Jaw Discomfort can Correlate to Ear Bud Use

a woman wearing earpods holding her jaw

Jaw Discomfort can Correlate to Ear Bud Use

Earbuds, or earphones that fit directly into the ear canal, have become popular for listening to music or talking on cell phones.

However, while convenient and portable, some people may experience discomfort or aches after wearing earbuds for an extended duration. Some can feel this pain in the jaw, and diverse factors can cause it.

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One reason for jaw pain from “earbuds” is that they apply pressure to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is the hinge joint that attaches the jawbone to the skull. When the TMJ is under pressure, it can cause pain in the jaw and enveloping muscles. It can be particularly true if the earbuds do not fit correctly or if you wear them for a long duration.

Another cause of jaw pain from earbuds is how some users insert them into their ears. Some people may push the earbuds in too far, which can apply pressure to the TMJ and cause discomfort. Others may insert the earbuds at an angle, putting tension on the jaw.

In addition to causing physical discomfort, earbuds can contribute to stress and pressure in the jaw.

For example, it is natural to clench the jaw or grind when listening to loud music or immersing in a phone conversation.

If you are experiencing jaw pain from wearing earbuds, there are a few steps you can take to alleviate the discomfort:

  • Make sure the earbuds fit precisely – Choose earbuds that are the appropriate size for your ear canal, and be sure to insert them correctly to avoid applying pressure to the TMJ.
  • Take breaks from wearing earbuds – It is crucial to give your ears and jaw a rest, so try to limit your use of earbuds to a few hours at a time.
  • Use over-the-ear headphones instead – These headphones sit on top of the ear rather than being inserted into the ear canal, making them more comfortable for long periods of use.
  • Practice relaxation techniques – If you tend to clench your jaw or grind your teeth while using earbuds, try relaxation strategies such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation to ease tension in the jaw.

Overall, while earbuds can be a convenient and portable listening option, it is crucial to be conscious of the potential for discomfort and pain in the jaw. Following the tips above and taking breaks from earbud use, you can help prevent jaw pain and enjoy your music or phone calls comfortably.

Dr. Allan Hawryluk
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Dr. Allan Hawryluk

Allan Hawryluk Jr. is a Mississauga-based dentist who has built a reputation for comprehensive dental care. Born and raised in Port Credit, he returned after completing his dental residency in 2003 at the University of Colorado, Denver Health Sciences Center. He feels privileged to serve the community and is committed to maintaining our clinic standards set by his late father - Dr. Allan R. Hawryluk (Sr).