Products featured are independently selected by our editorial team and we may earn a commission from purchases made from our links; the retailer may also receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.
If you feel like your temples are always tense after working all day with headphones on, you’re not alone. The culprit might actually be your eyewear. The arms of your frames rest along the side of your temples, and can be pushed up against your head when strapped in under a pair of headphones, thereby amplifying pressure. But with the right pair of headphones, you can lesson the tension and not stress about playing your favorite music, taking calls, and or listening to podcasts with your glasses on.
You might think the alternative is getting in-ear earbuds, but when it comes to headphones for glasses wearers (especially if you need a constant prescription, and not just the occasional blue light-blocking pair) the best over-ear headphones are comfortable enough to use for long stretches of work, and can provide unparalleled noise-cancelling quality. They’re great if you’re looking to help reduce headaches, but can protect your long-term listening health, too.
Headphone brands are making solid options these days with ear comfort in mind. But there are a few specific choices that offer the cushioning and headband support that glasses-wearers will appreciate. Below are our top picks for glasses-friendly headphones so light, you might forget you’re even wearing them.
What Are the Best Headphones for Glasses Wearers?
Even top-of-the-line headphones have some variation in comfortability. Below are a few considerations to keep in mind while choosing the best headphones for wearing with glasses.
Ear Pad Material: When you’re looking for headphones for glasses, comfort should be your main concern. Ear pads made of rigid materials like synthetic fabrics or leather will leave gaps around your glasses (the improper fit can affect audio quality, too). We recommend looking for headphones with softer, pliable padding to go around the arms of your frames — think memory foam fabric, suede, or velour.
Over-ear vs. On-ear Headphones: Over-the-ear headphones are your best bet, since they distribute pressure more evenly, rather than placing pressure directly onto your earlobes. The earcups typically cushion around the plastic arms of your glasses, and while not limiting discomfort entirely, offer unparalleled comfort compared to in-ear, or on-the-ear headphones.
Headband: Wearing glasses will only amplify any pressure you feel on your head, and pain escalates quickly if you have a too-tight headband. Padding on the headband can help, but at the very least it should be adjustable so you can get that perfect fit.
Glasses Frames: Beyond looking out for the right headphone design, there are a few things you can do that don’t have much to do with your headphones at all, like choosing the right-fitting frames. It’ll feel more uncomfortable in the long run to wear headphones with the thick-armed glasses than thinner, flat frames. Springing for a pair of lightweight frames will also reduce tension on your face and temples.
1. AKG Pro Audio K371 Over-Ear Headphones
Trusted by professional musicians everywhere, these comfortable headphones from AKG offer the most ergonomic fit for glasses we’ve seen, while delivering studio-quality sound.
The Pro Audio K371s come with particularly plush, slow-retention foam pads, which is why we highly recommend them for people who wear glasses. The K731 is also equipped with an adjustable headband you can calibrate to your specific fit, which means they’ll stay comfortable when worn for a long time, especially helpful for all-day glasses-wearers. But if you still need to take a break, the earcups swivel 90 degrees for single-ear listening.
Overall, the K731 is just fairly lightweight, clocking in at just 8.9 oz, so you won’t feel worn down wearing them. Audiophiles will also appreciate how the closed back fit enhances the incredible sound quality of these headphones, with large 50mm drivers that deliver balanced audio precision across a 5 Hz to 40 kHz frequency range.
However, these headphones are still wired, so you might need an adapter for your phone if you’re used to wireless. But these plush headphones will easily become your go-to glasses companion.
2. Sennheiser HD 450BT Headphones
Sennheiser’s HD 450BT is a pair that offers no compromises, chock full of features, but still being one of the most glasses-friendly headphones.
The HD 450BT’s have larger, over-ear pads to make sure the headphones fit comfortable for anyone, regardless of whether or not you wear glasses. But you won’t have to worry about the plastic arms of your lenses being crushed by the earcups — the fit is just secure enough to provide a wall of sound, while still remaining pretty soft.
These also clearly live up to Sennheiser’s reputation delivering clean and clear sound. We’ve found it has a deep, dynamic bass, and for videos or Zoom calling, the Bluetooth 5.0 tech, including AAC and AptX, with AptX Low Latency, will keep the audio perfectly in-sync with on-screen action.
We wish the controls for features like Siri and Google assistant were more hands-free (they’re attached to the ear cups), but the Active Noise Cancellation is impressive, and the Sennheiser Smart Control App allows you to create a customized sound experience. Combined with a whopping 30-hour battery life, these headphones are well worth it.
3. Bose QuietComfort 35 II Headphones
Bose QuietComfort 35 II’s offer earpads with almost cloud-like softness, but also have some neat audio capabilities that push them beyond being just comfortable.
The earcups are incredibly well-padded, which will definitely give you a high level of comfort against your frames. Though the QuietComfort 35 II doesn’t allow for headband adjustments or swiveling earcups, it’s still fairly lightweight at 8.3 oz, so it can be worn for hours without giving you any grief.
What we like: you can use the Bose Connect app to adjust the level of noise cancellation, enable music sharing, manage Bluetooth connections, and enable Amazon Alexa all hands-free. These headphones also now feature Bose AR, which Bose calls an “innovative, audio-only take on augmented reality”. A multi-directional motion sensor in the headphones adjusts the audio based on the sounds around you, with pretty great noise cancellation too.
With 20 hours of battery life, and a durable, comfortable fit, you can keep the music (or quiet) going all day long.
4. Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Headphones
We’ve already sung the noise-cancellation praises of Sony’s headphones before, but the updated design on their latest pair really delivers long-lasting comfort.
Wearing glasses while using the WH-1000XM4 won’t be a problem, as the ear cups are softly padded, and incredibly comfortable. The headband is also wide and adjustable, but still a little rigid. At this price range, though, you want that kind of robust stability so you can get daily usage out of these headphones for years to come.
Using touch sensor controls, you can pause, pause, and skip tracks, control volume, activate your Alexa voice assistant, and pick up calls. But Sony’s also integrated enough hands-free modes too, such as pausing the playback when headphones are removed, or placing your hand over the right ear cup to turn off noise cancellation.
Speaking of noise cancellation: these headphones have adaptive sound which automatically adjusts noise cancellation levels to your location around you. Dual microphones in each ear cup also help process out ambient noise.
The crazy good fit also means you’ll get crazy good sound quality— 40mm drivers reproduce a full range of frequencies, with crystal-clear high, mids and lows. There’s a lot to like about these headphones, and with a pleasant, comfortable fit, there’s no denying that Sony WH-1000XM4’s are a great investment.