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Choosing Earbuds and Headphones

Updated on October 29, 2010

Comfortable Heaphones

Finding comfortable headphones is not easy these days. Most companies offer cheap earbuds with their iPod or MP3 player. I've even received cheap earbuds with a cell phone or two. They're easy to manufacture and cheap, which is why they are so uncomfortable and generally have poor quality.

So just because you get the free pair, that doesn't mean that you have to use them. I would definitely consider buying a different pair that will fit your ear better and will deliver a better sound.

There are different types of earphones that you can choose from, ranging from earbuds, over-the-ear headphones, and even in ear buds. Depending on what you're looking for and how much you want to spend, you'll want to shop around.

If you still can't find what you're looking for, there are earbud grippers that you can add to the earbuds that you already have in order to make them a bit more comfortable. Just take a look at the tips and products offered, and see what you can find that fits you and your needs the best.

Earbud Grippers

So many MP3 players and iPods come with earbuds, but they're not always the most comfortable approach to ear phones. Ear grippers basically attach to the earbud to make them more comfortable.

There are many different types of earbud grippersĀ  that you can choose from, ranging from foam tips to over the ear hooks that snap onto regular earbuds.


Comply Whoomps ($20 for two pairs) are narrow foam cylinder extensions for your existing earbuds. Again, the idea is to grip your ear canal more strongly without making you buy new earbuds. Unfortunately, although the foam is grippy, it becomes uncomfortable quickly.

Yurbuds ($20) are curved silicone funnels that snap onto standard cheapo earbuds. They make the earbuds softer, increase their grip and enhance the audio. You're supposed to send a photo of a quarter next to your ear so that you order exactly the right size. They work great. However, for the antitragus-deprived even Yurbuds aren't fallout-proof.

Earhook Earphones

For some people, earbuds just aren't comfortable, which is where the earhook headphones come in handy. They are built to sit over the ear, and cup the shape of the ear for best fit. These may interfere with glasses, but otherwise they can be quite comfortable.

There are many different types and kinds of earhook headphones. Some are water resistant that allow you to run in the rain, like the Philips SHQ3000 (just be aware of a muffled sound quality). Others will position the speaker right over the ear for a really nice, crisp sound, like the Sony MDR J10.

There are many styles of over-the-ear headphones, so browse the features so that you can determine which will be the most comfortable. You may find that the Sony MDR AS20J are the most comfortable, as they go all the way around your ear, not just over the top.

Just keep in mind that stylish doesn't always have good sound quality, like the Bang and Olufsen.

Headband Style Headphones

Sony has always been near the top in most gadgets and electronics, and they've definitely improved the headphone style headphone. The Sony MDR AS35W is a foldable headphone that bends the earbuds right into the ear. They are lightweight and incredibly comfortable.

The headphones go over your head, and will remain whether you had the ears to hold them up or not. With these you really don't have to worry about the shape of your ear canal or your ear when picking a headphone.

In-Ear Earbuds

These are not like the standard earbuds that fall out constantly. The in-ear earbuds have a rubber or foam tip that goes all the way inside your ear canal, versus just at the base. This design prevents the earbuds from falling out of your ear, which is a huge benefit when exercising.

Another benefit to the in-ear earbud is that they block out external sounds, which give you a nice noise reduction so that you can relax and listen to your music with a more clear and crisp sound. These are great headphones to bring on a plane, bus, or train.

These earbuds can be a little more expensive, but they are worth the price. They generally come with different tips which may include a silicone dome, triple-flange stopper, or a foam cylinder. Depending on what you feel is the most comfortable, you'll choose your in-ear headphone from the material and type of tip.

The higher price on the better in-ear buds will definitely deliver a top quality sound and comfortable feel, but if you like the idea of an in-ear earbud, but you don't want to pay the price for one of the top brands, like the Etymotic HF3 or Klipsch X10i, you may want to try the Skullcandy brand. The brand is known for their quality, but you can find cheaper in-ear headphones that are compatible with iPhone, iPod, and most MP3 players.

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    • kids-toy-box profile image

      kids-toy-box 

      7 years ago

      Some useful tips when shopping for ear buds! I prefer the Earbud Grippers especially for sport but I find the In-Ear Earbuds are the most comfortable.

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