Why Do Headphones Hurt Your Jaw? 4 Reasons

When purchasing noise-canceling headphones, all you look forward to is enjoying the use of the headphone without any troubles. Jaw and face pain can range from mild to excruciating when this is the case. Whichever one it is, you do not want the discomfort that comes from having your headphones clipped to your ears.

Headphones clamp down on your ears, stretching the muscles down to your jaw. The squeezing causes temporal skull tension, which consequently increases jaw bone pain. While this isn’t a widespread condition, you should be aware headphones can cause this much discomfort.

Regardless of your experience with headphones, you should be aware of the potential risks of having this pain. This is mostly aggravated when you are the kind of user that wears headphones for long periods. This post is a guide on how to prevent jaw pains from headphones and their causes.

What are the reasons for jaw ache from headphone use?

When you wear your headphones and begin to notice discomfort and jaw pain after some time, it is a pointer to needed adjustments. You may need to simply take it off for a while or see a doctor in extreme cases. Whichever one, it is advisable always to pay attention to these changes.

Many people assume this pain simply disappears after some time of using the headphone. Well, this may not be the case, as you can’t exactly ascertain the severity of the condition. Let’s look at some reasons why your jaw could ache from using headphones.

1. Prolonged usage

A lot of people wear headphones from one hour to the next, and time entirely sips through the day. It is not uncommon to find people playing loud music and nodding to them for extended hours. In as much as you love to enjoy buzzing sounds, you should note the risks that could come from prolonged use of headphones.

As stated earlier, headphones clamp down on your ears with considerable pressure. This pressure spreads through your facial muscle and may put too much strain on your jawbones. It’s not uncommon to find people adjusting their headphones after using them for some time, to ease the pressure a bit.

If you are in this league, chances are you may suffer what people who are exposed to long use of headphones suffer.

2. You may be suffering from TMJ

It is a common belief that clamping down headphones over your ears may possibly aggravate TMJ if you’re already a sufferer. Temporomandibular joint pain is a form of localized pain between the lower jaw and the skull. As a sufferer who is addicted to headphones, you may be at risk of increasing the pain you suffer.

There are speculations of headphones possibly inciting this condition. This is still a blurry scientific possibility, though. However, there could still be a minute chance of this happening if your jaw muscles are always under stress.

3. Your headphone music may be too loud

It is always exciting to turn up the volume on your headset. This not only shuts the world away from you when you need to, but it also stimulates a certain kind of pleasure. This is exactly the reverse situation when the constant buzz on your face leads to aching jaws.

4. The earphone bands are not the right size

For people with big heads, failing to adjust undersized headphones to the right size exerts too much pressure on your jaws. The clamping force of the headphone is simply too strong, and you may need to release it a bit. Many headphone users do not pay attention to this, and the pain sets in eventually.

What Remedies Can Stop Jaw Pains from Headphones?

Now that you have found out the possible ways you can overburden your jaw by using your headphones, you may want to consider the remedies. The remedies discussed here are practical day-to-day habits you should adopt in your use of headphones. Whether at work, home, or in an airplane, these routines come handy in curbing the onset of this pain.

Use the right kind of headphones.

With nearly 50% of people aged between 12 and 35 exposed to unsafe levels of sound, you should worry about your choice of headphones. Active noise-cancellation headphones can block out sounds in almost the same way as earplugs. With lesser sound pressure, your jawbones and muscles are safe from intense vibrations.

However, it is always recommended that you set your volume controls before you plugin. Ensure to always adjust the volume to levels that are just comfortable and not too loud. You sure do not want extra stress added to the clamping force that headphones give your face.

Spend lesser time with your headphones

Everybody agrees to the magical therapeutic effect music has, especially when confined to your ears alone. However, it is wise to put your heart on the precautionary side to avoid the discomfort associated with prolonged listening time. You could limit strapping your headphones over your head from 8-hour usage to 3 hours.

After all, you don’t want to deal with the excruciating jaw pains that may result from prolonged use of headphones.

See a doctor if you have TMJ.

You may want to see a doctor if you notice signs of temporomandibular joint pains whenever you plug in your headset. TMJ pains range from mild symptoms to severe ones. Getting this out of the way would definitely restore the pleasure you get from using your headset once again.


In the end, if you are experiencing pains in your jaw from the use of headphones, the underlying cause is always traceable. The first thing to note is the frequency of the headphones used and the kind of headphones. Even though most headphones incite this kind of pain, it is always safer to opt for ones with lesser likelihood.

Another important thing you should inculcate into your daily usage of headphones is adjusting them to fit your head size. This may sound trivial, but it goes a long way to offset the pressure that this exerts on your facial muscles. The best way to prevent this is by adopting precautionary measures that prevent it from happening in the first place.

Recent Posts