Looking for headphones to help my ear fatigue

Hey guys,

So I’ve recently stopped listening to all my headphones and reverted to speakers.

I can’t seem to listen to any music with drums without my ears hurting, specifically it’s the moment of impact, or the “snap” “crack” of toms for example.

The further away the sound from my ears the less painful it seems.

Are there any headphones that are less present, further away sounding?


I seem to be sensitive to this too, and found that EQ’ing out the frequencies below 50 hz helps a lot. (I call this EQ profile “death to sub-bass”.)

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One headphone that comes to mind is the Meze 109 noir / classic – it is a little more laid back, sounds a little recessed, comfortable

It isn’t the sub-bass or bass for me. It’s the initial snap/crack the impact of toms and high hats.

Cool, I think recessed is the way to go, like less presence. Thanks for suggesting the Meze’s.

If you have the ability to sample, the headphones that least set off my own sensitivities are the Sennheiser HD6XX and the Koss Porta Pros. The Porta Pros particularly might be a useful test case for you because they’re very inexpensive.


In general, I think IEMs or closed-backs will exacerbate your condition. So, any headphone you consider probably should be an open-back.

You probably need something with a very relaxed sound signature, like an HD 6XX, Audeze LCD-2C (although the aggressive mids could be a problem) or the ZMF Aeolus, for thought starters.

The HD 6XX is around $250. The LCD-2C is $700, and the Aeolus is $1,200, so the HD 6XX might be the best starting spot.

Hmm. First, the Meze 99 Noir/Classic cups aren’t that deep. The drivers do tend to sit close to most ears, and that could exacerbate this cat’s condition.

But if bass isn’t the problem, then the 99 family could work. It has recessed mids due more to flabby bass bloat than tuning.

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Another idea is: dan clark aeon open x, the pads are quite deep and set a bit away from the ear, its not overly intense - to me quite laid back and comfortable

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Listening to it now… not sure re: the Aeon Open x… still sounds at times a little spicy, maybe OP could try though, its a nice headphone, comfortable

I can’t help but wonder… This sounds like a new development. As such, it might be worth it for the OP to have a visit with an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist / Audiologist to see what, if anything, is going on. As far as a recommendation goes, my ears are so screwed up I am not in a position to do that because I don’t hear things the way an actual human would!

Best of luck to you, @reuben3 . Hope things get sorted for you soon.


My strategy would be to try and find something you can listen to at low volumes…

Closed back / High isolation

Flat Frequency Response so you aren’t trying to “bring up the dips” with the potentiometer

Dynamic driver; no biodynas or planars because personally they make me wanna crank it up.

I don’t own anything that fits the bill exactly, but I’m sure someone else does.

Good luck.

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That sounds like a problem with treble sensitivity on your side as the crack/snap sounds of toms clearly are in that frequently range.

In that regard I can recommend Spirit Torino headphones:

The tuning leans to the darker side of tonality and is certainly more relaxed than other products. Also vocals are nicely attenuated. ST try to recreate the live experience with their headphones and they are made for long listening sessions.

If you somehow have the chance to try them (i.e. at some headphone show like CanJam or at High-end Munich this year), you should.