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Do AirPods Hurt Your Ears?

Apple earbuds are convenient, functional, and highly compact. Yet, do AirPods hurt your ears?

Unfortunately, many users have complained of feeling soreness and even slight pain.

No matter how much they make your life easier, nothing justifies their use if they’re constantly causing you discomfort.

Not just that, but constantly having to adjust them puts your calls, music, and meetings on hold. That’s just super annoying.

So, we put together this guide to help explain why your AirPods may be hurting your ears and what you can do about it.

Let’s dive in.

Why Do AirPods Hurt Your Ears?

Below are the four main reasons that could be causing your discomfort each time you put on your AirPods. Take a look.

Your AirPods Don’t Fit Properly

Every one of us has an individualized ear profile with its own custom shape, depth, and size. They’re so unique that, in fact, experts consider them more effective than fingerprints when identifying individuals.

Unfortunately, AirPods1, 2, and 3 all come in one size. It’s a pre-set, standard design, like a one-size-fits-all type of thing.

Since we now know that every user has a different set of ears, this uniform approach to the AirPod design might make you uncomfortable.

The silver lining is that AirPods Pro now comes with three different-sized replaceable earbud tips. Nevertheless, some users still complain that the hard plastic shell presses against the skin and cartilage of their ears, causing unnecessary pain.

Even the AirPods Max, which comes in a completely different form factor, still seems to be causing pressure on the ears. As a result, they’ve started experiencing soreness behind the ear area and headaches around their temples.

You’ve Had Them on for Too Long

This is probably the most obvious reason, yet sometimes people take their AirPods for granted. Because they’re so versatile, many users just keep them in their ears for hours on end, especially during a work day.

The problem is that keeping your earbuds in for too long can result in itchiness or chafing of the skin. An even more severe side effect is that it can cause ear pain, tinnitus, or ringing.

To help maintain the health of your ears, you should avoid keeping them in for too long. So, how long is too long?

Well, the experts at Apple recommend that you wear your AirPods for a maximum time of 90 minutes at a time. Then, rest your ears for 10 to 15 minutes before putting them back in.

You can also give your ears a gentle massage to boost circulation. It can also help ease any tension they may feel after wearing the earbuds for so long.

Read more: Do AirPods stop charging when full?

You’re Not Wearing Your AirPods the Right Way

Some people are surprised to learn there’s a right and wrong way to wear your AirPods. The way Apple designed these earbuds is that they seamlessly slide into the curves of your ear.

So, wearing them the wrong way means these curves aren’t fitting where they should. As a result, it can make you feel discomfort and ear pain.

Plus, they’ll keep slipping out of your ears every time you move, which can be frustrating.

Follow these steps to make sure you’re wearing your AirPods correctly:

  1. First, check the L and R marking on each earbud and align each one accordingly with your left and right ears.
  2. Slide the earbuds in, preferably one at a time.
  3. Give each one a gentle nudge while ensuring the stem is pointing downwards and parallel with your face.
  4. Rotate the earbuds gently until you feel they’re wedged in and fit securely in your ears, with the stem lying parallel to your jawline.

You’re Suffering from an Ear Infection

Read more: Do AirPods charge one at a time?

The truth is ear pain is more commonly a result of a pair of ill-fitting AirPods or over-excessive use. However, we still have to consider another possibility: an ear infection.

The good news is that you can easily determine whether the pain you’re feeling stems from the earbuds or is a deeper type of pain.

Ear infections are typically felt deep within the ear canal or surrounding the eardrums. Unfortunately, this pain doesn’t go away by simply taking off your AirPods. It may even increase and become more inflamed.

While an ear infection can result from various reasons, it can also be caused by the improper use of your AirPods. Here are a few tips to help avoid getting an ear infection from your earbuds:

  • Don’t stick the AirPods deep into your ear canal
  • Avoid wearing them for more than 90 minutes, as we mentioned above
  • Don’t share your AirPods with other people or use someone else’s earbuds
  • Clean your AirPods weekly to prevent moisture build-up and bacterial growth
  • Use foam tips instead of silicone

A Final Note

We’re all in agreement when it comes to the question: do AirPods hurt your ears? Unfortunately, they do.

However, there are ways to reduce this feeling of discomfort. Use our guide to help you figure out why your ears and hurting. Then, get to fixing the problem and enjoy a pain-free listening experience.