Headphones Can Hurt Your Jaw: What to Do?

Like everyone, I like to listen to music on my headphones. So, I bought a pair of new headphones a couple of weeks ago, and surprisingly I feel pain in my jaw! I feel like, what is the scenery going on?

Then one of my friends warned me to be aware that headphones can cause headaches, neck pain, and even jaw pain. Then I dig out what may be the reason behind it.

I discovered that the main reasons headphones hurt the jaw are too tight or the wrong-sized headphones. Additionally, headphones can cause pressure on the Jawbone, leading to discomfort and injury.

In this blog, I will discuss why headphones might hurt your jaw and the solutions to these problems.

I will also give you tips on choosing headphones that won’t break your jaw and advice on avoiding problems in the first place. So, stay safe and acoustic-ready with my comprehensive blog post.

Can Headphones Cause Jaw Pain?

Yes, headphones can cause pain in your jaw. This is because the ear cups of headphones enclose the ears and can compress them partially or completely. This can cause various issues with the ear, including jaw pain. If you are experiencing jaw pain while wearing headphones, trying a different type of headphones or taking them off while using them might be a good idea.

Headphones Can Hurt Your Jaw

Why Does My Jaw Hurt When I Wear Headphones?

Many people suffer from pain in their jaw due to how headphones are designed. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should take your headphones off and see a doctor.

Although it might be uncomfortable initially, avoiding any long-term damage to your jaw or ear is worth it. The main reason behind it is:

1. Ear Cups Are Resting on Your Jaws

The main reason jaw pain can occur while wearing Headphones is that they rest on top of our Jawbone. If the headphones fit too tightly, they put pressure on your Jawbone.

An extension cord or portable speaker will do the same thing, though to a lesser degree. A few options are available to reduce or eliminate this type of pain.

  • You can buy headphones with a flexible neckband that allows more movement and reduces pressure on your jaw.
  • Also, you can use bone-conduction headphones like Shokz OpenRun Pro.
  • If these tips don’t work, try positioning the ear cups so they are slightly above your lower teeth and angled toward your ears.
  • If you are still experiencing pain, switching to different headphones or brands might be time.

2. The Clamping Force Is Too Strong

You get a new pair of headphones, and the excitement is real. But after wearing them for a bit, I felt that tight squeeze on my head. It’s called the clamping force. And trust me, if it’s too strong, it can turn your music experience from joy to discomfort.

Why I Think It’s a Big Deal

  • Comfort Over Time: The first few minutes might be okay, but after an hour? Ouch.
  • Distraction: Instead of vibing to my favorite tunes, I think about the pressure on my temples.
  • Fit Matters: I’ve realized that not every headphone is made for every head. It’s a personal thing.

Table: My Clamping Force Breakdown

What I FeltWhy It Bothered MeMy Advice for You
Tightness Around EarsIt’s just plain uncomfortable.Find headphones with adjustable bands.
Pressure on TemplesAfter a while, it’s a literal headache.Look for soft, plush cushioning.
Fit VariationSome brands were tighter than others.Try before you buy, if you can.
Finding the right fit is crucial. I've been through the trial and error, and I hope you find your perfect pair without the squeeze. Remember, your comfort should always come first.

3. The Ear Pads Are Too Thin

Ear pads that are too thin may not provide enough cushioning and can cause the jaw to hit the bottom of the ear pad, which can be painful. In addition, they may also start losing their sound quality over time.

Therefore, replace the earpads of your headphones if you feel pain. That will help them last longer and provide better comfort.

4. Using Your Headphones for a Longer Period

Listening to music for extended periods can be quite harmful. According to some experts, headphones cause your neck and jaw muscles to fatigue over time.

This can lead to weakened neck and jaw tissues, which may cause pain in the future.

If you struggle with pain later on down the line after prolonged usage of headphones, it might be worth considering taking a break now and then.

5. Have A Pre-Existing TMJ Disorder

The temporomandibular joint, commonly referred to as TMJ, plays a pivotal role in jaw movement and function. Located right in front of the ear, it’s a critical joint that connects the jawbone to the skull. Given its proximity to the ears, it’s directly impacted by the headphones we wear, especially over-ear types.

  • Anatomy of TMJ: The TMJ’s unique position makes it susceptible to external pressures. It’s where many headphones naturally rest, making it a potential pressure point.
  • Pressure Points: Over-ear headphones, particularly those with a pronounced clamping force, can exert direct pressure on or around the TMJ. This can lead to discomfort, especially if the headphones are worn for extended periods.
  • TMJ Disorders: Individuals with pre-existing TMJ disorders might find their symptoms aggravated by headphones. Such individuals should be particularly cautious about the type and fit of headphones they choose.

Table: Impact of Headphones on TMJ

FactorDescriptionPotential Impact
Headphone TypeOver-ear vs. In-earOver-ear headphones are more likely to exert pressure on the TMJ.
Clamping ForceTightness of headphones on the headStrong clamping can increase pressure on the TMJ, leading to discomfort.
Duration of UseHow long headphones are wornProlonged use can exacerbate pressure on the TMJ, especially if the headphones are tight.
TMJ DisorderPre-existing conditionIndividuals with TMJ disorders may experience heightened sensitivity and discomfort.
While headphones offer an immersive auditory experience, ensuring they don't compromise the health and comfort of critical joints like the TMJ is crucial. Being aware of the potential pressures and choosing headphones with a comfortable fit can make a significant difference.

How To Stop Headphones from Hurting Your Jaw?

How To Stop Headphones from Hurting Your Jaw

It’s essential to take some precautions to ensure your headphones don’t hurt your jaw. Here are suggestions that are worth trying. 

1. Adjust The Height

The best way to adjust the height is by rotating the ear cups until they rest comfortably on your ears.

If the solution doesn’t work, you can switch to wired earphones with an adjustable audio cable instead of ear cups. That swivel around as regular ones do.

2. Stretch The Headband

If you have trouble preventing headphones from hurting your jaw or don’t fit well, you can do a few things. To avoid this situation,

  • Use a headphone with a lower clamping force.
  • Try headphones with an adjustable headband.
  • Use something to pad the headphones around your head.
  • Try stretching the headband. This will make them more comfortable and less likely to hurt your jaw over time.
  • Keep the band comfortable, and avoid bending your neck too much while using them. Alternatively, invest in good earbuds that won’t hurt your ears over time.
  • Alternatively, if stretching the headband isn’t feasible or does not work for you, consider investing in different headphones that will be more comfortable for long-term use.

3. Limit The Usage

Listening to music at a lower volume is one way to limit your ears’ usage. By doing this, you will help reduce fatigue and prevent ear pain.

If you use headphones for extended periods, you must take regular breaks. So your eyes and body don’t get overused.

4. Change Positions Regularly

Wearing headphones in different positions may also help alleviate discomfort. Try sitting or standing before settling on lying down as the final option.

Switching to less-tugging headsets or earbuds might be necessary if symptoms persist even after following these tips.

5. Find A More Comfortable One

If you are still experiencing pain, it may be time to replace your headphones. Try different types of ear tips to find one that is comfortable.

Keep the headphones away from your face when not in use. Make sure to get the right size of headphones for your ears.

6. Use On-Ear Headphones

When it comes to earphones, the rule of thumb is to insert them just deep enough.

So they don’t touch your eardrums. If you are still experiencing pain after inserting them this way, it might be time to switch to on-ear headphones.

And if over-ear headphones are still causing discomfort, ensure the ear cups rest on your ears and not push down.

7. Use In-Ear Headphones

If you’re still experiencing pain after trying some of the suggested solutions, it might be time to see a doctor.

In-ear headphones can cause pain if inserted incorrectly or if the earphones are not fitted properly.

Swapping to another type of headset or listening at a lower volume might help alleviate your discomfort.

8. Have An ENT Doctor

Headphones can cause a lot of damage to the ears, especially if they’re worn for extended periods without proper care.

Some people find relief by wearing earplugs when listening to music or watching videos. However, this should only be done as a first step and not relied on permanently.

If all else fails, and you are experiencing ear pain or difficulty hearing, it may be worth considering getting an ENT doctor’s opinion.

What Are the Symptoms Of TMJ?

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, the hinge that connects your jaw to your skull.

If you have ever had a headache or earache that feels like it is coming from your jaw, it’s likely because of TMJ.

This joint is responsible for all the moving parts of your mouth, including chewing and talking. There are a few symptoms that may be indicative of TMJ. These include:

  • Pain in the jaw, especially when opening and closing the mouth.
  • A clicking or popping sound when moving the jaw.
  • Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing.
  • It is swelling on the side of the face.
  • Earache or pain in the ear.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you must see a doctor or dentist to rule out any other potential causes and get proper treatment.

How Can Headphones Contribute To TMJ?

Wearing headphones frequently can unknowingly contribute to TMJ. That’s because when you wear headphones, you are constantly putting pressure on your jaw.

This pressure can lead to a misalignment of the jaw, which can cause TMJ. If you are concerned about developing TMJ, you can do a few things to help prevent it.

  • Try to limit the amount of time you wear headphones each day. If you must wear them for long periods, take breaks every so often to rest your jaw.
  • Make sure your headphones fit snugly but not too tightly. Be careful that they don’t put unnecessary pressure on your jaw.
  • Avoid wearing headphones while eating or talking. That will help reduce the risk of misaligning your jaw.

Tips on Choosing Comfortable Headphones

Tips on Choosing Comfortable Headphones

We’ve all been tangled up in headphones, trying to get them off our heads, only to end up with a headache. It’s frustrating.

That’s why it’s important to carefully consider how comfortable headphones are before purchasing.


One of the most important factors is how snugly the headphones fit against your head. Some earbuds come in adjustable sizes, making them more comfortable for different-sized heads.

Moreover, finding a pair that fits tightly against your head and does not move around while you wear them is essential.


Ensure that the device’s weight and size are compatible with your needs. Don’t buy heavy headphones that you can’t bear the weight for long.

And always make sure that your headphones are lightweight and fit comfortably.

Clamping Force

Clamping force is a measure of how tightly headphones grip your ears. High clamping forces can cause discomfort and even ear damage.

Finding headphones that fit well and have a low clamping force is important. So you don’t experience any pain or problems wearing them.

It’s advised to replace your headphones every 2 years to remain comfortable and reduce wear on your ears.


You should consider the adjustability of the headphones. Headphones are meant to be worn for a long time.

So, it’s important that they fit well and don’t cause any discomfort or headaches. Furthermore, ensure that you can adjust the headband to fit your head perfectly.

How to Make Headphones Not Hurt Your Ears?

A good pair of headphones should provide great sound quality without causing discomfort. If you’re experiencing discomfort with your headphones, here are some practical solutions:

  1. Upgrading Ear Pads: If your headphones hurt your ears, consider replacing the ear pads with thicker, softer pads made from natural materials. You can easily stretch a too-tight headphone band by placing your headphones around a row of books that’s wider than your head.
  2. Materials Matter: While faux leather pads might be more affordable, they can make your ears sweaty. Consider replacing them with genuine leather, velour, or foam pads.
  3. Stretching Tight Headphones: Estimate the width of your head from ear to ear and set up a row of books, or find a cardboard box that’s about 1 inch wider than your head. Place your headphones onto the books or box for stretching. Check the fit after 48 hours and adjust as needed.
  4. Wearing with Glasses: If you wear glasses and have foam ear pads, you can cut notches into the earpads to accommodate your glasses. This reduces the pressure from the headphones on your frames.
  5. Improving the Headband: Consider adding a padded seat belt strap around your headphone band for extra padding at the top of your head. Alternatively, you can run a string from ear cup to ear cup on the headphones and secure it with a nylon strap for added comfort.

For more detailed solutions and tips, you can refer to the source article.


Q. Why Does My Jawbone Ache After Wearing Headphones for About 10 Minutes?

Your Jawbone may ache after wearing headphones for around 10 minutes because you are likely clenching your teeth. This tends to happen when people get anxious or concentrate hard on something.

Clenching your teeth puts pressure on the muscles and joints in your jaw, leading to pain. If you find your jaw aching after wearing headphones, relax your jaw muscles and take breaks from listening to music.

Q. Does Wearing Headphones Affect My Jawline?

Yes, wearing headphones can affect your jawline. If you wear too tight headphones, they can put pressure on your jaw and cause it to shift. That can lead to an asymmetrical jawline.

Q. Do Over-ear Headphones Aggravate TMJ?

This question has no definitive answer since it can vary from person to person. Some people may find that over-ear headphones aggravate their TMJ, while others may not experience any problems. Ultimately, it would be best to try a few different pairs of headphones before deciding.

Q. Can AirPods cause jaw pain?

Jaw pain cannot cause Airpods to appear. Since the AirPods are placed on your outer ear.

Can headphones cause TMJ?

Prolonged use of headphones or earbuds might contribute to TMJ pain, especially if they press against the temporomandibular joint or if the user clenches their jaw while using them.

Can earbuds cause jaw pain?

Yes, earbuds can potentially cause or exacerbate jaw pain, especially if they are not fitted properly or if they press against the temporomandibular joint.

Can headphones make TMJ worse?

While there isn’t direct evidence linking headphones to worsening TMJ, any pressure or strain near the temporomandibular joint, including from headphones, could potentially exacerbate TMJ symptoms.

Can headphones cause toothache?

Wearing headphones can cause toothache as sound vibrations can hurt your teeth, especially in people with sensitive teeth. The fluctuating pressure of sound waves can cause water-filled tubes in the teeth to vibrate, transmitting this vibration to the pulp of the tooth, which then sends pain signals to the brain.

Can you wear headphones at the dentist?

Yes, you can wear headphones at the dentist. Many people find that listening to music reduces their anxiety during dental treatment. You can bring your music and headphones, and many dentists are accustomed to patients doing so. Some dental practices even offer headphones, sometimes in combination with an overhead TV, to help patients relax.


Many people are unaware that headphones can hurt your jaw. Headphones are one of the main causes of jaw pain and discomfort. Suppose you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain when chewing
  • Swallowing
  • Headaches
  • Tingling
  • Numbness in the jaw or neck

In that case, it is essential to consult a dentist or specialist. If you are concerned about your jaw health and are using headphones frequently, take action and seek medical attention.