Wearing a headset causes swollen ears?
November 10, 2006 8:12 PM   Subscribe

My ears feel swollen after using a headset for a few days. Anyone have any experience with this?

About a week or so ago I started wearing a headset similar to this (behind the head, over the ear style headphones) to listen to music late at night. The next day I noticed that my ears felt stuffy or swollen, kind of like the headphones were still on. But the feeling went away after a day or so.

But after wearing the headset for a few hours over 2 nights, the weird feeling came back and it hasn't gone away. I started feeling around in my ears and the funny feeling appears to be coming from the inside part of the tragus and orbital conch areas, which feel like they're slightly swollen.

This really isn't a big deal, but it's pretty annoying to walk around with this weird feeling in my ears all day.

I've never had this happen before and it started when I started wearing the headset so I'm pretty sure that's the cause. Has anyone ever experienced anything like this or have any explanation?
posted by bob sarabia to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
I've had headsets leave my ears uncomfortable ... honestly the only ones I find comfortable for longer wearing are the standard earphones that do not touch the backs of my ears. I do wear glasses so I figured that headsets that go behind the ears combined with the ends of my eyeglasses probably are extra irritating to that area.

Sorry I don't have much other info...just wanted to chime in that the same thing has happened to me.
posted by tastybrains at 8:40 PM on November 10, 2006

Response by poster: Yeah, I wear glasses too. I suppose that could be part of the problem.
posted by bob sarabia at 8:43 PM on November 10, 2006

I've never been able to tolerate them. And this happens whether I am wearing contacts or glasses, although perhaps the glasses have an effect that lasts even when I'm wearing contacts.
posted by acoutu at 9:27 PM on November 10, 2006

Can't say I've ever experienced the exact same thing, but I use mostly circumaural headphones. You might want to try some.

Circumaural 'phones go around your ears, and actually press around them, against your skull. Think ear muffs. A lot of people like the Sennheiser brand, something like these (which are about a hundred bucks).

The type of headphones that you're using, which press directly against your ears, are called supraural. A lot of people don't like them for extended listening, depending on the shape of your ears. It sounds like your ears just don't like being pressed on.

I'd give some circumaural cans a shot, and see if they work better for you.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:44 PM on November 10, 2006

Best answer: You may be bombarding your ears with too much volume: try turning the sound down.
posted by Carol Anne at 4:54 AM on November 11, 2006

Best answer: I'd give some circumaural cans a shot, and see if they work better for you.

they might, but it's still possible to get this kind of thing happening with those ... my suggestion is watch headphone time carefully and ration oneself

my best explanation is that just as eyes can smart after staring at books or monitors for too long, ears can "burn out", swell with wax or otherwise react when listening to loud (or close) music for too long ... i find after a couple of hours of mixing on headphones, i have to give it a break as my hearing doesn't respond as well anymore
posted by pyramid termite at 10:10 AM on November 11, 2006

Different headphones are comfortable for different people. For example, I enjoy Grado 'phones, which many people can't stand, but I can only wear most models of Sennheiser 'phones for about five minutes before the pain is too intense.

Chalk it up to physiology, and try on different headsets in the store before you buy a pair.
posted by ardgedee at 11:13 AM on November 11, 2006

Response by poster: I think pyramid termite has it. I'm guilty of listening to very loud (unhealthily loud) music. I think I just need to turn it down. I'll probably buy some circumaural phones just to see how they workout. I need a microphone on the headset though so I'll probably be buying from logitech.
posted by bob sarabia at 12:27 PM on November 12, 2006

Response by poster: As a follow up, I changed to circumaural phones and the swelling is down significantly. Still got a little bit though.
posted by bob sarabia at 11:50 AM on December 6, 2006

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