Sometimes when I sleep on my side, I wake up with terrific ear pain from my ear cartilage being crushed against the pillow overnight. Is there something I can use to protect my ear from being crushed overnight?

  • 3
    There are all kinds of pillows made from all kinds of things for all kinds of situations. Have you looked at the variety? Are your pillows to blame… too hard or due to age? Ear cartilage is pretty resilient — have you checked with a medical professional?
    – Stan
    Nov 18, 2019 at 6:16
  • @Stan I don't think a "medical professional" would be concerned with such trivialities. And it's not just pillows, I can't wear headphones that aren't big enough to fully encapsulate the ear because the small ones will start to hurt after awhile. Nov 18, 2019 at 16:23

3 Answers 3


Use a feather pillow. The pillow can be shaped with one hand so that there is a slight depression under your ear. This removes the pressure on your ear.

In addition, it you sleep with one hand cupped under the ear, that lessens the pressure too, because the hand is naturally shaped that way. The heel of your hand is taking the weight of your cheek bone, instead of the ear pressing against the pillow.

  • It seems feather pillows last twice as long while also discouraging dust mites. Interesting: web.archive.org/web/20150501062344/https://www.wsj.com/articles/… Nov 18, 2019 at 16:17
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    I had brain surgery and have used a u-shaped “neck pillow” since then. The nine inch incision is behind my left ear and I sleep on my side. The pillow has worked brilliantly to keep pressure off my head.
    – M.Mat
    Nov 19, 2019 at 2:28

The easy solution is to wear any kind of sleeping cap, provided that it keeps your ears near your skull. You might even create one yourself if you are into it, pretty much nobody will see it anyway :)

Alternatively, even though more difficult, is to train yourself to either:

  • not sleep on the ear;


  • be careful during sleep, when you turn from one side to another, to not crush your ear.

The training actually means that you keep this information to your mind:

  • especially before going to sleep, until you actually fall asleep;
  • during night, when you occasionally wake up, remember to take care of your ears (e.g., when you turn from one side to another).

Even though you will not be aware of it, the "programming" will work even when you sleep.


I actually have this all the time and have made some tiny pillows for my ears....I am in the process of figuring out how to mass produce and sell these but also find out if they would be sellable.... you are literally the only person I have found yet that has the same issue! Would you be interested in these?

  • 1
    Can you share a picture of these pillows? May 2, 2022 at 6:13

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