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5 Real Reasons Why Headphones Make Ears Hot (Updated 2023)

Why Headphones Make Ears Hot

It’s very frustrating when your ears get hot when you use headphones. 

And even more annoying when you don’t know why this happens.

But today, that’ll all change.

Because I’ll tell you the reasons for this problem and how you can stop it easily.

Continue reading to find out:

  • 5 real reasons why headphones make ears hot.
  • 5 quick ways to prevent headphones from making your ears too warm. 
  • 3 simple steps to stretch your headphones so they don’t press on your ears tightly. 
  • And this is just the beginning… 

Why headphones make ears hot – 5 reasons

#1: Non-breathable ear pad materials 

Similar to your clothes…

Headphone companies also make their earpads with different fabrics.

That said, some materials just aren’t as breathable as others. 

So when you wear your headphones with dense fabric for too long…

They’ll generate enough heat to reach your ears. 

For example, many companies use faux leather for their headphones’ earpads. 

That’s because they’re:

  • Affordable.
  • Comfortable.
  • Aesthetically pleasing. 

However, despite the advantages of this material… 

It traps the heat between your headphones and your ears more because it isn’t breathable.

So, as a result…

Your ears get too hot when you’re wearing your headset. 

#2: There’s sweat on your earpads

Sweat on your headphones’ earpads is also 1 of the reasons why your ears are hot. 

That’s because when your headset’s ear foams are wet…

You’ll create a tighter seal between your ears and your headphones.

So, as a result, your earpads will be less-breathable than they originally were. 

And the heat won’t be able to escape your earpads. 

#3: Your headphones have a strong clamping force

As you probably noticed already…

New pair of headphones will usually hug your head tightly. 

But with regular use, they’ll eventually loosen up to fit you comfortably. 

See, this happens because companies add a strong clamp force to their devices. So that your headphones won’t fall off when you move your head. 

However, despite the practical reasons for this feature…

Headphones that are too tight will cause your ears to be extremely hot.

That’s because they further prevent air from passing through your skin and your device. 

Recommended reading: 7 Ways To Stop Headphones From Hurting Your Ears

#4: The weather’s too hot 

The Weather's Too Hot

Sometimes, it’s not really your headphones’ fault.

Rather, the temperature around is causing your ears to get hot.

See, similar to how wearing a jacket in summer will make you feel warmer than wearing a shirt… 

Using your headphones when there’s a heat wave will also make your ears feel hotter. 

That’s because you’ll cover more of your skin in this scenario. 

Moreover, during summertime…

The air circulating your earcaps will also have a higher temperature. 

So your headphones won’t be able to cool off efficiently. 

#5: You’re wearing your headphones for too long

Whether you’re wearing headphones for entertainment or work…

Using your device for hours without a break will cause your ears to get hot. 

That’s because your earpads and skin naturally cause friction together.

And you’ll be restricting airflow to your ears for a long duration. 

You might also want to know: Can Headphones Explode? 3 Surprising Facts (Updated)

How to prevent headphones from making your ears hot

You can prevent your headphones from making your ears hot by getting a model with velour earpads. Or by stretching out your device so it won’t press on your ears too tightly. Moreover, taking breaks while using your headphones will also help ease your ears.

Now, for more details about these simple solutions, read the sections below. 

#1: Get headphones with velour earpads

As mentioned earlier…

Certain earpad materials are simply hotter than others.

That said, the easiest way to prevent your ears from getting too hot is to:

Buy a headset model that uses the velour fabric.

See, this is the most breathable and comfortable material for earpads. 

Thus, it’ll keep your ear much cooler than other fabrics like faux leather can. 

“But I already have headphones that I like.”

In that case, you can simply buy replacement earpads for your device made with velour. 

For example, if you have Bose headphones…

You can use these cushion earpads from the same brand. 

Important: Follow the installation instructions for your replacement earpads properly. This way, you won’t risk damaging your headphones’ speakers. And you’ll also have an easier time replacing your device’s earpads. 

#2: Stretch out your headphones

As you know by now…

Tight headphones also make your ears hot.

So 1 easy way to avoid this problem is to stretch out your headset gradually. 

Now, fret not. This process is extremely easy to do. 

And you can also try it out on all types of headphones regardless of their brand. 

With that said, simply follow the steps below to know…

How to stretch your headphones safely:

Step 1: Measure your head

Get a measuring tape, then measure your head’s width from one ear to another. 

After doing so, record the value that you get, and then…

Step 2: Grab 5-10 books 

Make your books stand side by side as they usually do on shelves.

Then, by adding or removing some of them… 

Make your book stack’s total width exceed your head’s measurement by 5 cm.

Warning: Ensure that your books are only 5 cm wider than your head. Because if they’re much longer, you’ll risk overstretching your headphones. Or worse, you even snap the headband of your device. 

Step 3: Put your headphones over your books

Gently stretch your headphones across the books. 

And ensure that your device’s earcaps are pressing flat on the books at both ends.

Now, leave your headphones in this position overnight or anytime you’re not using them.

And continue doing so for 1 to 2 weeks.

Or whenever your headphones feel more comfortable when you wear them again. 

That said, if you want a visual guide to this process, I recommend watching this video:

#3: Wipe the sweat from your headphones

Unfortunately, as mentioned…

Moisture-build-up on your headphones can cause your ears to feel hot. 

Luckily though, if you simply remove the sweat from your earcaps…

Your ears will be able to remain cooler when you wear your headphones again.

That said, anytime you can feel moisture between your ears and your device…

Take your headphones off. Then, using a clean microfiber cloth…

Wipe your device’s earpads until there’s no sweat on them anymore.

After that, you can continue wearing your headphones again as usual. 

On top of doing this, at least twice a month, I also recommend that you… 

Follow these steps to thoroughly clean your earpads:

Step 1: Remove your earpads

The exact steps to do this will depend on your device’s brand.

But for most headphones…

Simply pulling the earpads’ fabric will safely remove them away from the device. 

Step 2: Create a cleaning mixture

Fill a large bowl (10-12 inches in diameter) with warm water.

Then, pour a teaspoon of laundry detergent into the bowl. 

After doing so, mix the 2 ingredients for half a minute before you proceed to…

Step 3: Put your earpads into the bowl

Squeeze your earpads while they’re under the cleaning solution. So that they can soak the soap into their fabric.

After doing so, gently scrub each pad with your fingers.

Step 4: Squeeze out your earpads

Remove your earpads from the bowl.

And try to get as much water out of their fabric by squeezing them. 

Step 5: Put your earpads in another bowl with clean, room-temperature water.

Rinse your earpads in this bowl by dipping them in and squeezing them at least 3 times. 

On your last squeeze, remove as much water from the pads as possible, then… 

Step 6: Hang your earpads to air-dry

Warning: Avoid putting your earpads in the dryer because you might damage them. 

Step 7: Return them to your headphones

Once your earpads are fully dried… 

Reattach them to your headphones. 

And enjoy you’re much cleaner device with earpads that have better breathability. 

Note: You can also do this cleaning process once a week. And I recommend doing so if you use your headphones for more than 30 hours weekly. 

#4: Take breaks

Taking breaks is 1 of the easiest yet most effective ways to:

Prevent your ears from getting too hot while wearing headphones. 

Because simply speaking, if you don’t wear your headset for long enough…

Your ears won’t get hot in the first place.

That said, the best tip I have for you is this: 

Remove your headphones if you feel like your ears are starting to get warm.

Then, let air naturally cool off your ears and device for at least 5 minutes.

After doing so, wear your headphones again.

And you’ll notice how much better your ears will feel just by taking short breaks. 

#5: Wear in-ear headphones when the weather’s hot 

Unfortunately, due to friction and lack of airflow…

Over-ear and on-ear headphones will almost certainly cause your ears to feel hot. Especially during the summer or when you’re moving actively.

That said, if your ears are prone to getting hot when using headphones…

I highly suggest using in-ear headsets or earbuds during warmer days instead.

That’s because these models are plugged directly into your ear canal.

So they won’t block the airflow from reaching your ears’ skin. 

“But I’m not comfortable with putting earbuds inside my ears.”

In that case, you can try wearing bone-conduction headphones instead. 

See, these models transmit sound waves through your skull instead of your ear canal.

So you won’t be using any earpieces. 
And instead, a small vibration-generating pad will sit on the skin above your ears.