Why Does Airpods Hurt Your Ears?

Why Do Airpods hurt your ears

Apple Airpods are leading the wireless audio tech space, manufactured in clever shape; you can use AirPods while driving, exercising, attending calls, and even meetings on the go.

Being universally comfortable and wearable, there are some cases where Airpods are irritating to ears, causing infections, and even leading to hearing loss ( Depending upon the conditions that we will discuss ).

If you are annoyed by the constant pain and discomfort and have done repositioning or adjusting the AirPods, stick with this article till the end. We have listed a handful of proven solutions according to the cause.

We will dig deep into how and why you shouldn’t use AirPods, solutions to prevent pain or irritation caused by AirPods and some decent alternatives.

Why Do Airpods Hurt Your Ears? Are they bad?

Before we can say that Apple made an incompatible design of Airpods with the shape of ears, there are a few practical and more logical reasons why Airpods hurt your ears.

These are a few reasons of Airpods cause irritation or pain:

  • Ear Infection caused by Airpods
  • Wrong way of wearing Airpods
  • Excessive use of Airpods
  • Airpods do not fit properly in your ears

Airpods do not work properly in your ears

The leading cause of Airpods pain or irritation can be your unique ear profile because humans are also identified on the base of ear profile

which is a more effective identification than fingerprints because every human has unique fingerprints and ear profiles like depth, size, and shape.

So if you think that Airpods have an unfitting design for your years, that’s your ears with a unique profile because Airpods and Airpods both come in standard ( one-size-fits-all ) sizes. Adjustments can sometimes make the discomfort disappear, but that’s always the case.

The ear socket is usually 14mm in diameter, and AirPods are designed concerning 16mm in diameter because the silicon tip is pressed from all sides, which makes the AirPods stick in the ears to prevent falling while being comfortable.

Be gentle when inserting AirPods because if pushed too much deep, the silicon tip will pressurize the air canal, which can cause aches or soreness behind the ears. 

On top of that, when you push the AirPods too deep, the sound is louder when they enter your eardrum, which can even result in earache or headache.

AirPods Pro, on the other hand, is built differently and comes with three interchangeable ear tips allowing you to use the one that fits in your ears comfortably. This variant delivers a hands-free sonic experience and is safe to operate below the decibel recommendation, especially when there is a lot of surrounding noise in your workplace or travel.

Wrong-way of wearing Airpods

Wearing the AirPods seems obvious, but it turns out it’s one of the major reasons for irritating your ears, making the whole wireless listening experience unpleasant.

Airpods slope bigger towards the outside, and the clever design with curves makes AirPods perfect for catching a variety of earhole sizes. But if not inserted correctly, these slopes and curves can cause overwhelming pain interrupting your calls, meetings, or games.

Other than that, inappropriate fitting of Airpods will result in falling while exercising, or your tragus starts to hurt. Sometimes wearing them right also can’t keep them in your ears, so those looking for a permanent solution can get foam earbud covers, but the sound gets muffled, and Airpods won’t easily fit inside the case.

Another surprising option is to use Nexcare Absolute Waterproof anti-slip tape that keeps the AirPods stick properly with a solid grip without leaving any room so that AirPods do not dislodge and fall out while moving, or playing, exercising, or even dancing. The best part is that this tape doesn’t add much thickness to the AirPods, so the pods fit perfectly inside the case, and the lid snaps shut completely.

AirPods Nexcare

So, ensure AirPods are not worn incorrectly, and you can eliminate the irritation. Maybe try using them upside down. That works perfectly fine for some people, but that depends on the ear profile of the person because it can also hurt your ear cavities if pressed against anything.

Excessive use of Airpods

The rich user experience, like superior audio quality, mobility, hand-free controls, transparency, and ANC ( Active Noise Cancelling), makes AirPods one of the most popular audio devices. But when you shove them into ears for too long, that seamless experience can easily turn into a nightmare resulting in chafing of skin, itchiness, or even ear pain.

The excessive use of AirPods can harm these ubiquitous buds because the circular and round shape can be discomforting for a long time. Plus, the earwax can accumulate near the eardrum giving the feeling of blocked ears, causing severe infection or increased pain.

So, the rule of thumb is to use the Airpods for 90 minutes and then get a break from your AirPods and remove them. Those feeling pain can gently massage the ear to feel comfortable and then put on the Airpods back after 10-15 minutes.

Make it your habit not to use AirPods for long periods without a break because overexposure to loud noise and the continued existence of silicon tips in your earlobes will cause ear pain, tinnitus, ringing in the ears, or sometimes temporary or permanent hearing loss.

Before you have to face dangerous consequences, take care of your ear health because hearing is outrageously precious, and once your list this invaluable commodity, you won’t be able to get it back.

Ear Infection caused by Airpods

Ear infections are either caused by using Airpods excessively or if someone else used your Airpods and you used them without proper cleaning and sanitizing; the latter happens rarely but is still a possible reason for ear infections.

The biggest culprit of ear infection, soreness, and aches is the excessive or improper use of Airpods. Sometimes, using Airpods used by others can cause bacteria-sharing, leading to further ear infections inside the ear canal, or sometimes ear cartilage feels sore and aching, that is an indication to sanitize the Airpods and also clear your ear cavities properly to prevent making your ear canal or ear drum the breeding ground for germs.

The rule of thumb is not to share your AirPods with others because places like the ears are usually home to germs or earwax that can become the leading cause of infectious diseases.

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Also, wear Airpods properly and never use them for more than 90 minutes. Still, suppose you start feeling pain before 90 minutes. In that case, that means you have either a sensitive ear canal or are already infected due to over-excessive us,e, which results in pain even after removing AirPods. You may have to take medical advice about it.

Logically, when you wear Airpods improperly or stick them too deeply, the ear canal is completely blocked, and now the moisture will build, or sometimes sweat can penetrate inside the ear mixing with the earwax leading to severe issues like fluid discharge or other nasty ear health problems.

The ill-fitting of Airpods can cause discomfort rather than infection. Still, long durations with improper adjustment can dampen your hearing nerves, raising the risk of hearing loss that you will not get back due to stretching, meditation, or therapy.

Sometimes you can feel pain right after you insert the Airpods in your ear; for that, you can remove the AirPods, massage the ears gently, and try reinserting, and you will feel better. If you are commuting, working, or casually listening to music, don’t forget to rest your ears after some time to decrease the risk of infection.

Treat your ears like an important body part. Sensitive skin is more vulnerable to infection, so regular cleaning Airpods is essential. Also, don’t forget to clean your ear canals clogged with earwax. You would never be able to bear the constant irritation of ears or itchy ear canals.

We won’t recommend or give any medical treatment yourself, but if you notice your ear canals are sore and get crusty from clear fluid drainage, visit a doctor. You will most likely be prescribed ear drops that you will easily get from your local pharmacy.

Follow these steps, and you can enjoy a versatile audio experience and a long list of benefits that AirPods offer.

 How to Stop Airpods From Hurting Your Ears

Airpods come in universal sizing designed to fit all types of ears; If you cannot adjust and position the Airpods properly, we have some tips about how to wear Airpods properly without hurting your ears.

How to Wear Airpods Properly

If you are going twills for a prolonged time, we recommend paying attention to how to wear Airpods properly. The standard Airpod variant rests on your ear lobe, but you can slightly push it forward, and the silicon tip will move into the canal. Thankfully, AirPods Pro is wisely designed to cater to this problem.

Those using AirPods can use the following methods to wear Airpods properly.

Clean AirPods Using Cotton Swab

The easiest and obvious thing to do is clean Airpods using a cotton swab, and you can also use some alcohol to sanitize the silicone tips. Use the cotton swab to remove ear wax, dirt, oil, or residue to ensure anything infectious doesn’t reach the ear. Be gentle while cleaning with the cotton swab because the speaker grill is too sensitive and not liquid-resistant ( When using alcohol for cleaning ). Once the tips are cleaned properly, insert the Airpods back, and you will feel a great grip because of the clean surface.

Left and Right AirPods

Both AirPods have labels on them, and when you are wearing the Airpods, look for the L  mark for the left ear and the R mark for the right ear on the stems of the pods to use them accurately in the right ear.

Adjusting Airpods

When you put or insert Airpods in your ear, you can either insert the Airpod upside down or downside down with the stem facing down straight, and alignment is super important here. You have the option to push the Airpods slightly inside to pressurize the ear canal to make the AirPods stick and grip.

Rotate the wedge for safe fitting

To make the Airpods stick tightly, rotate the wedge, and you will feel that the Airpods are locked if you want, you can align the stem with your jawline.

Wear Airpods one by one

No need to stuff both Airpods immediately in your ears, but first adjust and then insert the second one so that you may never face discomfort or pain later, and do not forget to take a 90 minutes break.

When you take a break, the AirPods go back into the case for charging, and the battery life will increase for longer use. According to your situation, you can also use one airport in mono-mode, which is a great feature, and thanks to the sensors, it works automatically.

How to Stop AirPods From Hurting Your Ears?

Airpods come with universal sizing that makes them compatible with the shape of your ear. Airpods have three customized silicone ear tips with S, M, and L labels to make things easier: Large, Medium, and Small. The M ear tip is attached with Airpods, and S and L ear tips are included in the package. You can start with the default tip, gently pull your earlobes, and loosely place the Airpods to determine whether it fits. 

Adjust Airpods according to the comfortable position

You can slightly push the Airpods further into the ear canal so that Airpods may not easily fall out. You can rotate the wedge to make Airpods stick stronger but be careful with the adjustment of the stem because that’s where the microphone resides; if you twist the AirPods, you will face problems during facetime, phone calls, or zoom meetings because the AirPods are away from your mouth.

By default, standard Airpods do not have silicon tips, but Airpods pro has silicon tips, and both have different methods to wear that we just explained above.

Ear Tips For AirPods

Suppose you feel uncomfortable with the default ear tips. In that case, you can swap with Large or Small ear tips accordingly so that you can adjust Airpods without pushing too hard against the skin because if you make them tightly, you will experience irritation, tingling, or soreness for over-excessive usage.

Confused about choosing the right ear tips? Follow these techniques to figure out the right ear tips for your Airpods.

1- Connect Airpods with your phone

2- Settings > Bluetooth > Press “i” icon
3- Press “ Ear Tip Fit Test.”

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4- The app will detect if Airpods are sealed properly; if you feel comfortable, you can figure it out.

Ear Tips By Other Manufacturers

There can be scenarios where you don’t feel comfortable with Airpod ear tips; you can instead go with third-party ear tips like memory foam tips manufactured with superior materials that adapt according to your ear shape, size, and diameter, remaining secure and comfortable.

The best example of third-party ear tips is Comply Foam Tips, which are widely used and have noise-isolating features to filter exterior ambient noises, giving you a seamless and immersive listening experience.


How to stop Airpods Max From Hurting Your Ears

Airpods Max is more like over-ear headphones designed cleverly to ensure you don’t experience ear pain, irritation, or other suffer suffering as it has a headband with clamping force to keep it sticky. The earpieces are properly cushioned to ensure comfort for long durations.

Stretch the headband out

When you receive the Airpods max, you should first stretch the headband because, by default, it will be tight over your head, and by trying, you can reduce the clamping force that it will have on your head.

Do not stretch too much, or the headband won’t cling to the sides and will keep falling. So gently pull it so you don’t have to face that excessive clamping pressure on your head that will usually cause irritation, pain, or even migraines.

To stretch the Airpods max, you can use the desired technique to ensure they are nicely and properly extended to the extent that they can easily fit your head. You can use a stack of books or even a football to put the Airpods max and leave it for a while.

This is how you will stretch the Airpods Max:

1- Arrange the books or get a football and make sure that the width is bigger than the width of your head because that will work for you.

2- Now, gently stretch the Airpods, put them on the object you are using, and do it one by one with ear cups.

3- Once the headband is properly placed, let it stay there in this stretched position for a while so that it will adjust itself according to that position; within two days, it will become thicker and stiffer in that position, and it won’t come back when you wear off from the object.

A pro tip for you is to avoid stretching the headband too much to increase the stretching of the headband; you can end it by breaking it with excessive pressure.

Replace the ear cushions

The need to replace the ear cushion of Airpods arose when people started complaining about allergic reactions, itching, and warm feeling after wearing the Airpods for a couple of minutes.

Although the clever design of the ear cups allows you to place them over the ears keeping away the speakers from the eardrum and preventing pressure on the ear cartilage, the problem occurs due to the material of earcups which is PET textile-covered polyurethane memory foam having isocyanates that cause problems for those having sensitive skin.

Fortunately, the ear pads can be replaced with Varrock ear cushions designed by a 3rd party, keeping in mind the issues that standard ear pads cause and ensuring supreme comfort for all types of persons.

The Varrock ear cushions feature luxury protein leather and acoustic memory foam delivering superior comfort. The best part is that the installation process is hassle-free and won’t give you a clicking noise while changing the pads; still, you can replace the ear pads without compromising the sound quality easily.


How to make Airpods Pro More Comfortable

Airpods are the best audio devices by far because you can insert the Airpod in your earhole, and it will squeeze without any grip. On top of that, the silicone covers enhance friction. Despite advanced technologies, you cannot get spatial audio, water resistance, and the longest battery life with Airpods.

Insert Airpods gently

It would help if you were careful while inserting Airpods inside your ear because putting Airpods too deep inside your ear can cause aggravation and pain. So, you should immediately remove the Airpods and do massage for quick healing of the pain; sometimes, using an ice pack can help get relief quickly because that trigger the body to send blood to the area.

Some people are unaware of the disadvantages caused by using Airpods too deeply inside the air and end up getting swelling or bruising caused by hard surfaces pushing in your ear like silicon tips.

If you do not take breaks while using, you may suffer tinnitus caused due to constant wearing of Airpods. Similarly, that can also cause the risk of developing hyperacusis.

So, you can avoid using Airpods that blast sound in front of your eardrum and dive-bomb your canals making Airpods susceptible to long-term damage. So, ditch the Airpods and look for better and improved alternatives.

Volume Limit while using Airpods

When you use Airpods for a long time and remove Airpods, you will be shocked by the sudden ferocious volume of the outer world. The maximum human ear limit to absorb sound is 90 decibels, equal to the noise of a lawn mower or yelling over a leaf blower.

Although we can listen at 102 dB, only for 10 minutes because it will be impossible to hear. Raising the volume from this level to further can cause serious ear damage, permanent hearing loss, or extreme headache.

The ideal limit is to use Airpods at 89 dB for up to 90 minutes and then give yourself a break to relax your ears.

Do not Insert Too Deep.

Airpods are extremely helpful when commuting, traveling, eating, working out, and exercising. If you upped the volume to escape loud noises and to increase productivity, you did the right thing. Be mindful about the placement because the incorrect order of Airpods can give you headaches around the temple.

Some people mindlessly shove Airpods deep inside ears, more than halfway into ears, which can be dangerous for raw ear canals. This will result in pressure and friction of the hard surface or Airpods, causing sores and making it uncomfortable to wear Airpods; you can experience localized bleeding. That doesn’t mean you have to replace the Airpod with the new one; you can use the interchangeable ear tips and choose the one compatible with your ear’s shape.

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This is so important to consider because it can quickly result in immense pain in your ear that your ear cartilage begins aching, and you won’t be able to get rid of that irritation in your ears for a long time.

Airpod Hurt My Ears Alternatives

There can be situations or reasons when Airpods are not ideal for you, or you have figured out that Airpods are not the right earphones for your ear. 

No need to worry because amazing Airpods alternatives are available, promising superior sound quality and unbelievable comfort without breaking your bank. These options include earbuds and over-the-ear headphones with features like Airpods.

Shure Sonic 215 ( Gen 2 )

The Shure Sonic 215 is a great over-ear earbud designed with a hook to secure the earbuds. At the same time, you do dancing, running, or any activity, they won’t come off, and you will be enjoying rich quality bass and sound with long-lasting comfort and the lightweight, low-profile design.

Soundcore Life P3

Short on budget? Get your hands on the Soundcore Life P3 AirPods wisely designed to give you comfort and rich sound quality without spending a dime. These earbuds are extremely comfortable and ultraportable. Plus, the ANC feature cuts background music allowing you to perform wireless operations like calls, meetings, video chats, Facebook live streams, and much more.

Jabra Elite Active 75t

These are the only earbuds that will never fall from your ears, whatever you do, thanks to the special grip coating that keeps the earbuds intact in your ears without compromising comfort. Plus, no need to worry about if you sweat a lot; these are already waterproof and sweatproof with a hygienic and protective fit.

The best part is that they come with a pocket-sized charging case to keep them with you like Airpods and take them anywhere you go while fully charged. Finally, the ANC feature keeps the background sounds and noises away from you while you enjoy your songs and movies.

So, suppose you are an audiophile looking for alternatives to Airpods to enjoy a pleasant and pain-free listening experience without suffering from aching ears. In that case, we recommend using these headphones even during vigorous activity to get aural leisure.

Some other options regarding safe listening and protective insulation are Samsung Galaxy Buds, Apple Powebeats Pro, Jaybird Vista, Bose Noise Cancelling headphones 700, and in the end Sony WH-1000XM3.

Airpods causing sores in ears

When Airpods cause sores in your ears, immediately remove Airpods and clean them with cotton swap using some alcohol and relax your ears with a quick massage.

Airpods hurt my ear cartilage.

When your ear cartilage hurts due to Airpods, that is an indication of infection, and you should do quick remedies to prevent that and leave using Airpods anymore.

Can AirPods cause inner ear problems?

Yes, Airpods can cause inner ear problems due to loud volume and mindlessly shoving Airpods in ears blocking the ear and facing issues like irritation, pain, tinnitus, and much more.

Airpods pro hurt my ears solution.

The solution when Airpods hurt your ear is either to adjust the position of the AirPods or completely remove them and see if you feel relaxed; you can quickly figure out what caused the pain.

Why do AirPods pro hurt my ears

Airpods hurt ears when ears are facing several infections due to the bacteria, tightening caused by AirPods, and loud volume near the eardrum.

How to wear AirPods correctly to make 

The best way to wear AirPods is to adjust the stem downside or, according to your jawline, which will make the microphone closer to your mouth to speak for calls and meetings easily.

Can Airpods make you deaf?

Airpods can make you deaf, but only when you keep them shoved in your ears and listen to the music at higher decibels can it cause a severe impact on your eardrum and health, leading to hearing loss or damage.

Can Airpods cause tinnitus?

There are no reported cases of tinnitus, but many people claimed they were treated with tinnitus because of using Airpods excessively.

Airpods causing pressure in ears?

Airpods can cause pressure in the ears when you press them too hard, and the soft ear canal is squeezed tightly, which can cause stress in your ears.

Is Airpods bad for your ear’s radiation?

Airpods do not release any radiation, but there are other disadvantages of using Airpods, like higher volume, near the ear drum, and so on.


I hope you got all the answers to “Airpods Hurt My ears,” We dig deeper into the problems to advise how you can enjoy your headphones and earbuds without pain. How you should use Airpods, and we also discussed some worthy alternatives that you can use to stop headphones from hurting your ears and say goodbye to the discomfort while listening to music once and for all.

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Robert Smith
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Robert Smith

Robert Smith is a technology lover and loves to write about laptops, monitors, printers, tablets, Apple products and anything that's related to computers and games. He is passionate enough that he maintains this blog regarding tech updates on a daily basis.