Best Pillow with Ear Hole in the Middle to Fight Earache

Waking up with aches and pains in your neck and even ears? Believe it or not, your pillow might be blame. Fortunately, if this is the case, there’s an easy solution. For a better night’s rest, simply upgrade to a pillow with ear hole indentations.

Waking up with aches and pains in your neck and even ears? Believe it or not, your pillow might be to blame. Fortunately, if this is the case, there’s an easy solution. For a better night’s rest, simply upgrade to a pillow with ear hole indentations.

Why Choose a Pillow with Ear Holes?

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That face you make when you finally wake up without an earache.

If waking up with earaches is a common problem, there’s a simple solution: grab a pillow with an ear hole. Yes, the solution really is that simple.

Let’s break it all down.

Great for Side Sleepers

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Side sleepers need specialized pillows to properly support their head and necks while they slumber.

The average human head weighs about 10-11 pounds. For reference, that’s roughly the size and weight of a bowling ball. So, if you sleep on your side, you’re effectively placing the weight of an entire bowling ball on your ear all night long.

One way to fix this problem? Get a pillow with a hole. This way, you can still enjoy sleeping on your side without having to worry about harming your poor ear while you rest.

Great for CNH

Chondrodermatitis helicis nodularis (67-year-old man)
Source: Klaus D. Peter (CC by 3.0 DE)

Long-term side sleepers might not just experience the occasional earache; if the ears are abused long enough, it’s possible for chondrodermatitis nodularis helicis (CNH)—commonly known as Winkler’s disease—to develop.

This condition is characterized by small, whitish bumps forming in the ears. These bumps are sensitive and oftentimes painful, too. In some cases, these nodules may even start to scab.

No thank you.

The easiest way to prevent this condition is to not sleep on one side every single night. However, it can be hard to switch up sleeping positions. In these cases, switching out a standard pillow for a specialized chondrodermatitis nodularis helicis pillow may help. These pillows typically have a small indent where you can place your ears; this placement means you aren’t putting the full weight of your head on your ear. The result? Less chances of developing CNH.

Allows Better Airflow

The human body undergoes several physical changes while we rest. One of those changes? Our body temperatures drop, which means that it’s harder for us to fall and stay asleep when we’re hot. So, a pillow with ear hole features can be a great way to improve airflow, meaning you can stay a little cooler while you rest.

Top 5 Pillows with a Hole

Not sure where to start? Not a problem. We’ve rounded up some of the best options on the market, so you can choose which one is best for you.

Editor’s Choice

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The Original P.W.A.H®

Your ear just made a new best friend: The Original Pillow With A Hole™. Made with love in England, this pillow features an optimally shaped hole that’s simply perfect for relieving pressure on your ears. But that standout feature isn’t all that makes this pillow great.

For starters, the included specialty pillowcase is made of moisture-wicking cotton. So, it’s much easier to sleep cool when you use this cushion. Secondly, you can remove the hand-stuffed filling, which means you can customize this pillow’s thickness exactly to your liking.

All in all, whether you’re looking for relief from CNH, post-surgery healing, or want to speed up healing time for a newly pierced ear, this cushion has you covered. See why hospitals throughout the U.K. love this pillow today! For best results, the manufacturer recommends that you use this pillow in addition to your regular pillow (in other words, it goes on top of your normal pillow).

Key Features

  • Adjustable Firmness & Removable Filling
  • Soft Cotton Cover
  • Ball Fiber Filling
  • Hand-stuffed


  • Made by The Pillow With A Hole Ltd.
  • Available on Amazon
  • Made in England
  • ~19.7 x 3.2 x 13.8 inches 

Best Full Body Pillow

Duro-Med DMI Side Sleeper Body Pillow with Contoured Support to Help Eliminate Neck & Back Pain, Includes Hypoallergenic Removable Washable Cover, Firm

Duro-Med Side Sleeper Body Pillow

Side sleepers can find a lot to love in the Duro-Med body pillow. This specialty cushion not only alleviates pressure on your ears, but also cradles the neck and arms to eliminate pain. It’s all thanks to the unique J-shaped design.

Specifically, the J-shape of this body pillows not only stabilizes the body, but also adequately supports the head while you rest. The result? No muscle straining all night long, which means no pain when waking up in the morning. It only gets better from there. The small hole in this pillow is optimized for preventing pressure from being placed on your ears while you rest. That all means less chances of waking up with ear pain!

Key Features

  • Polyester Filling
  • Cotton-polyester Blend Cover
  • Machine-washable Cover


  • Made by Duro-Med
  • Available on Amazon
  • Made in the USA
  • Available as a Full Body or Neck Pillow
  • Full Body (J-Shape): ~30″ x 20″ x 6″
  • Neck (L-Shape): ~22″ x 14″

Great for CPAP Users

PureComfort – Side Sleeping Pillow | Height Adjustable | Ear Pain Relief | CPAP Pillow | Wrinkle Prevention | TMJ | CertiPUR-US Memory Foam with Soft Bamboo Cover (Soft)

PureComfort Side Sleeping CPAP Pillow

What’s better than one? Two! This pillow comes with two divots for enhanced airflow and greater pressure relief. That means this pillow is great for hot sleepers or those with CNH. CPAP users can make use of this cushion, too, as its indentations will allow CPAP masks and tubing to sink comfortably.

The thoughtful design doesn’t stop there, either. There are plush inserts that can easily be removed, so you can adjust the height of your pillow as you see fit. Everything is wrapped up in a soft, moisture-wicking bamboo cover that you can throw in the washing machine for easy cleaning. As far as pillows go, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Key Features

  • Memory Foam Filling
  • Bamboo Cover
  • Adjustable Height


  • Made by PureComfort
  • Available on Amazon
  • 5-year Warranty

Best Price

Side Sleeper Pillow Seen On TV, U-Shape Contour Pillows for Sleeping With Ear Pocket Relieve Neck Shoulder Back Pain, Cool Silk Pillowcase and Firm Silk Floss Inner Bed Pillow for Bed and Household

As Seen On TV MKYUHP Side Sleeper Pillow

There are countless specialty pillows on the market that are perfect for alleviating discomfort from conditions like CNH. However, most of these cushions are completely out of the question for most folks because of the price tag. That’s not the case here.

This ergonomic pillow is not only optimized to suit the needs of side sleepers, but also comes at an amazingly low price in a market saturated with expensive bedding. So, when it comes to finding a pillow-based solution to earache woes, this option from MKYUHP could be what many people on a tight budget have been waiting for.

Key Features

  • Polyester Silk
  • Machine Washable
  • Ergonomic Design


  • Made by MKYUHP
  • Available on Amazon
  • 1-year Warranty
  • 30-day Refund
  • 20.8″ x 15.7″ x 4.7″

Bonus: Best for Travel


The Original Travel Pillow with a Hole

Your Ear’s Best Friend® just became fun sized. From the company that brought you the original Pillow with a Hole™ comes this travel-sized cushion with a hole that’s perfectly shaped to cradle your ear while you catch some Z’s. No matter if you travel by planes, trains, or cars, you can be sure this tiny pillow will be your perfect traveling companion.

Key Features

  • Carry Bag Included
  • Adjustable Firmness & Removable Stuffing
  • Loose Fiber Filling


  • Made by The Pillow With A Hole Ltd.
  • Available on Amazon
  • Made in England
  • 11″ x 12″ x 3″


Most frequent questions

Can a pillow cause earache?

The Short Answer: Yes, a pillow can cause an earache, especially if you consistently sleep on one side.

The Long Answer: Unfortunately, sleeping on your side can cause ear pain if you aren’t using the right pillow. Why? Well, your head is about the size and weight of a bowling ball. When you rest on your side, you’re effectively placing the weight of said bowling ball on one of your ears all night long. So, it’s no wonder that many side sleepers complain of ear pain.

Ear pain isn’t the only condition that may arise from consistently sleeping incorrectly on the side. Some people, for example, develop Winkler’s disease (chondrodermatitis nodularis helicis), a condition in which a painful nodule, or lump, forms on the ear. Typically, it develops on the ear that someone most often slept on because.

What is a CNH pillow?

CNH refers to chondrodermatitis nodularis helicis, otherwise known as Winkler’s disease. CNH is characterized by a painful lump forming in one ear. Most often, this lump forms in response to consistently sleeping on one side of the body.

A CNH pillow is designed to alleviate pain for this condition by diverting agonizing pressure away from the affected ear. For people who haven’t yet developed CNH, these specialty pillows may be used as a preventative measure.

What is the best pillow for ear pain?

The answer to that question will vary by individual. That being said, a specialty pillow with ear hole designs are well-suited to alleviate ear pain, as they ensure that extra pressure isn’t added to the ear all night long.

What is the best pillow for a side sleeper?

Side sleeping is the resting position most likely to cause ear pain, as this posture means that you place the weight of your entire head on one of your ears all night long.

So, side sleepers who consistently wake up with earaches may benefit from a pillow with a hole in the middle, as this design means that there isn’t added pressure placed on the ear.

When selecting a pillow for a side sleeper, it’s important to pick a cushion of medium firmness with a height that is roughly the length of the sleeper’s head to the tip of their shoulder.

Final Thoughts

Waking up with ear pain is no fun. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to mitigate this problem. The simplest solution of all, of course, is to grab a pillow with a hole. You’ll not only reduce your chances of developing conditions like CNH, but you may also stay cooler at night to boot. It’s a win-win!

We think you’d enjoy a pillow with an ear hole if you:

  • Have or are at risk of serious conditions like CNH.
  • Are a side sleeper.
  • Easily overheat when you rest.
  • Use a CPAP machine.

These kinds of pillows may not be the best for you if you:

  • Sleep primarily on your stomach.
  • Sleep primarily on your back and don’t use a CPAP machine.

Medical Disclaimer

This article is for reference purposes only. It should not replace the advice of a licensed professional. Do not use this article to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. Any and all health concerns should be directed to a doctor or other healthcare professional.

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Kristen Greif

Napper extraordinaire. Side/stomach sleeper. 25 solid years of experience with sleeping.