Can Noise Cancelling Headphones Cause Headaches?

Cutting off from surroundings and doing work becomes easy with wearing noise-canceling headphones. Although it provides enjoyment to the listener, it may also prove harmful to the health of body organs. The majority of the people wear NC headphones and complain of sickness. So the critical question marks its presence in this case: Can Noise Cancelling Headphones Cause Headaches?

Yes, noise-canceling headphones do cause headaches. Owing to the type you wear, headache may be possible due to the high volume and the longevity of the wearing. All the factors cause you disturbance and anxiety at the end of the day.

In this article, I will mention how your head responds to listening to music, the reasons for headphone headaches, and how it damages to ears.

Why Does Noise-Cancelling Hurt My Head?

Do you think noise canceling triggers a headache? Of course, it does; noise canceling headphones work on two mechanisms to cancel the outer noise and prevent it from reaching upto the ear.

The first mechanism is to cancel the outer noises by putting the physical seal inside the ear coverings. The sealing process is known as soundproofing, and it is available in many peripheral noise cancellation over-ear headphones. 

Moreover, PNC headphones are effective against reaching high volumes, screaming voices, and dogs barking to the ears. However, PNC does not cancel the outer sides but reduces its effect.

The second mechanism that noise-canceling headphones use is the active canceling of opposing sounds by using a built-in microphone in the headphones. This device assesses the outer frequency and produces waves of equal frequency in reaction. In this way, two opposing waves collide and destroy each other. This mechanism is known as destructive interference.

The brain detects the frequency canceling mechanism, causes a higher stress level, and enhances head pain.

3 Basic Reasons Behind Headphone Headache

There may be several reasons behind headphone headaches. Some of them are listed below so you can choose before purchasing good-quality headphones.

Wearing Tight Headphones

Headphones with a tight band that covers the head may be the primary reason behind headphone headaches. You wear headphones for a considerable time, and if you feel that your head has been entangled, then there is no need to use them. 

Such headphones are not meant to give pleasure but to create bombs in your head. I recommend you replace them with headphones that do not contain a band, such as choosing in-ear headphones.

Read the complete article on clamping force: How to increase clamping force on headphones?

High Volume

People like to immerse themselves in the world of music without bothering about what is happening around them. Listening to music at high volume with noise-canceling headphones may not only trigger headaches but also result in eardrum damage.

Headphones That Are Not Suitable For Ears

Most headphones’ bands or ear cups are designed according to standard size. Wearing headphones not according to ear size may produce the feeling of a headache.

How Long Can I Wear Noise Cancelling Headphones?

Many people like to wear noise-canceling headphones between work, at the office, or in their free time for proper concentration. You can also wear noise-canceling headphones as per your wish unless it does not cost you a headache. I advise you to listen at a moderate volume and enjoy the feeling of relaxation.

Is It OK To Wear Noise Cancelling Headphones All Day?

Wearing noise-canceling headphones all day is not permissible. Just make sure not to have it with you while driving or riding a bicycle; of course, you do not want to ignore vehicle horns and put yourself in danger. 

You can read about the importance of noise-canceling for pro gamers in our article: Why Do Pro Gamers Wear Earbuds And Headphones?

Do noise-canceling headphones have side effects?

Noise-canceling headphones, when covering the ears for too long, can affect the ears. The soft outer part of the ear that is pinna may be deformed or inflamed. Additionally, using NC headphones also cause side effects to the ears in the form of vertigo, dizziness, and ear infection.

Can noise-canceling cause vertigo?

Do you feel dizziness while wearing headphones? If yes, it is due to listening to music for a more extended period on noise-canceling headphones. The constant wearing of it leads to the disease known as vertigo. It triggers by increasing pressure on the eardrum that prevents less air from vibrating, and you feel the world is spinning around.


The noise canceling is an essential aspect of the headphones, and with the continuous use of the headsets, you may have an annoying experience. Moreover, I have described ways to prevent headaches using ANC headphones.

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