4

This usage of 耳が痛い seems to overlap with 耳に胼胝ができる, and is not listed in any dictionary I checked.

三省堂:

人の言うことが、自分の弱点や欠点に触れているようで、聞いているのが辛い様子。「彼が先生に注意されているのを聞いていて、私も耳が痛かった」

明鏡:

 他人の言うことが自分の弱点を突いているので、聞くのがつらい

デジタル大辞泉:

他人の言葉が自分の弱点をついていて、聞くのがつらい。「親友の忠告を聞くのは―・い」

This meaning is also absent from here and there.

However, the website 絵で分かる lists three meanings:

  • 自分{じぶん}の失敗{しっぱい}について、聞{き}くことがつらい
  • 自分の悪{わる}いところを言{い}われて、聞くことがつらい
  • 何度{なんど}も同{おな}じことを言われて、聞くことがつらい

This meaning also seems to appear in a book for children (I don't have the reference but I was told that this picture is from a book for children).

enter image description here

Hence my question. Did the usage of this proverb evolve or is the usage as 何度も同じことを言われて聞くことがつらい considered wrong?

5

They are not interchangeable.

耳が痛い is used after hearing a righteous criticism about you. It's an idiom that means "It's a tough remark but I must admit it's true". You don't have to hear it more than once. The first three authoritative dictionaries say nothing about repetition, do they? I don't know why some sources say 何度も, which I believe is not part of the meaning of this idiom.

耳にタコができる is a different idiom used after hearing the same thing many times and getting tired of it. Unlike 耳が痛い, you don't necessarily have to agree with what was said. Note that a タコ (usually written in kana, "callus") is something you get as a response to heavily repeated stimulation.

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  • Thanks, this corroborates with that there is no hidden meanings. – 永劫回帰 Jul 3 at 16:40
1

I have it in my dictionary, so I care share this interesting idiom:

みみがいたい 【耳が痛い, 耳がいたい】

表現 (句, 節, など.), 形容詞, 慣用表現
ⓐ being painfully-true (e.g. reprimand), making one's ears burn, striking home (e.g. remark)
ⓑ having an earache, feeling pain in one's ear

Source: 白檜辞書

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  • Thank you, that does confirm with one more source that the "countless times" is not part of the definition. – 永劫回帰 Jul 3 at 16:37

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