How to Wear Behind-The-Neck Headphones

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Recently, I’ve been seeing behind-the-neck headphones pretty much everywhere. They’re secure enough for the gym, compact enough for work, and casual enough for everyday use.

Although wearing them might seem intuitive, there are some tips that might take your experience to a whole new level. What are these tips? Let’s find out!

How to Wear Behind-The-Neck Headphones

Technically speaking, behind-the-neck headphones come in two different styles: on-ear and in-ear headphones. To keep things nice and tidy, I’ll discuss each one in a separate section.

How to Wear In-Ear Headphones

The first type in this article is the in-ear behind-the-neck headphones. It’s also known as in-ear neckbands for easier reference.

As you probably know, these headphones come as a semi-flexible band with 2 wired earpieces extending from each side. To promote convenience, these headphones connect to your phone via Bluetooth.

Step 1: Connect the Headphones

It’s better to make sure your headphones are successfully connected via Bluetooth before wearing them. This way, you won’t have to strain your neck to look at the buttons on the neckband.

Step 2: Inspect the Right and Left Earpieces

Almost all in-ear headphones come with direction-specific earpieces. I always prefer checking the right alignment before wearing the headband so that I don’t have to take it off again.

Typically, you can know the direction of each earpiece by looking for the letters “L” and “R” for left and right.

Step 3: Push the Earpieces

Here’s the trickiest part. Most people forcefully jam the earpieces into their ears to achieve the tightest seal possible. But since they don’t properly open their air canals, the earpieces remain quite loose.

To solve this issue, you have to use both hands to fix each side. For your left ear, start by gently pulling the ear lobe downward with the right hand. Then, push the earpiece inside with minimal pressure. Stop when you start feeling resistance.

When you let go of your ear lobe, your ear canal will return to the normal size, which should properly tighten the seal.

After you finish listening, I recommend doing the same steps in the opposite order. Pulling the earpieces without widening the ear canals might cause micro-abrasions. Time after time, these simple abrasions might coalesce, causing a quite serious and painful infection.

It’s also important to note that the previous technique is only applicable if your earpieces have silicone inserts. If not, suffice by pushing them inside without widening to avoid abrasions.

Step 4: Experiment With Different Tips

More times than not, brands send different sizes of earpiece tips to match different customers. You might also receive additional foam tips in case you don’t like the silicone texture.

As a rule of thumb, start by trying the medium tips. They’re supposedly made with a size that suits most people. If they don’t provide enough seal, proceed with the smaller size. Personally, I always end up more comfortable with the small size even though my ears aren’t that small.

I think this has got to do with the overall material thickness rather than the size. Our ears are arguably among the most sensitive organs of our bodies. If you stuff them, you’ll start feeling an awful headache after a short time.

Step 5: Try Comply’s Tips (Optional)

Lucky for you, you don’t have to throw away perfectly functioning headphones just because the tips were worn down. Comply produces a lot of standalone tips that match the size of many famous brands like Shure, Sony, Skullcandy, and more.

Best of all, they make most of their tips from foam that’s sturdy enough to seal your ears without being as heavy as silicone.

Step 6: Clean Well After Each Use

As you might already know, our ears produce new layers of wax on a daily basis. Although it looks gross, it plays a crucial role in keeping your ears moisturized and ready to fight infections.

Normally, in-ear headphones pick up some of this wax, especially if you push them inside to enjoy the perfect seal.

Inside our ears, there’s a pretty complicated mechanism that makes sure wax doesn’t accumulate. That’s why you don’t need to reach inside and clean it yourself.

The wax collected by the headphones can’t be affected by the same mechanism for obvious reasons. If you don’t clean it, you’ll shove it back inside your ears. With time, your ears won’t be able to keep up with the inward influx of wax, increasing the likelihood of earwax impaction.

Headphones on top of laptop

How to Wear On-Ear Headphones

On-ear headphones are much simpler than their in-ear lookalikes. And since they don’t engage with earwax, they can be safely used for longer durations without worrying about a blockage.

These headphones come in a design somewhat-similar to regular headphones. However, their frame is often designed to be positioned on the back of the head rather than the top.

Step 1: Connect the Headphones

On-ear headphones typically work via Bluetooth to be more convenient. But you can also find wired models. Either way, connect them before putting them on so that you can solve any problem without having to take them off.

Unlike in-ear headphones, you don’t have to check the left/right alignment. The frame is designed in a way that doesn’t accept a versatile application. Simply put, it’s impossible to wear them wrong.

Step 2: Engage Them From Behind

Hold the headphones with both hands behind your head with the ear cups aligned slightly higher than your ears. Then, lower them down until the frame engages the top part of your ears in a way similar to glasses.

After they become secured over your ears, adjust their frame to lie in a stable and comfortable position.

Step 3: Constantly Adjust Them

Unfortunately, these headphones might pinch on your ears after wearing them for a couple of hours. To avoid this, tilt them upward or downward every once in a while.

Final Thoughts

As technologies develop, headphones become more and more convenient. This might be great for stable use during vigorous workouts. But it also tempts you to wear them for a long time.

In-ear or on-ear, all headphones can negatively affect hearing capabilities. Therefore, it’s better to stick to the 60/60 rule: don’t wear your headphones for longer than 60 continuous minutes while keeping the volume under 60%.

Be careful with your ears, they’re certainly among your most precious assets!