What would ELLIOTT YAMIN do? (for listening to tunes on his iPod)
May 22, 2006 7:26 PM   Subscribe

I've got a similar situation to the American Idol runner-up: My right ear is fully functional, but I am 90% deaf on my left ear. However, my left ear was deformed at birth, so my earbuds don't fit in it.

Right now, I'm using the standard white Apple buds, but it gets in the way when I work out since one of them is loose hanging down. Also, for those mp3's I have in true stereo, I'm only getting 50% of the sound!

Anyone have any suggestions on what I can do so I can listen to the full sound of my tunes on my iPod while working out without having to pay a fortune for custom earphones or severely hacking up a pair? (headphones are okay, but I'd like something that is nice and portable and doesn't look like I'm living in the late 80's/early 90's)
posted by beammeup4 to Technology (13 answers total)
I like the headphones I have -- they sounds like they'd work for you. No idea what they're called (some no-name brand) but they have the plastic hook that goes over the ear attached to earbud-like speakers. Earpieces are seperated by wires, not by a band.
posted by desuetude at 7:46 PM on May 22, 2006

sound like.
posted by desuetude at 7:46 PM on May 22, 2006

Would the squishy foam or plastic earbuds that you put inside your ear canal work?
posted by fshgrl at 8:05 PM on May 22, 2006

Koss makes these earbuds with foam earplug-style covers that are often hacked and replaced with differently shaped foam covers.

posted by mecran01 at 9:18 PM on May 22, 2006

no, foam won't work. let's just I don't even have a distinct "hole" that foam will fit in
posted by beammeup4 at 9:20 PM on May 22, 2006

I like the Sennheiser PX-100s. Traditional looking over-ear headphones that have decent sound and fold up pretty small.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 9:29 PM on May 22, 2006

I'd go with earpads (that is, the round pads that sit on your ear); but ones that clip or hang on, like the neckband kind. If I recall they generally have better sound quality than earbuds.

Here's a good reference for the various types of headphones.
posted by abcde at 9:42 PM on May 22, 2006

(The "clip or hang on" part is to work better for exercise, of course.)
posted by abcde at 9:43 PM on May 22, 2006

It sounds like "in-the-ear" earphones might be your best solution. Audiophiles SWEAR by etymotic (http://www.etymotic.com/) brand (pricey, but the best), and they slide directly into your ear canal (assuming your ear canal is shaped appropriately). I'm unsure without further research, but I can't imagine there aren't other brands out there that you could find with a little google-fu.

Anyway, abide by the usual disclaimer for usinglow volume, may damage hearing if too loud, etc.
posted by empyrean at 11:07 PM on May 22, 2006

Oops... assuming you can fit them in... I missed an earlier response you had, but in my defense these are shaped and work differently than the Koss mentioned above.
posted by empyrean at 11:09 PM on May 22, 2006

Headphones with wrap around might stay on better, which would help when exercising, but you also say that you have very little hearing in one ear. (I had a friend who was deaf in one ear - she said it was great for napping in loud places - she just laid down on her good ear.)

But in order to hear all of the music in one ear, you need to rip your music to mono. I have never ripped an mp3 to mono, so I don't know entirely what it would sound like, but if it's anything like my old mono radio (which took mono headphones), then it's just the two tracks of sound put together into one track of sound. If it works, you should get the exactly same headphone information coming out of each headphone - or maybe just out of one of the ear buds if they are stereo headphones (which is all you want anyways).

Itunes doesn't seem to be set up to rip mono, but CDex does. It's a good free ripping program, maybe not as completely easy as iTunes, but I find it self-explanatory. You can choose the encoder (LAME is good) and change the settings under "Options", "Settings". If you have any more questions about Cdex or how to use it, please feel free to email.
posted by jb at 8:12 AM on May 23, 2006

Geez, people. Just get a $5 stereo-to-mono adapter at Radio Shack. Plug the headphones into the adapter into the mp3 player. Tape down the loose earphone or get a pair of mono headphones.
posted by deadfather at 8:45 AM on May 23, 2006

I'm only about 50% deaf in my left ear, but am otherwise the same. I just got myself some decent over the ear sennheisers and use those. It does look even more dorky than earbuds, but whatever :) Sound quality is better too.
posted by JZig at 9:30 AM on May 23, 2006

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