Can Earbuds Cause Neck Pain?

You may be wondering if using earbuds could lead to neck pain. In this article, we’ll answer this question by looking at the facts.

Woman with neck pain

Technology has advanced a lot, and I no longer have to disturb other people in the house when listening to music. I recently bought earbuds and love how well they fit in my ears. However, the main concern is whether or not they cause neck pain.

The short answer is yes. Earbuds can cause neck pain. The long answer is that it depends on how often you use them and what type of activity you are doing at the time.

How Earbuds Cause Neck Pain

When we wear earbuds, it’s not a guarantee that they will cause neck pain. It all depends on how you wear them and for how long. Let’s explore more about how earbuds cause neck pain.

Wearing Earbuds Incorrectly

The main reason earbuds cause neck pain is that they are often used incorrectly. I have realized that most people who complain of discomfort don’t know how to use these devices. These people are not aware of the proper way to use them. If you are one of these people, I suggest you learn how to wear earbuds properly. Wearing them properly would prevent neck pain or other ear discomforts.

The most common problem with earbuds is that people wear them too low on their ears. I have worn them this way and realized that my neck was becoming painful. The cable pressure on the neck muscles leads to pain.

We all know that using earbuds for long periods can cause neck pain. But why? The answer is simple: poor posture. When I sit at my desk and use the computer, I tend to lean forward while working on my laptop. 

In most cases, I use earbuds; therefore, the pressure from the cables pulling from my ears also contributes to neck pain.

Man wearing earbuds and making a call

Wearing Earbuds For Long Hours Can Cause Neck Pain

There are several ways that earbuds can cause neck pain. The most obvious is if I wear them while doing physical activity such as running or working out at the gym.

In this case, I have to focus on keeping the earbuds firm in my ear and balancing my body. However, if used for long hours, they cause neck pain due to the pressure of balancing the head.

Another way earbuds cause neck pain is if I wear them for long hours. Most people do not realize how much their head weighs when it is upright and unsupported by anything else.

Our necks are designed to support our heads but can only do so for a certain time before they become fatigued. When using earbuds, we keep our heads upright without other support systems, such as pillows or chairs. Hence, we increase the chances of developing neck pain from the earbuds.

You may also be interested in the 5 Best Earbuds For Working Out To Improve Your Fitness.

Earbuds Enhance Muscle Tension

Earbuds cause muscle tension around the jawline and back of the head. When we use earbuds, we tend to clench our jaws and press the back of our heads against hard surfaces like walls and tables. In turn, this causes muscle tension around the jawline and back of the head. These muscles can become sore after a while because they are not used to being in such a position for long periods.

Our jawline and back of the head contract when we listen to music. Hence, this causes us to develop tension headaches and muscle soreness. The jawline muscles are not used to holding their position for extended periods.

This causes these muscles to become sore after using earbuds for a few hours. If you are experiencing these symptoms, try using better-quality earbuds that reduce noise and support your head.

Neck pain is a common problem that many people experience when they use earbuds. When we listen to music through earbuds, we tend to make faces or expressions as if we were singing along with the music. We also move our heads left and right as if we are dancing. These movements put pressure on the jawline and back of the head muscles, which can cause them to become sore after using earbuds for a few hours.

Woman wearing earbuds after yoga

Ear Infections

Earbuds can lead to neck pain when they cause otitis. Otitis is an inflammation of the ear canal. It can cause pain, itching, and aching in the ears. The condition causes hearing loss if left untreated. Earbuds can cause otitis because they block out external sounds that would otherwise tell us when we are putting too much pressure on our ears by wearing them too tightly.

Earbuds may cause other infections when they get stuck in our ears. When they get stuck, they block airflow and cause bacteria to grow. The condition can lead to painful infections like a swimmer’s ear because the earbuds facilitate sweating.

When we develop ear infections, we experience pain, itching, and aching in the ears. These symptoms are often accompanied by fever and a sore throat. Eventually, they will result in neck pain, making it challenging for us to engage in daily activities.

What To Do About It?

If we experience this problem, it’s best to use earbuds designed to offer more support for our head and neck. The support helps reduce pain and discomfort, so you can enjoy your music without interruption. It will keep the jaw and neck muscles relaxed, thus preventing neck pain.

When using earbuds for long periods, choosing a pair that fits properly in our ears is important. We may experience soreness after using them for several hours if they don’t fit. It’s also advisable to use them for a short period. If not possible, we should remove them from time to time to allow the ear muscles to relax.

When we use earbuds too long, they are prone to accumulating bacteria. The bacteria could highly contribute to the occurrence of ear infections. Therefore, we should clean the earbuds as frequently as possible. When cleaning, it’s best to pour a little sanitizer on the wiping cloth. The sanitizer would kill any bacteria that could have caused ear infections.

Interesting read – Are Earbuds Good For Gaming?

Frequently Asked Questions

Do All Earbuds Cause Neck Pain?

Not all earbuds can cause neck pain. Different earbuds have different designs, making them more or less likely to cause neck pain. For example, some models are designed to sit in our outer ear rather than inside it. These models are more comfortable and don’t put as much pressure on the ears.

If we buy uncomfortable earbuds, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t throw them away. The secret is wearing them for a short period and cleaning them regularly. In this case, they will not pressure our ears or accumulate bacteria that could cause infections.

Black wired earbuds

Can Earbuds Cause Jaw Pain?

Our neck muscles connect to the jawline. If we experience neck pain due to the wrong or prolonged use of earbuds, the chances are high that we will develop jaw pain too. The earbuds put a lot of pressure on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The joint connects the skull and the lower jaw, and therefore, the tension causes soreness and pain.

Related article – Can Earbuds Cause TMJ?

How Can I Stop Earbuds From Causing Neck Pain?

The best way to stop our earbuds from causing neck pain is to wear them for a short period. Since they cause pressure on the ears, wearing them for short periods would make them rest.

We should also choose a design that fits the ear without causing pressure or soreness. Also, cleaning them would reduce their chances of causing infections that contribute to neck pain.