Kasperian Moving Parts

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In-Ear Headphones and Puking Yer Guts Out?


I bought $180 of in-ear headphones to try out (the Shure SE210’s and the Sennheiser CX300’s) and both of them, I think, made me feel dizzy to the point of falling over and feeling like I was going to hurl my guts out the next morning. I’ve blogged previously about motion sickness, but this is just frightening and frustrating and badness.

Does this make any sense to anyone? Is it possible to be predisposed to dizziness and room-spinning-ness? Are in-ear, noise-isolating headphones known for making you feel dizzy, causing the room to spin on you, and not take effect until the next morning? I felt fine while I was listening to them. But after I took them off, went to bed, and got up the next morning, the room just spun ferociously.


Author: Jason 'vanRijn' Kasper

My name is Jason 'vanRijn' Kasper. I am the ring leader of the amazing Kasper family. I am unashamedly a Christian Nerd. These are our stories....


  1. Hey guys! I just started a job where I sit at a computer 10 hours straight transcribing messages. I was using in-ear earbuds too. The first day I came home with flu like symptoms. The next weekend I went to the ER because my face turned super red and I felt like I was going to faint and puke my guts out. It is amazing how many people actually have this problem and that the connection is the earbuds.

    I’m getting some different headphones for this weekend’s shift and will see if it makes a difference. I really think the headphones are just a trigger to something more. I get migraines quite often which bring about the exact same symptoms and no tests have found anything for me either. Though I haven’t done the BPPV tests.

  2. Ive experienced the same. Ive used an in ear earbuds till i feel sleepy and removed it. The time i woke up my world already spinning and i vomited a little as i feel nauseatic. Not sure though if it is just an effect or already considered vertigo..

  3. Hey there. I’m replying to this WAY after this page was even posted, but I figured I’d share my recent story if it helps anyone. Because some of the advice you got at the top wasn’t very helpful. Just telling you IT’S NOT YOUR EARPHONES GO TO THE DOCTOR YOU’RE GOING TO DIE really gets you nowhere, right?
    Anyways- I have had the same issue as you. I started a new job that allows me to wear headphones and listen to music while I work. I’ve never worn in ear headphones before so wearing them all day every day was definitely something new for my ears. Anyways- I got a super light bout of dizziness in the beginning that I tried to attribute to traveling and feeling “off”..because it really wasn’t THAT noticeable and only hit me every once and awhile very lightly. Fast forward a couple months later while I’m getting ready for work- all of a sudden a wave of dizziness hit me while in the shower. I almost fell over. That dizziness was so bad I had to go to the hospital the next day…they didn’t find anything wrong and sent me home with no answers. The dizziness went away after a few days but came back full force about a month later. Only lasted a couple days again.
    I have to assume it’s the in ear headphones I’ve been using because when I think of my personal history, this is what I come up with:

    -Years ago I wore an earplug temporarily because of a noisy coworker (i know)- and a couple days into wearing it, I got the WORST earache I’ve ever gotten in my LIFE in that ear. It was so bad it radiated into my jaw and nothing was easing the throbbing pain. Shortly after that earache healed- i got SLIGHT dizziness that hit me at random times but only lasted one morning, so I didn’t think much of it.
    -I’ve never had any problems with dizziness before I started wearing these in ear headphones daily from 8-5.
    -Whenever I do wear in ear headphones and take them out- I still have the feeling that I have them in, and it lasts all day. I also get a feeling of “fullness” in my ears after wearing them….

    My ears are clean (I’ve checked)…but most likely are sensitive to things being shoved in them. Maybe I have hidden bacteria that I can’t see, that ends up getting shoved farther down when I put i the headphones…I don’t know.

    Either way, I’ve purchased some over the ear headphones and will see if this helps ease the dizziness. Sorry for the long post- just figured I’d give my personal experience to help someone else out! Good luck!

  4. I had 2 times same sicknesses when I used Bluetooth ears set I thought I was dying everything was turning around me i had vomit it was awful

  5. I thought I was going crazy! I had bouts of severe vertigo a couple months back, then they disappeared after my road trip over the mountains !
    Now, I have been here on the west coast for some weeks, but only JUST started getting it again!
    I googled it, and kept coming up with BVVP beings that it only came on in bed, before sleep.
    Back home I had always listened to Audiobooks on my kindle, low volume, ear buds. I had not used it here until recently.
    I saw Dr today, and he diagnosed BVVP, told me there was no cure, but there were exercises where you bring it on. I googled that, and started the exercises, but just couldn’t shake the fact that it had to be connected to my listening to kindle at night.
    I googled “BVVP earbuds ” and found this thread.
    Thank you for being here.

  6. Addendum : I decided to try kindle tonight, even though I felt better…immediately I had severe vertigo ! I decided to use just one bud, in the left ear…so far, so good.
    Any luck with the regular old over the ear headphones?

  7. Ugh. So sorry to hear you’re hitting this too! I hardly ever use headphones anymore. Since I wrote this post originally, I was diagnosed with BPPV, and it has returned twice. The second and third time, I was not using in-ear headphones. When BPPV happens for me, the only thing I can do is take Meclizine (either have the doctor fill a prescription for me or else buy OTC travel sickness pills, which have Meclizine 25mg) and wait it out. The positional exercises do help to lessen the duration, it seems. The attacks seem to last between 2 and 5 days for me.

    I don’t know what the relationship is between BPPV and in-ear headphones. My theory is that some of us are prone to these dizzy attacks and in-ear headphones aggravate the problem by causing our in-ear stones to shift and move, which triggers dizziness. I don’t know, and neither do the doctors, which is scarier for those of us who suffer from this. =:( The most important thing I can recommend is to get the doctors to diagnose you with BPPV and rule everything else out. Once you’re diagnosed, they can prescribe Meclizine whenever the attacks flair up and that makes all the difference between BPPV being something to be horribly afraid of and something that we can manage when it happens. The fear was the worst of it for me.

    Honestly, when BPPV flairs up for me, I stay away from all headphones and loud noises because anything seems to make it worse.


  8. As a heavy metal musician – who has ignorantly gone without earplugs for many years – I can attest that volume can mess up your balance. After a loud night of jamming, my lunch came up and my head started spinning. I became extremely sensitive to light and had to be rushed to the hospital. The emergency room staff thought I was having a stroke. Yup. Now I have tinnitus and have bouts of vertigo. Careful what you stick in your ear. 😉

  9. For me, the source could cause dizziness.

    I am using Audio Technica ATH-CLR100 as my In-Ear Monitors.

    When I plug the IEM to my Computer, and raised the volume, I feel that there is pressure incoming to my head that makes me feel like puking/sleeping. This doesn’t happen when it is plugged on my phone. This also doesn’t happen when I have my Fiio K1 Headphone Amp/DAC with my IEMs

  10. 1. Meet a Doc and talk
    2. Dont use Voice cancellation Headphones – Turn it off in your PC and reduce the Mic boost to Zero.
    3. Slip one side of the phone litte aware from ear (one ear) so pressure dont built up from both sides .
    4. use the option Room virtualization and Turn on Living room or bed room (preAmp &DSP)

    Some tips – yet Meet the doctor because dizziness have many reasons – including the Eye problem – The difference between the monitor flicker and fluorescent lamp flicker can confuse brain – there are many Display setting that you need to work on.

  11. I know this is now 10 years since the original post but having switched my setting in the smartphone app ‘PowerAmp’ to Stereo from Mono I’ve experienced a real feeling of nausea and giddiness akin to that which I used to experience when playing first-person shooter video games. (which I’m unable to play, I might add)

    Not sure whether this is an inner ear thing or brain related but if you’re able to set your music to mono it concentrates the sound mix in the middle if that makes sense rather than several things happening on both sides. I find this is much easier to listen to and doesn’t leave me feeling just like I stepped off a sped-up roundabout.

    Besides, The Beatles Albums were purposely mixed in Mono long after Stereo was debuted so I like to listen to the greatest the way they intended.

    Hope this helps

  12. Hello people,

    I think this thread is way to precious to let it die so I’d also like to talk about my problem.
    I bought AirPods few days ago and though I was going crazy because I was feeling a very strange vertigo-like headache of some sort. I’ve been wearing overhead headphones for years and never had this issue – I’ve also been wearon EarPods (which are similar to the AirPods) and never had this issue. At first, I was thinking it has to be caused by the wireless technology but I am very much sure it is safe. After reading this thread I came to the conclusion that it most probably has to do something with the geometry of the ear-buds. The design of AirPods is similar to EarPods but yet I noticed some differences in regulating background noise. The AirPods are doing better job so I assume they are designed to fit better which probably results in some unwanted ear channel pressure problems.

    Thank you

  13. I had been using AirPods for 3 months, may headaches, earaches , dizziness and tinnitus started directly after using them, I constantly rubbed my ears and often had to go to bed because I felt so bad..there were days when I couldnt function properly.
    My doctor promptly sent me for CT scans of brain and both ear canals, also had 15+ different blood tests, everything came back negative. I was told it was psychosomatic!! My husband thinks Im mad and imagining all of these health problems, I can assure you Im not.
    Eventually tried acupressure and reflexology for dizziness, head and ear problems …this has helped relieve the problems.
    There is absolutely no chance of me ever putting these devices in my ears ever again.

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