How to Keep Ears Cool While Wearing Headphones


Wearing headphones for several hours might get your ears sweaty and uncomfortable. So what can you do to keep your ears cool during long sessions? 

If you easily sweat, you can keep your ears cools by wearing headphones that fit you perfectly, replacing your headphones’ earpads, covering your ears with an absorbent material, adjusting your room’s temperature, or simply buying a more breathable set of headphones. Depending on your situation, one or more of these solutions should work. 

Keeping your ears cool while wearing headphones not only provides comfort. It helps keep your ears healthy as well. But before we go into the specifics of how to keep your ears cool while using headphones, you must know why your ears sweat first.

Why Your Ears Sweat When You Wear Headphones

There are various reasons why your ears sweat whenever you use headphones.

  1. Your Headphones’ Clamping Effect

To better understand why your ears sweat when you wear headphones, let us explain the concept of the clamping effect, which headphones have.

This effect is described as the force your headphones apply on your ears whenever you wear them. Too much force and your headphones become painful. Too little and your headphones will slide off your head. 

The amount of clamping force your headphones exert on your ears can contribute to the amount of sweat your ears produce after a certain time. The higher the clamping force, the higher the amount of sweat (in most cases). 

  1. Your Headphones’ Earpad Material

Headphone earpads are made of various materials. However, some of these materials are less breathable than others. 

We hate to break it to leather lovers out there, but leather and pleather are not that breathable. They can make your ears sweat easily. 

Velour, another common earpad material, is more breathable than leather and pleather. 

The most comfortable out of all earpad materials is velvet. Most users attest to this, making it one of the most well-sought earpad materials for those who sweat easily. 

Thus, your earpad material can contribute to how much your ears sweat whenever you use headphones. The more breathable the material is, the less sweat your ears produce. The less breathable the material is, the more sweat your ears produce. 

  1. Your Body’s Condition

The next factor contributing to how much your ears sweat when using headphones has nothing to do with your headphones. It has something to do with how your sweat glands work. 

Some people just sweat less, and others just sweat more. For starters, genetics determine how much you sweat. Some people are born with genes that make them prone to sweating, while others are not.

Beyond that, an underlying health condition can contribute to how much your ears sweat. Having type 2 diabetes or thyroid issues makes you sweat more. 

Also, less hydrated people tend to sweat less than those who aren’t. So the more water you drink, the more you tend to sweat when using your headphones.

  1. Your Environment’s Temperature

External factors also play a big role in how much your ears sweat when wearing headphones.

In a nutshell, your body sweats to keep your body cool. It takes your body heat to get rid of sweat off of your skin. As your body heat converts your sweat into vapor, your body starts to cool down. 

Thus, how much your body sweats depends on your environment’s temperature. The higher the external temperature is, the more sweat your body must produce to keep you cool. 

This is why you sweat a lot when wearing headphones outside, with a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The exact principle applies when you barely sweat in an air-conditioned room. 

Check out this article for a list of the best sweat-resistant over-ear headphones.

How to Keep Your Ears Cool

Now that you know why your ears sweat whenever you wear headphones, it’s time to know how to prevent it from happening. Here’s how to keep your ears cool while listening to music or gaming. 

  1. Use headphones that fit you perfectly. 

As stated earlier, headphones with a strong clamping force hurt your ears. On the contrary, those with less force slip off easily. Thus, you must find the perfect balance between the two.

Before choosing a new pair of headphones to buy, make sure that they fit you perfectly. Now, the perfect headphones vary from one user to another. The right headphones for one user might not be the right one for another.

To find the perfect headphones, try them on before buying them. If you are purchasing them online, make sure to ask the seller about the headphones’ clamping force first. 

  1. Replace your earpads.

Different materials have different breathability levels. If you suspect that your earpads are the culprit behind your sweating, replace them.

Most users complain about pleather being the least breathable earpad material. If your earpads are made of it, it’s ideal for you to replace them. If leather earpads make you sweat as well, replacing them with earpads made of velour or velvet can help. 

If your earpads are made of velour or velvet, and your ears still sweat excessively, perhaps the material’s not the culprit. Given this, you can do the other things on this list. 

If earpads for your headphones exist, then most likely you can get a replacement pair on Amazon.

  1. Cover your ears with an absorbent material.

The most simple yet effective way of dealing with your sweating ears when wearing headphones is covering your ears. Many users do this, especially those who cannot buy earpad replacements right away.

However, you must be careful in choosing what to cover your ears with. It’s best to use absorbent material like cotton. Tissue can work as well, but they have to be regularly replaced, especially if you are wearing your headphones for a long time.

Covering your ears will not only help you deal with sweat. It helps protect your headphones from your sweat, too.

  1. Adjust your room’s temperature. 

Since your surrounding’s temperature affects how much you sweat, a simple solution would be adjusting it. This can be easily done when you’re in a room. You can simply turn off the thermostat or adjust the AC.

Some users say that simply being under a cold AC unit didn’t help them much. What helped them more is turning the electric fan on, and pointing it towards their ears. 

When you’re outdoors, there’s not much you can do. Instead of relying on an appliance, you can bring a battery-powered fan and put it near your face. If you don’t have one, you can fan yourself by hand. 

  1. Buy a breathable pair of headphones. 

The last way to keep your ears cool while wearing headphones is buying a pair of breathable headphones. Breathable headphones are a godsend to those who easily and excessively sweat. 

Sifting through the many companies claiming that they have the most breathable headphones is daunting. If there’s one statement you have to remember, it’s this― the best pair of headphones for you is one that provides comfort and great airflow. 

Speaking of breathable headphones, here are our top 2 recommendations.

What Headphones Don’t Make Your Ears Hot

HP Omen Mindframe Headset  

HP Omen Mindframe Headset
HP Omen Mindframe Headset

The HP Omen Mindframe Headset is the first set of headphones to have active cooling technology. This is a groundbreaking feature that definitely sets this pair of headphones apart from others. 

The technology works well for those who sweat a lot. In particular, the HP Omen Mindframe Headset’s earcups contain thermoelectric devices that transfer heat from the earcups to the outside. This cools the metal grilles inside the cup. 

The headset further helps eliminate sweat through its earcups made of breathable, moisture-absorbing fabric. This provides great airflow, while absorbing any excess sweat produced by your ears.

You’ll be also pleased to know that the active cooling mechanism doesn’t produce any sound. You don’t have to worry about the cooling technology distracting you from your favorite music or game. 

Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless Headphones 

Sennheiser PXC 550-II
Sennheiser PXC 550-II

Following the HP Omen Mindframe Headset in terms of breathability are the Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless Headphones

This pair of headphones boasts a breathable design that allows air to freely flow through so that your ears don’t sweat. It is also liked by many gym enthusiasts. This affirms the Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless Headphones’ capability in keeping your ears cool. 

Additionally, the headset’s temperature difference (before and after putting the headphones on) is lower compared to many over-ear headphones. This means that the Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless Headphones don’t heat up easily.  

Conclusion

Keeping your ears cool while wearing headphones is a must, especially for those who easily and excessively sweat. Doing so doesn’t only make you comfortable. It helps you focus on the task (or game) at hand, and protects your beloved headphones as well. 

So the next time you shop for the right pair of headphones, always remember that they must be breathable and comfortable. 

Rune Bearson

As you can see, I love my headphones! I use them every day when commuting, watching YouTube videos, playing guitar/piano and doing chores. I'm a podcast addict and I like all kinds of music from metal to chillout ambient.

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