Has gear or a recording ever made your ears hot?

We've all had the experience of listening to electronics or speakers that were far too bright, or accentuated some frequency so much we had to run out of the room but have you ever felt your ears get literally hot from listening?

Like your outer ear feels like it's got an electric blanket on it. It's not a pleasant feeling at all. 

If you've had this experience, what did you attribute it to?


Never had this problem as I have a great MAGICO based system with the best ancillary components. 

I've wanted to cover my ears. Does that count? I've wanted to claw my ears off and dig out my eyes. Yoko Ono.. 


Never. And I have mild tinnitus that doesn't like >85dB. How loud were you listening?

I have experienced this and attribute it to greater sensitivity to higher volumes, I.e. age. 

I have that attribute often and usually it is when I am listening to poorly recorded classical piano . The problem usually lies in poorly regulated piano when some piano tones shout at you ,ie when some notes are slightly or badly louder than other notes and cause your ears to become sensitive to these attributes.  I have often abandoned listening to these recordings altogether and I hate having to do it sometimes because some of my piano heroes are from the Golden Age of pianists.

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Sometimes if you call to someone you didn't talk for a long time the heat will go away.

Also you should check if you still have headphones on. They may heat up ears too.

Only when one component is talking about another component behind its back.


I believe that's called crosstalk.

The sensation you are feeling comes from the tensor tympani muscle exerting too much. That's the inner ear muscle trying to protect your hearing from excessively loud noises. Does not need to be super high peak SPL (such as 130dB) - excessive distortion components even at relatively "lower" peak SPL (such as 85-90dB) will trigger overloading the inner ear muscle, and it can trigger a variety of bodily sensations associated with the ear - pain, blanket of wool, heat, etc.

I think having an experience like that is very illuminating, and if one has not experienced it then you have no idea how bad/insufferable some systems / speakers can be. I had something similar 15 years ago, listening to a friends speakers. I was sitting with my right ear turned to the speaker (to face my friends), directly on axis of the right speaker, and talking (shouting) to my friends during the night. Next morning had to go to the ER.... excessive constant sharp pain and very loud ringing, but I did not have the heat associated with it. 

Hey @realworldaudio  I was nowhere near that loud last time I had that  sensation.  More likely 70 to 70 dB at home.

I do regret you had to go to the ER for your situation though.




I get the Hot Ear sensation every time I hear something that bests

my system and costs less than I paid. 

Sometimes this syndrome is referred to as "Red Ass".




the Tensor Tympani muscle is in the middle ear

not the inner ear. It has a latency of about 40 Msec. The stapidius muscle which is also in the middle ear is much faster and has a latency of about 10 msec and a threshold of about 85dBSPL. The stapedius muscle will activate at 85 and saturate at about 120 dBSPL and at frequencies below 1000Hz.




This is related, but not a joke.

In the mid-seventies I saw Black Sabbath live, sans ear protection, and the first few songs sounded great.

Then, as it became clear the volume was REALLY loud, I noticed my ear canal was actually slick with what I presume was earwax!

I immediately stuffed my ears with tissue shreds and, as usual, had some ringing the next day but it went away.

Never happened before or since.