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How To Wear Headphones With Glasses

Headphones and glasses can be an uncomfortable pairing. If you are finding it difficult to wear headphones while you’re wearing glasses and want some relief, this is the article for you.

Here is what you will learn in this article:

  • Why wearing glasses with over-ear headphones causes discomfort
  • How to alleviate the pain of wearing glasses and headphones
  • 8 tips to help ease the discomfort of wearing glasses with headphones
  • The best headphones to wear with glasses

Let’s jump in!

Why do glasses and headphones hurt?

Headphones aren’t one-size-fits-all, or even close to it! 

When you take into account the size and shape of one’s head, the uniqueness of each individual’s ears, and whether or not they use glasses, there are a lot of factors that prevent manufacturers from making a pair of headphones that are comfortable for everyone.

That means you may have to try on different headphone sets, go through some trial and error, and even make your own adjustments.

If you have experienced pain from wearing headphones and glasses, it’s likely from the arms of your glasses pressing into the sides of your head. The pain could also be centered on your ears.

Headphone components that can cause pain include:

It’s important to consider these factors when buying a new pair of headphones, or when considering why your current set isn’t working for you.

In addition, your glasses might have thick frames that make wearing headphones difficult.

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8 tips to ease the pain

  1. Loosen your headphones
  2. Invest in headphone cushions
  3. Purchase thinner framed glasses
  4. Wear over-ear versus on-ear headphones
  5. Position your glasses differently
  6. If all else fails, cut lines in your headphone cushions
  7. Purchase a new set of headphones
  8. Invest in earbuds

1. Loosen your headphones

The most obvious option, if you have adjustable headphones, is to loosen them. Don’t pull them so loose that they fall off your head, but instead adjust them by a notch or two and see if this helps your pain.

You can also try stretching your headphones out by setting them over another object. In a way, this is like wearing in shoes: it can make the headphones more comfortable.

However, be careful not to overstretch or break your headphones in this process.

If both of these options fail, you might consider buying a new pair of headphones with less clamping force to reduce the pressure placed on your ears and head.

2. Invest in headphone cushions

The more cushion a pair of headphones has, the less likely it is to hurt your head or ears. But you’ve already purchased your headphones, and likely don’t want to go out and buy a new pair.

The solution is to invest in headphone cushions instead. These are inexpensive and allow you to customize your headphones to your own preferences.

Of course, you’ll need to purchase smartly. I recommend double-checking your measurements to ensure your cushions will fit the pair of headphones you already own, as there are various sizes on the market.

You should also be aware of the different cushioning materials and which you prefer. Everyone is different in this regard, but the material will affect both your comfort level and sound quality.

Common materials used are foam, velour, fabric, leather, and suede. Lightweight and soft materials tend to be more comfortable than the heavier, firmer options.

3. Purchase thinner-framed glasses

This solution can be pricey, but it’s also likely to work if your glasses are the cause of your pain. Purchasing thinner-framed glasses can reduce some of the bulk that causes them to be pushed into your head or ear.

You might also consider glasses designed to work with headphones, such as those without an over-the-ear piece.

4. Use over-ear versus on-ear headphones

Over-ear headphones are designed to surround your ears rather than sit atop them as on-ear headphones do.

If your on-ear headphones press your ear into your glasses, creating ear pain or headaches, over-ear headphones can alleviate that pressure.

Keep in mind, however, that over-ear headphones tend to be heavier and clamp tighter against your head. For this reason, they might unfortunately mean swapping one pain for another.

If you can try on a pair of over-ear headphones before purchase, I recommend that method. It will help prevent you from spending more money than you have to.

5. Position your glasses differently

Positioning your glasses differently, if possible, might help to eliminate your pain.

Try hooking your glasses over your headphones, or lifting them up slightly to sit beneath the cushion rather than directly behind your ears.

Of course, this won’t work for all glasses or all headphone sets. But if it works for you, it can save you from having to spend money on a different solution.

6. Cut the headphone cushion where your glasses sit

The last way to save your current set of headphones is to try cutting a line in your headphone cushion where they press against your glasses. This will remove the pressure against your glasses if done correctly. 

I recommend this only as a last resort, as you have a chance of ruining your headphones in your attempt. But if you’re already committed to buying earbuds or a new set of headphones, it might be worth the risk.

7. Purchase new headphones

If you can’t make your current headphones work, it might be worth trying again with a new pair and the information you’ve learned in this article.

Try buying a pair that’s more lightweight, has thicker or softer ear pads, or with less clamping force.

If you can pinpoint the problem with your current headphones, that will make buying a new pair that truly works for you much simpler.

8. Invest in earbuds

If you can’t make headphones work for you, investing in earbuds may be the best option you have.

Earbuds go into your ears rather than atop of or around them, so they put no pressure on your head or the frames of your glasses.

They’re also lighter than headphones and put minimal pressure on your ears.

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