Help me accommodate my sweaty ears
March 27, 2006 5:41 AM   Subscribe

Can you suggest some headphones suitable for running?

I recently started running, with an aim to take part in a race at the end of April. I listen to my mp3 player whilst I'm on the treadmill to counteract the inevitable boredom. But as I'm getting fitter and running for longer periods of time, I'm also getting sweatier. And my in-ear headphones have developed an annoying tendency to fall out mid-run as my ears start getting slippery with sweat. I'm looking for any suggestions of headphones to get that can avoid this problem.
posted by talitha_kumi to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Check this previous thread for some tips on inserting earbuds effectively. Or you can always go the standard earphone route; many are adjustable and work well with running... I see many running with those types of earphones on.
posted by missed at 6:03 AM on March 27, 2006

You can buy earbuds with a headband if you look hard enough. No matter what I do earbuds fall out (but I have very unusually shaped ears). Not to mention they hurt like hell after an hour or two, if I can manage to keep them in. With a headband, they never fall out (although they still manage to get my ear sore quickly).

Here's an example (Sony MDR-W24), which I own and love. Good luck finding them!
posted by shepd at 6:42 AM on March 27, 2006

i tried and tried ear buds and always had them fall out after 1/2 hour or so. then i tried the loop around the ear type of headphone but they really hurt my ears after a while even thought they stayed on ok.
then i got these, the philips hs500 behind the head sport headphones and they are amazing. sound good, cheap , stay on and don't hurt me. i would definitely recommend that style if you don't like that model although those are the best i have found.
posted by annoyance at 7:04 AM on March 27, 2006

I use the cheap headphones which come with walk- or diskmen. I avoid both earbuds and the over-ear type, they're just not for me -- but something mandatory re: sweat is a headband, for keeping the sweat out of my eyes.
posted by Rash at 8:12 AM on March 27, 2006

Bang+Olufsen A8 headphones won't fall off when you run and are extremely adjustable and comfortable. They're also crazy expensive. Get 'em on eBay.
posted by dobbs at 8:41 AM on March 27, 2006

Oh, and since it's not clear from their site, the hook on the A8's swivels up and down to any height and the earbud's arm swivels in and out as well. They are light as a feather.
posted by dobbs at 8:43 AM on March 27, 2006

I second shepd's suggestion of the Sony's. I had a similar model for running and the things always stayed put. Good sound, too. One of the few things made by Sony I would recommend, anymore.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:37 AM on March 27, 2006

I ran for years with the exact pair of Phillips headphones annoyance mentions. They were really comfortable and sounded much better than I would have expected for the price. At some point the padding had worn off the ear part and I decided to replace them with a pair of Sonys. I'm actually a lot less happy with the Sonys, so I'm giving thought to switching back. Compared to everything else mentioned here they're sorta big, though.
posted by mragreeable at 9:54 AM on March 27, 2006

I use a set of Griffin EarJams over the top of my iPod earbuds. Turns them into the in-ear-canal variety. They stay put fairly well, but do start to slide when I sweat.

What seems to help is two things: First, regularly clean both the earbud and your ear with a little rubbing alcohol. I just use the moist wipes they provide in the gym to wipe down equipment - quickly hit both ears with my pinkie, then swipe the outside of the earbud to clean the silicone.

After doing so the fit works better and lasts a bit longer - I can generally go half an hour or so without needing to play with them too much.

The other thing to do is to make sure they are inserted in your ear properly - pull up and back on your ear as you insert the earbud. It helps them fit into the ear canal.

For what it's worth I am still annoyed by the fit - my wife can use her earbuds for as long as she wants, but my ears just aren't shaped for them. I end up re-adjusting them at least once or twice during an average run. Wearing a hat helps if it covers my ears - but that gets impractical running inside or as it gets warmer outside. I've been considering some of the headphones with the neckband, but the last time I tried larger headphones (Sony phones with an earclip) they were too heavy and bounced off of my ears as I ran. If only you could test them before you buy them...
posted by caution live frogs at 9:58 AM on March 27, 2006

I just got the wife a pair of Shure E2C earbuds for a trip to Paris in the summer. She LOVES them, and says that they fit securely into her ears to the point that she could exercise in them and not have them become dislodged.

On a safety note, they are noise dampening/sound isolating earbuds, so they block out external noise. This means that you can listen to the mp3 player at a lower volume, but it also means that you can miss environmental noise. Be wary of wearing them outside. I stood about 8 feet away from the wife while she was wearing them, speaking in a level of volume just below shouting and she couldn't hear me.

On a related note, Amazon has them for $88 and change.
posted by Jim T at 10:32 AM on March 27, 2006

I had the same problem but I found the Etymotic Research E6i sound isolator earbuds. They have soft flanged earpieces that you are supposed to really wedge in there-- the sound isolation is based on the earpieces sealing off the ear canal. For the same reason, they also stay put and I've only had to do minor adjustments to stuff them in a little more firmly if they seem to be moving.

Sound quality seems pretty good to me and the sound isolation is remarkable. I've used them on airplane trips just to block ambient noise for reading. And they're comfortable, too.

They're $150 from the Etymotic site-- that's about what I paid for them at the Apple store.
posted by woot at 6:26 PM on March 27, 2006

I have the 6Is and they are great, but I've never run with them. You can get them much cheaper on eBay (under a hundred bucks).
posted by dobbs at 6:47 PM on March 27, 2006

I have these and really like them. My Apple earbuds pop out of my ears when I run, and also irritate my ears if I wear them for too long. I don't have those problems with these.
posted by suchatreat at 11:30 AM on March 30, 2006

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