If you’re one of the many people who have experienced discomfort or pain while wearing AirPods, you’re not alone. 

While these wireless earbuds offer convenience and high-quality sound, they can also cause discomfort for some users. 

In this blog post, I’ll explore why AirPods may hurt your ears and provide tips on how to alleviate the discomfort. 

Whether you’re a long-time AirPods user or considering purchasing a pair, this information will help you make informed decisions about your ear health and find ways to enjoy your music without the pain.

Are Airpods Really Bad for the Ears?

Are Airpods Really Bad for the Ears?

AirPods and similar earbuds can be harmful to your ears if used for long periods at high volumes. This is because when you use them to block out external noise, you might turn up the volume too high, which can damage the tiny hair cells in your inner ear, leading to temporary or permanent hearing loss.

This isn’t just a problem with AirPods; it applies to any in-ear headphones or earbuds. To protect your ears, it’s important to use them at a reasonable volume, take breaks, and avoid wearing them for too long without a rest.

For more information on whether AirPods are bad for your Ears and Brain, check out this detailed article.

Why do Airpods Hurt my Ears?

Why do Airpods Hurt my Ears?

Wearing AirPods might make your ears hurt for a few reasons. 

Let’s look at the main ones:

Improper Installation

Some folks might think it’s obvious, but lots of people actually don’t put their AirPods in right.

AirPods are designed to fit the shape of your ear. This makes them comfortable and less likely to fall out. But if you don’t put them in correctly, they can put too much pressure on your ear and start to hurt.

Your AirPods don’t fit you properly

If your AirPods are causing you discomfort, it might be because they don’t fit your ears well.

Unfortunately, all versions of AirPods, including AirPods 1, 2, and the newer AirPods 3, only come in one size. Since everyone’s ears are different, this one-size-fits-all approach might not work for you and could lead to pain.

When the AirPods don’t fit properly, the hard plastic presses against your skin and cartilage, causing pressure and discomfort. Even with the AirPods Pro, which offer different-sized ear tips, some users still have trouble finding a comfortable fit.

Additionally, even the AirPods Max, with their different design, have been criticized for causing discomfort, with some users experiencing headaches and soreness due to the pressure they exert on the ears.

You’re wearing the AirPods wrong

If your AirPods feel uncomfortable or keep falling out, it could be because you’re not wearing them the right way.

AirPods are designed to fit the shape of your ears, so if you force them in the wrong way, they won’t feel good. 

Plus, when they’re not positioned correctly, they might not stay in place and could easily slip out. It’s important to make sure they sit snugly in your ears to avoid discomfort and keep them secure while you’re moving around.

You’ve been wearing them for too long

Wearing your AirPods for too long can make your ears sore, itchy, or even painful. This isn’t just uncomfortable; it can also harm your hearing.

Listening to loud sounds for a long time can cause temporary or even permanent damage to your ears. This might lead to pain, ringing in your ears, or other problems like tinnitus.

To keep your ears safe, it’s best to wear AirPods for no more than 90 minutes at a time. Give your ears a break every now and then, and gently massage them to help them relax before you start listening again.

Listening to Music at an Extreme Volume Level

It might surprise you, but listening to music really loudly can cause big problems like ear pain or even deafness. Experts say it’s safest to listen at 85 decibels or lower. 

So, if you want to listen to music for a long time without hurting your ears, keep the volume lower than the highest level.

Being Allergic to Earpad & Ear tip Material

Sometimes, the material used for earpads or ear tips can cause an allergic reaction on your skin. This might happen because of the chemicals used to make them soft. It can make your ears feel itchy and dry. If you scratch them a lot, you could end up with scars, which can make your ears hurt.

Ear infections

When your AirPods don’t fit right or you use them too much, your ears might hurt. But sometimes, it’s not just that – you could have an ear infection.

Unlike regular ear pain, which feels sore on the outside, ear infections hurt deep inside your ear canal or around your eardrums. They can make your ears red and even cause some fluid to come out.

Using your AirPods incorrectly, like pushing them too far into your ears or wearing them for too long, can block your ear canal and make it sweaty and moist. This creates a perfect place for bacteria to grow, leading to ear infections.

Why Do Some People Experience Discomfort?

Some people feel uncomfortable when they wear AirPods, even though they’re really popular.

Here’s why:

Fit: AirPods are made to fit most ears, but not everyone’s ears are the same. If your AirPods don’t fit right, they can press too hard on your ears and make them hurt, especially if you wear them for a long time.

Placement: AirPods should sit on the outside of your ear, not deep inside. If they’re pushed in too far, they can be uncomfortable and might even cause ear infections.

Sensitive skin: Some people might be sensitive to the materials in AirPods, like the silicone ear tips. This can make their ears itchy or irritated.

If your AirPods are bothering you, there are things you can try to make them more comfortable. You can adjust how they fit and where they sit in your ear. You might also want to try different sizes of ear tips to see which feels best.

If you still feel uncomfortable, you might need to try different earbuds that fit your ears better. Everyone’s ears are different, so what works for one person might not work for someone else.

Potential Health Implications

Using AirPods might cause discomfort or pain for some people, but there are also potential health concerns to consider.

One worry is that loud noises from AirPods could damage your hearing. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders says sounds over 85 decibels for a long time can harm your hearing. AirPods can go up to 100 decibels, which could be bad if you use them a lot.

Another worry is that if AirPods don’t fit right, they might make your ears more likely to get infected. If they don’t fit well, they can rub against your ear canal and make it warm and wet, which is perfect for bacteria to grow.

Some people have said on social media that AirPods give off harmful radiation, but that’s not true according to fact-checkers.

To stay safe when using AirPods, take breaks, don’t turn the volume up too high, and make sure they fit well to avoid irritation or infection.

Proven Solutions

Reduce The Volume

I know it’s not what you want to hear, but it’s important for your future hearing. When you blast your AirPods at full volume, you’re really risking damaging your ears.

Think of it like turning on a faucet with the sink already closed – the water fills up fast and could overflow. Similarly, loud sounds right next to your eardrums can cause damage.

The best way to protect your hearing is by lowering the volume.

Limit Sound Exposure

I get it, it’s unlikely you’ll do that. We all know loud noises can harm our hearing, but it’s hard not to turn up the volume when there’s so much noise around.

When you’re in a busy place like a subway, you might want your music to be the loudest thing you hear, so you crank up the volume. But this just adds to the problem of exposing your ears to loud sounds.

To fix this, try to spend less time in really noisy places. It’ll protect your hearing in the long run and make your music sound better without all the competing sounds.

Active Noise Cancellation Headphones 

Active Noise Cancellation Headphones

To avoid blasting your music too loud to drown out noise, you can try two methods.

First, consider using quality over-ear headphones. They have better noise-canceling abilities than AirPods or other earphones. But remember, playing them too loud can still hurt your ears.

Another option is using over-ear sound-canceling headphones or ear protectors along with your AirPods. While it might look a bit funny, you can still wear your AirPods inside them comfortably. 

This way, you can keep your music at the same volume without worrying about outside noises bothering you.

Use Properly Sized Ear Tips

To make sure your AirPods feel comfortable in your ears, try different sizes of ear tips. You can find out which size fits best by taking the Ear Tip Fit Test. AirPods Pro gives you three sizes to choose from: Small (S), Medium (M), and Large (L), marked inside the tip when unrolled.

You can also try using different sizes for each ear if needed.

Use Silicone Tips

Even though AirPods are made to fit most people, they might not be perfect for everyone. While AirPods Pro offer different sizes, older models don’t have this option.

You can solve this by getting silicone earbud covers. These covers not only provide a better fit but also make AirPods feel softer on your ears because of their gentle material.

How to Use Airpods Properly?

How to Use Airpods Properly?

If your AirPods are making your ears hurt, you might not be using them right. 

Here are some easy tips to help you use your AirPods correctly and stop any ear pain.

Choosing the Right Size

A big reason for discomfort is using ear tips that don’t fit right. Make sure you pick the size that fits your ears best. Try different sizes until you find the one that feels good.

Taking Regular Breaks

It’s good to give your ears a break from AirPods. Using them for a long time can make your ears hurt. Try to take a short break every hour or two, like 5-10 minutes, to let your ears relax.

Cleaning Your Airpods

Dirty AirPods can make your ears feel uncomfortable. It’s important to clean them often. Just use a soft, dry cloth to wipe them gently. Don’t use any liquids or strong cleaners because they might harm your AirPods.

Following these tips can help you use your AirPods without any discomfort. Make sure to pick the right size ear tips, take breaks regularly, and keep your AirPods clean.

Alternatives to Airpods

Alternatives to Airpods

If AirPods don’t suit you, don’t worry! There are lots of other options you can check out. 

Here are a few alternatives you can try:

Earbuds with Silicone Tips

AirPods might not feel right for everyone because they don’t fit all ears well. If you want a better fit, you can try earbuds that come with silicone tips. These tips can be changed to fit your ears perfectly and avoid any discomfort. Some good choices are Sony WF-1000XM4 and Jabra Elite 75t.

Over-Ear Headphones

If you don’t like earbuds, you might prefer over-ear headphones. They’re usually more comfy for wearing for a long time and often give better sound. Some good ones are Bose QuietComfort 35 II and Sony WH-1000XM4.

Wired Earbuds

If you’re okay with using earbuds connected to your device, wired ones can be a good choice. They’re usually cheaper than wireless ones and don’t have the same problems with staying connected. Some good ones are 1MORE Triple Driver and Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear.

Just remember, everyone’s ears are different, so what fits one person might not fit another. Try out a few different options to see which one feels best for you.

Traditional Padded Headphones

Headphones with cushions that go over your ears and have a wire or headband are still popular. They can give you a great listening experience like AirPods, and they might be more comfy if AirPods hurt your ears.

Noise-Canceling Headphones

Noise-canceling headphones might feel weird at first because they make a pressure feeling in your ears. But if you want to block out background noise, they can do it without any discomfort.


Are you Placing Airpods the Wrong Way?

Yes, it is possible to place AirPods in your ears the wrong way.

The AirPod design is made to fit comfortably inside your ear canal. Putting them in upside down or at the wrong angle can cause pain and irritation.

Always check that the AirPods curve inward to match the natural shape of your ears. You may need to adjust them slightly to find the optimal pain-free position.

Taking a moment to ensure they are seated properly can prevent pain from wearing them incorrectly.

Can AirPods Harm Your Hearing?

Using AirPods at or below the recommended volume is safe, but if you use them loudly to block out noise often, you might be harming your hearing. 

Overusing any headphones can cause permanent hearing damage. Once your hearing is damaged, it can’t be fixed. 

About 17 percent of teens in the US have hearing loss from loud noise. Using headphones a lot can make you less sensitive to how loud they are, which makes problems more likely.

Have AirPods Ever Caused a Sharp Pain in Your Ear?

Yes, AirPods can sometimes cause sharp pain in the ear. This is often due to the earbuds not fitting properly or putting pressure on parts of the ear canal.

Making sure the AirPods are the right size and adjusted correctly can help prevent pain. Also taking breaks from wearing them for extended periods helps.

Won’t Airpod Pros Damage my Ears?

Using AirPods Pro correctly won’t harm your ears. Despite concerns from videos and rumors, as long as you use them properly and don’t misuse them, they’re safe to use. Just make sure to follow guidelines and use them responsibly.

Can Airpods Hurt my Ears from an Outside Source?

AirPods themselves are unlikely to directly hurt your ears. 

However, listening to audio at high volumes for long periods can potentially damage your hearing over time, whether using AirPods or other headphones. 

It’s best to keep the volume at moderate levels and take breaks to give your ears a rest. Properly fitted AirPods that don’t press on the ear canal shouldn’t cause pain on their own.

Do AirPods Reduce External Sounds?

AirPods come in different models, some with noise-cancellation features. These features help block out unwanted sounds around you.

However, they might not work perfectly because of their small size, which makes it hard to completely block out noise.

For louder environments, bigger headphones might be better at keeping outside noise away.

Remember, small earphones like AirPods are best for quieter places to avoid turning up the volume too high.

Can using Airpods Lead to Ear Infections?

If you don’t clean your AirPods often, you might be more likely to get ear infections. But AirPods aren’t any more likely to cause infections than other earbuds if you keep them clean.

Is it Safe for Children to Use Airpods?

It’s okay for kids to use AirPods, but adults need to watch them. Make sure to keep an eye on how loud they’re listening to avoid hurting their ears.

Since kids’ ears are still growing, using AirPods too much could cause lasting hearing problems.

Can Airpods Cause Tinnitus?

Yes, AirPods can cause tinnitus if you listen to them too loudly for a long time.

To avoid this, take breaks often and keep the volume at a safe level. Tinnitus happens when you’re around loud sounds for too long, so it’s important to be careful with how loud you listen.

How Long Can You Hear on Airpods?

There’s no specific time that’s totally safe for listening on AirPods or any headphones. It depends on things like how loud you listen and how long you use them.

So, it’s important to be careful and not listen too loud or for too long.

How Long Should I Wear AirPods a Day?

There’s no exact time for wearing AirPods every day, but it’s a good idea to follow the 60/60 rule: keep the volume under 60% and use them for up to 60 minutes at a time. Taking breaks between using them can help stop your ears from feeling tired or uncomfortable.

Why Shouldn’t You Wear AirPods All the Time?

Wearing AirPods all the time can make your ears hurt, raise the chance of getting an infection, and maybe even harm your hearing. It’s important to take breaks for your ears to stay healthy and so you can still be aware of what’s happening around you.

Do AirPods Cause Ear Wax Build Up?

AirPods themselves don’t make earwax build up, but using in-ear headphones can stop earwax from moving out naturally. Cleaning your ears and AirPods often is important to stop too much buildup.

Why do my Ears Feel Wet after Wearing AirPods?

If your ears feel wet after wearing AirPods, it’s probably because of sweat. Try taking breaks, cleaning your ears and AirPods regularly, and using tips that stop moisture. If it keeps happening, talk to a doctor.


After exploring the potential discomfort and health implications of using Airpods, it is clear that some individuals may experience ear pain or discomfort while wearing them.

However, there are proven solutions and proper usage techniques that can help alleviate these issues.

It is important to ensure that you are placing Airpods correctly in your ears and taking breaks from extended usage to prevent any potential harm to your hearing. If you find that Airpods are not suitable for you, there are alternative options available.

Remember to prioritize your ear health and listen at safe volumes to reduce the risk of tinnitus or other ear-related problems.