How to Wear Headphones with Curly Hair?

How to Wear Headphones with Curly Hair

There is nothing quite like the literal sound of music to your ears. Oh, that amazing sound quality that you get from wearing traditional headphones! You know, the headphones that surround your ears with a large padded hug and are secured in place by a band that goes on top of your head!

However, that noticeable dent left in your curly hair when you take the headphone off is nothing short of alarming. Curly-headed people know that this curl-flattening phenomenon is dubbed headphone hair for lack of a better term. But, how does it happen, and, can it be avoided?

The secret to having the freedom to enjoy quality sound while still keeping those curls looking bouncy is to know how to wear headphones with curly hair.

Thankfully, there are a couple of helpful tips to keep your curls intact without sacrificing quality sound. Headphone hair can fairly easily be avoided by wearing headphones in a way that doesn’t push on the hair too much. How you wear them and choosing the right type of headphones will make all the difference.

Headphone Flattening Hair and Curls

Headphone hair happens when the pressure of the headband rests on top of your head above those curly locks and crushes the curls. Those who have shaved, shortly cropped or really long curls won’t experience the same frustration as those with fairly short, tight curly hair.

Since the hair dent happens from the weight of the headband portion of the headphones, it only makes sense that repositioning the headphone headband will take some pressure off and keep from flattening out your curls.

Here are a few other clever tips for wearing headphones with curly hair that literally will turn your headset upside down or backward:

Upside Down

Try wearing the headphones upside down. In other words, place the curved part that usually goes over the top of your head under your chin instead.


Switch out the traditional headphones to opt for bone conductive headphones or a special type that goes around the back of your head.

Of course, if you wear the headphones upside down or backward, first make sure that the ear pads are comfortably secure against your ears.

Switch it Up

If you don’t want to wear your headphones upside down or backward all the time, try switching them up. The important thing to remember is to not let the headphones sit in the same place on your head for too long. Every so often, move the headband portion of the headphones forward or backward slightly.

Take a Break

Regardless of how you choose to wear your headphones, make sure you take a break every so often. Take some time to fully remove the headphones to give your hair and your ears a break. While you are protecting your hair, you will also be saving your ears from suffering hearing loss.

The World Health Organization WHO actually recommends listening at a safe 85 dB volume level for no more than 8 hours a day. Ideally, take off the headphones every hour or so to give your hair and your ears a rest.

Loosen Up

If the headphones have an adjustable headband, loosen them, so they are not sitting tight against your hair. The tighter the headphones sit on your head the more intense your headphone hair will be.

If the headband is not adjustable, try wearing headphones that are lightweight or thin.

Tips on Wearing Headphones with Curly Hair

If you are flipping the headphones around to accommodate your curls and avoid that dreadful headphone hair dent, it’s going to be tricky to keep them from falling off of your head.

To hold the headphones in place:

  • Try putting your hair in a ponytail and using bobby pins to secure the headphones in place
  • Another alternative is to use clip-on headphones.

Change Your Hairstyle

Try a different hairstyle. Let your curls go wild, so they’re not quite so affected by the weight of the headphones. Or, change your part in your hair. The curls that are least impacted by headphone hair are those that have been buzzed short or whose hair is longer.

Longer hair tends to move around shifting the position of the headphones slightly every so often. It is also easier to style back into place, and the shorter buzzed hair is too short to suffer from the weight of the headphones. But, if you’re not ready to lose those curls, there are some other alternatives.

Types of Headphones Matter

If you wear headphones often, it’s going to be worth the investment to make sure you have a really good quality of headphones that won’t leave your hair suffering. Try a different type of headphones such as:

  • In-ear, over-ear, or on-ear headphones are nice alternatives for curly heads since none of these styles have the traditional headphone headband to weigh down the curls.
  • Try neckband headphones or one with a wide, cushioned strap.
  • Find headphones that have an adjustable headband, are lightweight and have great headband padding.


Headphones that have adjustable headbands will help to avoid headphone hair since you can make them tighter or looser to not put so much pressure on your hair or your head.


The lighter the headphones the better they will be on your hair and on your head. Headphones that weigh less than half a pound fall into the lightweight category. Anything that weighs more than .75 pounds is considered to be heavy.


Good padding will distribute the headphone weight more evenly. The more padding you have, especially around the ears, the more comfortable your headphones will be to wear. The padding will also help to lessen the pressure against the top of your head, so the dent left behind from headphones will be less likely.

Headphone Wearing Dangers

Always avoid wearing any headphones for extended periods of time. Additionally, be careful to never wear headphones that are broken or have damaged parts that could catch your hair and cause hair loss or tangling.

Tips for Fixing Headphone Hair

Don’t worry. While headphone hair is quite annoying, if not embarrassing, it’s not permanent. There are ways to fix the problem after it happens.


If it’s too late to avoid the indentation from the headphones, try spritzing some water on your hair. Simply spritz or splash some water on the dent and restyle your hair. The water will help to add volume back into the hair and get rid of the dent and flattened curls left behind by the headphones.

Wetting your hair and letting it air dry is great for fluffing it back up. Combing through your wet hair to help style it is also often helpful.

Styling Products

If the water doesn’t do the trick, try some styling gel along with heat from a hairdryer with a diffuser or use a straightening iron.

There is actually science behind this method. The heat will break down hydrogen bonds that hold the hair’s keratin in place giving you a moment to restructure the hair strands. Just be careful to never use excessive heat or overdo using heat too often.


If it fits your personality and your hair is long enough, throw your hair up in a ponytail or high bun. If neither is an option, ruffling up your hair to change where it parts may help.


Another way to conceal the indentation is to braid a small section of hair to hide the mark from the headphones.

Cover Up

Of course, if all else fails, you can always throw a hat on or wrap a bandana or scarf around your head.


Avoid that dreaded headphone hair dent in your curls by knowing how to wear headphones with curly hair. Try wearing the headphones so that the headband portion is down under your chin or behind your head. Or, put your hair in a ponytail and use bobby pins to hold the headphones in place without denting your curls. Follow these additional helpful tips for wearing headphones with curly hair. For best results, never wear them for an extended period of time.

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