Everybody knows that the default solution for wearing glasses and listening to your favorite music or podcasts on the go, is to wear earbuds. But what do you do if earbuds just aren’t for you?
Maybe you don’t like the way they feel in your ears, or you prefer the sound quality and feel of a pair of headphones instead. Whatever the reason, if you wear glasses and you want to wear headphones, you will have come up against a whole suite of common problems.
Your headphones can cause discomfort by pressing your frames into the sides of your head, or they can change the way your glasses sit, making your vision feel odd. Neither of these issues is particularly enjoyable to deal with for any length of time.
Also, you may find that your glasses keep your headphones from sitting on your ears properly and your sound quality suffers as a result. You just want to be able to see and hear at the same time, so what can you do?
Luckily for you, there is a range of solutions to this perennial problem. Firstly, there’s a choice to be made in terms of what style of headphones you choose. There are two types of headphones besides earbuds, on-ear headphones, and over-ear headphones.
The distinction between the two is relatively self-explanatory, in that on-ear headphones sit on the ear, whereas over-ear headphones enclose the ear like a cup.
For comfort, particularly when you’re wearing them with glasses, over-ear headphones are definitely the winner.
Rather than pushing your ears onto the arms of your glasses, over-ear headphones exert pressure around the edges of your ear, meaning they only come into contact with your glasses frames between your ears and your temples.
Over-ear headphones are not all made equal, though. It can still be uncomfortable to have your glasses frames pressed to your head, even if your ears are spared.
There are some key things to look out for to prevent this from happening. First of all, make sure your headphones have soft padding used in the ear cushions. Memory foam is an obvious front-runner here as it molds around your glasses and still keeps a great seal.
If your headphone cushions aren’t memory foam, then look for a softer foam. The main goal is to make sure that the cushions form around the glasses, rather than putting pressure on them and, as a result, your head.
The other main consideration with regard to choosing a pair of over-ear headphones for use with glasses, is the flexibility of the headphones themselves.
A more heavyweight pair of headphones might be more durable and feel more solid, but if the headband is too rigid then they will have too much snap and push too hard onto your ears.
This is a problem some people find with heavier headphones anyway, but if you’re wearing glasses, then it can become a real pain. Try to test headphones for their flexibility before you buy in person, and look for lightweight in the features list if you’re buying your headphones online.
You can make your experience much more pleasurable if the headphones that you choose are easily adjustable. Most headphones have sliders, often on either side but sometimes only on one, that allow them to adjust to fit the size and shape of your head better.
If you can loosen them up a little, it will provide more space under the ear cushions for your glasses and prevent them from being interfered with too much.
Some headphones are a molded construction that don’t have adjustable sliders. It’s best to steer clear of these if you’re going to wear them with your glasses, because you lose the ability to adjust them to your personal taste.
As well as choosing the right headphones, it’s also worth thinking about whether you’ve got the right glasses for the job. After all, if you’re going to be wearing both of these items on a daily basis, they need to work in harmony with each other.
The most important thing to think about when choosing glasses that can be worn under headphones is the thickness of the arms. Thicker arms generally cause more trouble than thinner ones.
Choose glasses made from a softer material, so plastic rather than metal. Flatter arms are also better than rounded ones because they distribute the force of your headphones more evenly.
If these solutions aren’t quite cutting it, there are some other options available. Gaming headsets are often designed for use with glasses. And while you might not necessarily want to wear them out on the street or while commuting, they are great for home use or even in the office where they can function as a phone headset too.
Some are more suitable for everyday wear than others, but gaming headsets are built for long periods of wear, so they are worthy of consideration.
If you still can’t get the fit you need, don’t forget that you can buy after-market ear cushions for lots of headphones that come in a wide range of softness and textures.
You may find that a simple replacement solves your problem completely, and you can often customise the look of your headphones at the same time.
You could also consider buying some silicone cushions that slip onto the arms of your glasses, solving the problem from the other side.
These cushions are designed to make your glasses more comfortable by providing separation between them, your ears, and your head, but you may find that under a pair of headphones they feel too cumbersome. However, they are another possibility that’s worth investigating.
There are lots of ways to reduce the discomfort of wearing headphones and glasses at the same time, so don’t write combining the two off. With a little bit of research and some careful selection of both headphones and glasses, you will find the perfect fit that lets you see and hear comfortably.