Why Do Headphones Give Me Hot Ear Syndrome?

Buying the right headphone is essential if you suffer from hot ear syndrome and for many it is something that is unavoidable so how does hot ears happen?

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Josh Koop

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Filed Under: Over Ear

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A pair of good headphones is a must for a wonderful experience of gaming and listening to music. But a major barrier to your amazing experience can be hot ears caused by over-ear headphones. You might be asking yourself, “Why do headphones make my ears hot?”

Over-ear headphones cover your ears and create a hot temperature inside. Poorly fitted headphones, the material of the ear cup, hot weather, etc. can cause your ears to get hot. You can manage this problem by choosing the right model with proper breathability and ventilation system.

But that’s not all. You may face hot ears wearing your headphones for various other reasons. And if you use your pair of headphones correctly and keep in mind a few things, you will be able to avoid this irritating problem.

In this guide, I will explain the reasons with further details on what makes your ears warm and sweaty while wearing headphones and how you can tackle this issue.

Reasons Behind Hot Ears For Wearing Over Ear Headphones

The over-ear headphone has no competition when it comes to pure sound quality and comfort level. If you use your headphones for a long period then these can be the best choice for you.

That’s why over-ear headphones are famous among musicians, audiophiles, music editors, and gamers.

But as you can see from the name, the over-ear headphones completely cover your ears and trap heat inside released by ear. So, your ears get hot with time, so why do headphones irritate my ears?

We all have heard the saying, ‘Smoke coming out of ear’. But some people actually do experience this irritating feeling and only they know how painful the feeling is.

Hot ear syndrome is a common issue headphone users have to face. Different reasons can cause this annoying problem. Some possible reasons behind this problem are- 

Wearing headphones without proper fit

Wearing too tight headphones is a major reason behind the hot and sweaty ear. Every individual has a unique shaped head and unique pair of ears. So, not every size will be a perfect fit for everyone.

If you buy a headphone that doesn’t fit you properly, you might face different problems that can cause hot ears. Such as-

  • High clamping force.
  • Feeling abnormal pressure on ears.
  • Airflow not passing through your ears.

Strong clamping force and tight ear cups make your ears uncomfortable. Additionally, they create an obstacle for air passing freely. As a result, the temperature of the inside environment rises and makes your ears red and hot.

Material of the ear cup

Ear cups are the most essential part of headphones. Material of the ear cups has a huge effect on making your ears red and hot. Different ear pad materials have different levels of breathability.

There are many leather lovers out there. But when it comes to breathability leather-made ear cups are not that great. Your ears are covered by the ear cups of headphones. So, the materials ear cups are made of can cause hotness of your ears.

For example, leather-made ear cups are not much breathable and cause your ears to become hot and sweaty.

But you have to keep in mind that the more breathable the earpads are, the more noise will go in. So, you have to compromise the sound quality a bit to get cozy headphones.

Weather Effects

External factors also have a notable effect on your ears’ hotness caused by headphones. When it is hot weather outside, you normally get sweaty and uncomfortable. Wearing headphones on a hot day will make you more uncomfortable for sure.

As the weather is already hot and by covering your ears you are making the inside environment hotter. Hence, your ears get hot and you may experience an irritating feeling in your ears.

Listening to high volume music

High volume music consumption already has its negative effect on our ears. It can cause hearing problems and can even make anyone deaf.

But do you know it is also a possible reason behind the hotness of your ears? Yes, your ears can get hot if you listen to music on high volume for a long time.

Listening to music on high volume increases blood flow in your ears which causes your ears to become warm and sweaty. 

Some models just get too hot

Most over-ear headphones hold heat inside and lessen airflow. But some specific headphones themselves get too hot. As a result, wearing them makes your ears feel like burning.

There is no doubt over-ear headphones are the most comfortable ones. But not to mention all models can’t give you comfort. Some headphone models have heating issues. If you use them for a long time they get hot and produce heat.

No doubt wearing hot headphones will make your ears hot and uncomfortable. Thus, one of the major reasons behind hot ear syndrome caused by headphones is headphones themselves.

Managing Hot Ears Caused by Headphones

Okay, hot ears are very irritating for anyone. I myself have this problem and used to store my high-quality headphones away in the summer seasons.

But, in my years of trying to find out new ways to get over this problem I found a few things that helped me and I’m sure that they’ll help a lot of you as well. 

Here are some tips on managing your hot and sweaty ears while using over ear headphones:

  • Try out headphones before buying them and find a perfect fit headphone for you.
  • Consider buying light-weight headphones.
  • Buy headphones with velour or velvet-made ear cups.
  • Try to upgrade headband padding and replace earpads with a more breathable one.
  • Think about buying headphones with adjustable parts.
  • Buy open-back headphones.
  • When your ears get hot, slowly stretch your headphones now and then to keep the inside environment mild.
  • Avoid using headphones for a long time on summer days.
  • Consider using earbuds instead of over-ear headphones in hot weather.
  • Keep your ac on.
  • Try to keep a charger fan near your ears.
  • Give yourself breaks in between working with your headphones on for a long period.
  • Avoid buying specific models with heating issues.
  • Do proper research before buying.
  • Always check reviews before buying your desired model and choose the right one.
  • If you’ve tried everything and the issue persists use earphones or earbuds instead. They don’t cover your ears keeping them dry and cool.

As over-ear headphones cover the full area of your ears, the normal flow of air cannot pass through them. It is not possible to avoid the hot ear syndrome completely. Yet, you can always reduce the problem.

I have given a few suggestions in this article to manage the hot ear syndrome caused by wearing headphones.

If you keep these suggestions in mind you will be able to decrease the hotness of your ears to a great extent. So, try to follow these suggestions and have an incredible experience with your headphones on.


As of now, I hope you’ve got the answer to your question, “Why do headphones make my ears hot?”. Buying the right headphone is essential if you suffer from hot ear syndrome. And if it is something that is unavoidable for you then follow my tips to avoid this issue.

I would suggest wearing earphones or at least open back headphone if it is too troubling for you. Sure, you will lose out on quality but at least you won’t risk having ear infections.

Thanks for reading. And I hope this article was informative enough to answer all of your queries. Until next time, farewell.

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Josh Koop

My name is Josh and I have always had a fascination with headphones and later earbuds as I have focus issues.

I prefer headphones as they help me block out outside distractions and allow me to focus on getting things done while enjoying everything from audiobooks to music and movies.

2 thoughts on “Why Do Headphones Give Me Hot Ear Syndrome?”

  1. Hi two years ago I bought Bose QuiteComfort noise cancelling headphones. I love them but after 30 minutes my ears are “burning” from the warmth. Any solution? Other types of ear pad?

    • I personally found leather pads on Amazon from a random brand that have been comfy and not horrible, are you using them only to sit and listen or are you moving around like fitness or out in the sun where the sweat and other things would be a concern?


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