exposure to a hot, isolated environment; in addition to this, like any electronic device, headphones will also produce heat especially when they are used on top of the earpad seal and lack of ventilation will increase the temperature significantly.

Adjust the temperature of the room

Aside from adjusting your headphones, you can also alter the temperature of your surroundings to not leave your ears sweaty after long listening/streaming to music. Turn on the air conditioning, or try to open up some windows to provide ventilation to the room, cooling the temperature of the room massively.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do my ears get so hot when I wear headphones?

The main reason your ears can get so hot when wearing your headphones for a long time is that headphones restrict the airflow and trap heat immensely, especially with headphones that have excellent clamping force and non-absorbent earpad material.

How long should you wear headphones a day?

You can wear your headphones for as long as you want, given that your headphones are comfortable and you are listening to music at a safe level. However, experts recommend that you should only listen to 60% of an audio device’s maximum volume for just 60 minutes a day.

If you prefer listening to music at higher volumes, then you should also lessen the duration of which you are listening to music at.

How tight should headphones be?

No specified level of clamping force will suit everyone, as some prefer to wear headphones more loosely, while others also want to wear pretty tight headphones. So to ensure that the headphones you might be purchasing are comfortable enough to wear for prolonged periods, it’s best if you try them out.

What is better, over the ear or on ear headphones?

If you prefer better sound quality and excellent sound isolation, you should opt for over ear headphones. But if you want something portable, lightweight, and convenient, then you should choose on ear headphones.


Headphones are indeed excellent listening devices. Not only are they portable and convenient, but most headphones nowadays, such as Bluetooth headphones, allow people to listen to high quality music without restricting their movements.

However, no matter the type of headphones you are using, you most likely have encountered instances wherein you are left with hot and sweaty ears, especially after a long time of listening to music or watching movies (see also the best headphones for movies and TV).

We hope this informative article has helped you become more knowledgeable on the factors that make your ears hot and sweaty and what to do to counter this issue.