Newbie Headphone Ear Pain

Hi Everybody,

I’ve been trying to find a guide or a post to help me, but nothing I find seems to address my particular issue. I bought a pair of Phillips SHP9500s, and I started trying them out. Plugged into my computer, trying out audio. Within maybe 15-20 minutes, I start getting an earache in one ear. It has nothing to do with the padding, these headphones feel lighter and more comfortable than anything else I’ve worn. To top that off, I’ve been wearing them unplugged while I type this, no issues. I was consciously listening at low volume since I wasn’t sure how loud the headphones would be to start.

Every guide to pain that I find talks about physical pain from the headphone digging in (which I don’t have), or it talks about earache from earbuds or IEMS (which I’m not using). And then I’ll see comments of “don’t listen to loud music”. Which again, doesn’t help. It’s not tinnitus, I don’t have this problem with any basic consumer headphones (bose to gaming headsets etc). I’m guessing it has something to do with the treble? Maybe?? I’m completely new to headphones, so it’s hard for me to look up much else.

Does anyone know where I can learn more about what’s going on here? I’d like to figure out the cause, because I wouldn’t want to buy anything else without understanding what’s causing this. But I have no clue if there’s something I can adjust, considering I’m plugged directly into my computer. If anyone knows what I’m talking about and can provide a link or some information, that would be great. Thanks.

it would help, if you would be more specific. does it hurt inside the ear or outside? is it directly on the eardrum or the ear canal or more the flappy outside part (sorry english not my 1st language)?

in terms of the sound itself hurting, a few things make me think it’s not that. it sounds like it’s one side only. and also usually, if something is too loud, it is tied directly to sounds playing and will make you flinch slightly. it’s really hard to tell from your description. usually hearing fatigue for me personally leads to overall discomfort and slight headache more than pain directly in the ear. but if something is wrong with your ear to begin with, it might still be tied to loudness or frequency spikes.

only thing i could say is that certain headphones i tried cause weird pain due to them not fitting well or me not being adjusted to them yet. i had ATH M40x for a while and those, while sounded great, were insanely uncomfortable and created all kinds of pressure points on my ears. if headphones squish your ears toghether you can get very specific pains in smaller spots after while. although those SHP9500 look pretty comfy at first glance. at least liek there is enough room for your ears.

i hope that helps you nail it down a bit more.

I was thinking maybe it was the music or band he was listening to. Perhaps one channel has an instrument that his ear is sensitive to (treble?).

Yeah, I’m 99% sure it has nothing to do with the headphones physically touching my ear. Like I said, I had the volume well below anything I would call loud (and I don’t blare music, I’m sure it wasn’t the volume). I was listening to a YouTube sound test, and then I was listening to a couple different songs. Started while I was listening to BJ the Chicago Kid. Can’t think of what would be causing it. I switched back to my gaming headphones and have had no problems for over an hour.

It’s a pain inside my ear, like it would be caused by a sound. Thats the best I could describe it, inner ear soreness or ache, but not on the physical ear canal.

Very strange, I’ve only had pain from clamp or certain bright songs/albums.

Sounds like either one side of the headphone has a problem or that ear is particularly sensitive to some frequency that the headphone emphasizes. Sensitivities are usually to the higher frequencies (treble). If you have the ability to do some EQ via software on the computer, I would turn down the high frequencies and see if that makes a difference.

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I will take a look at that. I did buy these used-like new, so I was concerned something could be off with them. These are my first open back headphones, that’s the only difference I can identify from these and any other headphone I’ve tried. I do think they emphasize treble, so that might be it.

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Wear them backwards so left us right and right is left. See if other ear hurts. That will tell you if a driver has an issue or if it’s your ear. Also try the treble turned down as well as others have suggested. Have to eliminate what it isn’t to figure out what it is.