Earbuds Hurt My Ears. Which Headphones Should I Buy?

A reader with sensitive ears wrote to our review team on alternatives to earbuds. Based on a quick poll, we found others with the similar earbuds problems. Unfortunately headphones companies don’t often disclose comfort related information. That’s where our review team comes in. Read on for our top headphones picks.

“I have very sensitive ears, and I can’t find earbuds that work for me. The simple fact is earbuds hurt my ears. What are my options for headphones?”

There’s no doubt that people with sensitive ears are suffering in the modern world. Smartphones have made headphones mandatory, and most products come with earbuds. And while Bluetooth earbuds are the latest craze, they often add pain. Clips, fins, and other securing mechanisms create pressure points.
 
If you don’t like earbuds, you’ll find the modern headphones shopping experience lacking. Brands don’t disclose comfort information, and often use generic language in product descriptions. That means you have to spend extra time and money to find the right pair of headphones. If earbuds hurt your ears, then this list is for you. Time to remove “Earbuds hurt my ears!” from your vocabulary.

1. Sennheiser HD 4.50 Special Edition Over Ear Bluetooth Headphones Review – $199.95earbuds hurt my ears Sennheiser HD Over Ear Headphones

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Sennheiser HD 4.50 Special Edition Over Ear Bluetooth Headphones: $199.95  at Amazon.com

When we heard, “Earbuds hurt my ears.” we knew Sennheiser would make our list. The question was where and how. The Sennheiser HD 4.50 Special Edition arrived with the answer. These Bluetooth headphones offer wireless sound in an over ear headphones configuration. That means that the ear cups sit around your ears, and do not enter or touch the ear canal.
 
Comfortable for as long as you wear them. Sennheiser is known for quality in all components. The HD 4.50 Special Edition headphones are some of the best we’ve ever experienced. And from a comfort perspective, unmatched. The almost memory foam style ear cups cradle your head in soft material.
 
Active noise canceling headphones. The Sennheiser’s ear cups create a noise barrier so ambient sound is greatly reduced. Active noise canceling technology takes it a step further by blocking out sound completely. That means nothing will come between you and the listening experience.
 
Larger headphones mean portability challenges. While the HD 4.50 Special Edition headphones can make and receive calls, they are large. Taking them on trips or out of the house means using the included carrying case.
 

2. Bose Soundwear Companion Wireless Wearable Speaker Review $299.00

Bose wearable speaker review
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Bose Soundwear Wearable Speaker in Multiple Colors: $299.00 at Amazon.com

What if headphones didn’t have to touch your ears at all? There would be nothing to cause ear discomfort or pain. Thanks to Bose, this idea is now a reality. While not true headphones, the odd-looking Companion Wireless Wearable Speaker fits well in our list. The Companion sits on your shoulders, offering directional sound that seems to cocoon your head. It’s something you have to experience to truly appreciate.
 
Amazing sound quality and voice pickup that works like magic. As usual, Bose brings some of the best sound quality to the table. No skimping on components or quality here. Music, podcasts, and voice calls are crystal clear, and because the Soundwear is a larger speaker with distance from your ear, the experience is rich and full. Multiple color options add to the fun.
Stays in place around your shoulders with no discomfort. While they may seem unorthodox, the Soundwear speakers are comfortable and reliable. Since they aren’t true headphones or earbuds, there’s no chance of them falling out of your ears. They stay in place even when you’re moving around, and thanks to WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity you can enjoy music and phone calls on the move. They’re also a great option for people who wear glasses.
Can’t really take them out in public. The Bose Soundwear Wearable Speakers are not the easiest thing to carry around with you, and while you can make or receive calls on it, we don’t recommend doing so in public. That said, they could work well while driving! You also may want to check out the optional hard carrying case.

3. Plantronics BackBeat FIT Training Edition Sport Earbuds Review $99.99

Plantronics BackBeat FIT Training Edition Sport Around Head Earbuds: $99.99 at Amazon.com

Plantronics offers a unique product if you’re willing to try a different style of earbuds. The BackBeat FIT Training Edition comes with a nonstandard type of silicone earbud tip, and a semi-rigid frame that wraps around the back of your head.
Comfortable with dynamic sound. The BackBeat FIT are comfortable to wear. Plantronics went to great lengths to design wireless earbuds that can take a strenuous workout or rigorous daily movement without causing discomfort. The included silicone ear tips are shaped perfectly to bring sound close without creating pain points.
Waterproof and sweat proof. An IP57 rating means water and sweat won’t damage the BackBeat FIT’s internal components. If you sweat or plan on taking your earbuds with you on the go, this could mean the difference between a normal day and a ruined product.
They are earbuds. If you’re earbuds are uncomfortable to wear, you may not like the BackBeat FIT. There is no getting around the fact that these wireless earbuds touch the outer ear canal. The unique angle and softer ear tips may help the situation, but in the end you’ll need to decide for yourself. You’ll also find battery life can become an issue.

If you’re exclaiming, “Earbuds hurt my ears!” then we hope this list provided some relief. With a little out of the box thinking, you can enjoy music and more without pain or discomfort.