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Why Are Your Glasses Hurting Your Ears?

Shu Kie

Written By:

Shu Kie

Updated: 12 June 2024 •  
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If you’ve been bespectacled for some time now, we’re sure you’ll agree that the adjustment phase of wearing a new pair is often, at the very least, a little uncomfortable.
Some of you may have even felt pain behind your ears when wearing glasses. It can be disheartening to start out excited over a new pair of glasses, only to later realize it’s a bad fit.
Ever asked yourself why? Here are the answers, and more importantly, what you can do about it.

Why do my glasses hurt my ears?

Pain caused by wearing glasses is actually common for a lot of people. It often starts as a discomforting strain behind your ears, followed by a headache after prolonged wear. Most people remove the glasses and let their eyes rest for a while. Some even take medications to ease the pain. While these give temporary relief, the aching inevitably comes back when the glasses are worn again.
Woman experiencing pain in ears from wearing glasses

Pain from wearing glasses can progress into a headache if one persists in wearing them.

It is therefore important to understand the root causes for this type of pain:

1. Excessive pressure from ill-fitted glasses

The sizes and shapes of heads vary from one person to the next, which is why having the right fit for your frames is important. If your eyeglasses don’t sit right on your face or feel too heavy, it sets off the twinge of pain behind your ears.
That aside, pain can also occur when the frames of your specs are too small or too tight, causing pressure at the point where the arms (temples) of your glasses touch the back of your ears. Additionally, overly tight frames prevent proper blood circulation, which results in headaches.
Man experiencing pain from glasses that are tight and heavy

Overly tight and heavy frames are one of the top causes for glasses-induced pain.

Furthermore, some frames that are too heavy could also press too firmly against your nose, putting pressure on your nose bridge as a result. While nose pads can help smoothen the pressure, they may only worsen the situation if they’re not fitted properly.
Lastly, when you get a new prescription, your eye muscles (all six of them) have to adjust and work harder to adapt to your eyes’ new orientation. This can also cause eyestrain and headaches.
In summary, take the time to choose frames that are light and correctly fitted to ensure long-term comfort.

2. Being allergic to temple arm material

Woman having allergic reaction when wearing glasses

Certain materials used for eyeglasses can cause allergic reactions. Source: Health Digest

Yes, you read that right. Allergies! Eyeglass wearers may develop allergic reactions to the frames’ material. While relatively uncommon, allergens like nickel, plastic, and UV stabilizer can trigger skin irritation.
On top of that, the areas of the skin that come into contact with glasses (ears, temples, and eyes) tend to be more sensitive. If you’ve noticed sores, redness, swelling, and itchiness since wearing glasses, you might have an allergy.
Before purchasing a pair, it is best to clarify with your doctor on which materials are nickel-free or hypoallergenic. If you’re already experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, avoid wearing your glasses immediately and schedule a check-up with your optometrist or ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

What can you do about glasses hurting your ears?

As you may have already worked out, you don’t have to suffer through your glasses if they cause you pain. Here are some handy tips to keep in mind if or when it happens.

1. Consult your optician or ophthalmologist

Woman consults eye doctor to treat ear pain from glasses

Best to visit your eye doctor when experiencing ear pain from wearing eyeglasses.

If the pain persists, have your optometrist or ophthalmologist re-examine your glasses’ fit in accordance with your face and head. One of the things to look out for is to ensure your glasses’ arms (temples) don’t feel too tight nor too loose.
If you’ve got nose pads, have them adjusted if need be so that they don’t feel too heavy and pressed up against your nose bridge. Otherwise, you can switch them with a different type and material or better yet, try eyeglass frames with no nose pads.
Also, make sure that you don’t have to push your glasses up all the time or worse, hold them up to keep them from falling out when you’re moving your head or bending down.
Finally, if your eyes are still strained from adjusting to your lenses even after a few months of wearing, make sure you’ve got the correct prescription and request a redo of your eye exam if necessary.
In some cases, the pupillary distance may have not been measured accurately, and can contribute greatly to the difference between a painful glasses-wearing experience and a comfortable one.

2. Choose lighter and hypoallergenic frames

Woman putting on a pair of lightweight glasses frames

Lightweight frames are recommended to avoid putting too much pressure on your face.

Frames made of a lightweight material are ideal to minimize or prevent pain behind your ears. The lighter they are, the less pressure they’ll exert on your temples, nose bridge, and the back of your ears.
If you’re susceptible to allergic reactions caused by the materials mentioned above, opt for frames with hypoallergenic materials like acetate and titanium.
Here are some of our top picks from Mouqy for acetate and titanium frames that are as stylish as they are safe.
March geometric black front view

Our black geometric March titanium frames

Enrich square black gold front view

Our golden rectangular browline Enrich titanium frames

Lavish aviator rose gold front view

Our rose gold aviator Lavish titanium frames

Nori square tortoise front view

Our tortoiseshell square tortoise Nori acetate frames

Bravo square orange tortoise front view

Our orange square Bravo acetate frames

Wink cat eye yellow front view

Our yellow cat eye Wink acetate frames


3. Make some adjustments at home

woman adjusting her eyeglasses to prevent it from hurting ears

Adjusting your eyeglasses at home.

Getting your eyeglasses adjusted at the eye clinic may be time-consuming. If you’re up for it, you can actually make your own tweaks at home. Before you dive in, do assess the physical condition of your glasses first. Depending on whether your glasses are lopsided, too loose, or too tight, there are some simple adjustments you can make at home.
However, if you have plastic or rimless frames that are a tad more delicate, it is still more advisable to put it in the hands of a professional. It’s only recommended to make DIY adjustments when your glasses are made of a sturdier material like metal.
Speaking of which, here are some sleek metal frames from Mouqy for your consideration.
Occasion round black gold front view

Our golden round Occasion frames

Admire cat eye pink front view

Our pink cat eye Admire frames

Quip rectangle tortoise front view

Our tortoiseshell rectangular Quip frames


A little bit more consideration goes a long way

Those of us living with vision issues know how important a comfortable pair of eyeglasses is to a decent quality of life.
Hence, when you’re shopping for a new pair, it’s good to make sure they’re well-adjusted to your face and features and made of a material that’s safe for your skin.
A little bit more consideration and time spent during the customization phase is crucial to getting a pair of glasses that won’t only last you a long time, but you’ll want to wear for a long time.
Before you go, be sure to have a look at our assortment of frames that are available in a wide variety of materials, shapes, and sizes to suit every type of wearer!

Shu Kie

Written by:

Shu Kie

Shu Kie is Mouqy’s certified optician with over 5 years of experience in the optical industry. She earned her certification from Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO).

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