How to keep in-ear headphones in my ear?
September 16, 2005 6:12 AM   Subscribe

I recently picked up a set of Apple's in-ear headphones and for the life of me I can't keep them in my ears. What am I doing wrong?

I'm not sure if I'm inserting them incorrectly or if my ear canal is just wacky. I've used the small and medium inserts so far. The mediums weren't very comfortable and popped out very quickly. The smalls slipped in easier but after a few minutes my left earbud had slipped a little and the right earbud fell completely out. Is there a trick to inserting the buds, or am I just one of those folks whom the in-ear headphones just won't work?

And if that's the case, what's the best way to clean them before I try to give them to someone else or sell them on ebay?
posted by jazon to Technology (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If it's just the earbuds that need cleaning (and assuming these are the silicone variety) then just warm soapy water will be fine. Just make sure you dry them out properly.
posted by edd at 6:37 AM on September 16, 2005

They should have enclosed pictured guide book like Etonic ear plugs...

Anyways.. this is what you should do with these kind of in-ear phones...

1.Take your left hand over your head to grab top of your right ear with left hand's fingers.

2.Pull the top of right ear up. (this will open up your ear hole)

3.Put in your ear phone in while you hold up your ear as directed.

4.While you hold in the ear phone, let go the ear held by left fingers.

5.This should make your ear hole to sort of grab on to the ear phone bud.

6.Do the same thing for the other side .... just use the right hand over the head instead..

This usually works fine... I taught my friends who couldn't keep the ear phone to stay..

When I first got in-ear-headphones, I didn't bother to read the manual. Same problem happened. I thought I was old enough to know how ear phones work...

But after reading and following the direction, I was very satisfied with the phone. The tight seal between the ear and the headphone bud closes out all the noise out side and keep played sound inside.

I noticed, the ear buds do tend to fall off after hard excercise... probably the sweat. But than I never saw headphones that never fall off.

A bottle of Alcohol from drug store should do the trick.
Let buyer know that it was used (or they will get extreamly aggitated.. wouldn' you?)

Having purchase date/receipt will greatly give credit to how long the ear bud was used.

Let them know it was cleaned with Alocohol.

Try to be as sincere and honest as possible.
posted by curiousleo at 6:38 AM on September 16, 2005 [1 favorite]

I owned these same in-ear earphones before rolling over them with my office chair. At least for me, it was just the case that they slowly slipped out and had to be occasionally pushed back in. I liked the sound a lot though, once they were in properly -- way better than the stock earbuds and than my Sony EX-71s. In your case, it just might be that they don't fit.

One thing you could try is to track down the gaskets (the little silicone parts) for the EX-71s; they fit on the Apple phones (from what I've heard) and fit much more easily. That said, despite the fit problems, I'm about to buy another pair of in-ear phones and am definitely considering another pair of the Apple ones.
posted by josh at 6:38 AM on September 16, 2005

I'm also one of those for whom those earbud headphones just don't work. It's just a clear-cut case of discrimination against the small-auditory canal set.

I ran out to Target, and got a $9.99 pair of Phillips headphones that have this over the ear hanger thingie, which have worked out well.
posted by jpburns at 6:40 AM on September 16, 2005

I was going to buy a pair too, but stopped after reading a couple of reviews that described problems with these headphones falling out.

Griffin makes a pair of (cheap) in-ear adaptors for the stock iPod headphones. You might also try picking up a pair of silicon flanged earplugs and jerry-rigging them in place of Apple's earpieces.
posted by Popular Ethics at 6:51 AM on September 16, 2005

It also seems to help if you can drape the wire around the back of your ear so it doesn't tug out the headphones. That's from the instructions for my Shure model, which has a relatively heavy wire.
posted by exogenous at 6:55 AM on September 16, 2005

I've had similar issues with Sony versions of these - tried all the different "adaptors" (wee rubbery bits) to no avail. Figured my ears just weren't made for them and bought some Sony MDR-ED21s. Similar but fit my ears!
posted by snowgoon at 7:44 AM on September 16, 2005

I'd just like to point out to jpburns that these in-ear headphones are canalphones, and not earbuds - they are meant to actually sit in the ear-canal, not rest in your ear. We small-ear people can enjoy the former and not the goddamn latter.
posted by Marquis at 7:45 AM on September 16, 2005

But you don't really want to enjoy earbuds. Earbuds are significantly worse to listen to than 'canalphones' (or what I call 'in-ear' headphones). I've never been able to get earbuds into my ears, such as the stock iPod ones. Luckily, though, I don't really want to as the stock earphones that come with everything are hideous. My Fontopias are okay for now, but I might look into some Shures sometime soon..
posted by wackybrit at 8:08 AM on September 16, 2005

Mine hurt like hell, can't use em at all. Too bad you can't exchange them for normal headphones.
posted by luriete at 10:25 AM on September 16, 2005

I can't use canalphones or earbuds. The former work perfectly and sound glorious for about 45 minutes, at which time they begin to hurt like hell. The latter just slip out. I think I have small ears anyway, and I've tried 'em all: Shure, Etymonic, Sony, Apple. I'm actually going to ask Shure if they have even smaller foam pads than the small size they ship with.
posted by fionab at 10:47 AM on September 16, 2005

Okay, I flagged curiousleo's response as best answer because the technique sounds feasable.

The truth of the matter is I have not had a chance to try it myself as right after I posted the question the day went all pear-shaped and I've been up to my neck in alligators.

I'll try his suggestions later today when I need to relax w/some music and see if it works, then report back.

posted by jazon at 3:20 PM on September 16, 2005

I have a pair of those, and I can't make them stay in at all. I've tried all the sizes too, but none of them work for me. When I did have them it, I hated the feeling of having my ears all plugged up (made it impossible to eat lunch while wearing them, for example), and I absolutely hated the way they stuck out of my ears at an odd angle when I was wearing them.

I've just given up on them--I leave them at my work computer in case I need to listen to something privately, otherwise I just use default iPod headphones, which stay in much better.
posted by statolith at 4:06 PM on September 16, 2005

FOLLOWUP: I tried curiousleo's advice and the buds just won't stay. I tried all three sizes of covers and no matter how I pulled my ear or how I pushed them in to the ear canal, within moments they would just slide out.

I guess statolith and I are in the same boat. Oh well. At least curiousleo also shared a good way to clean them up.
posted by jazon at 8:50 PM on September 17, 2005

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