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#1
Old 05-23-2011, 03:48 PM
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Am I the only one who finds in-ear headphones painful?

I have tried literally a dozen or more types of in-ear headphones, and all of them become painful in a short period of time (20 minutes) if they dont' actually start out painful.

Is it just me? It's a bummer, because of course the alternatives are much bulkier (although I like the back-of-the-neck styles, way better than topof-the-head). I really wish I could find some that dont' hurt but I'm pretty sure there's just something weird about my ears...

Am I all alone?
#2
Old 05-23-2011, 03:51 PM
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I don't find them painful, but definitely uncomfortable, and they sound like crap.
#3
Old 05-23-2011, 03:52 PM
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Do you mean earbuds, or the noise cancelling variety that actually insert into your ear canal?

Assuming the former, I love them, but I know my mum finds them annoying. She says they hurt, a claim which baffles me and my extraordinarily low pain threshold.
#4
Old 05-23-2011, 03:54 PM
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They generally sound fine to me, but can be uncomfortable. If I push them in too far they block air flow and the pressure difference is unpleasant. If I try to leave them loose, they'll fall out, especially since I like to listen to audiobooks when eating by myself and the jaw motion works them loose. But I'm not about to wear cans when out and about.

Last edited by Bosstone; 05-23-2011 at 03:55 PM.
#5
Old 05-23-2011, 03:57 PM
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The big round and flat ones (earbuds) hurt my ears. When I use the ones that came with my iPhone, I just put them loosely sideways into my ears and hope they stay in place. I prefer the small cylindrical in-ear kinds with silicone pads.
#6
Old 05-23-2011, 04:03 PM
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It depends on what kind they are. Hard plastic leads to pain, but the ones I have with silicone pads are very comfortable.
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#7
Old 05-23-2011, 04:08 PM
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I wouldn't know. I can't get ear buds to stay in my ears for more than 30 seconds. I must have weird ears.
#8
Old 05-23-2011, 04:09 PM
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It's less that I find them painful than that I don't trust the little whatchamacallits not to slip off the earphone and into my ear canal. I'm against that.
#9
Old 05-23-2011, 04:15 PM
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I usually can't get them to stay in, but on the rare occasions they do, they end up being painful after a pretty short time. I hate earbuds. I look like a throwback to the '80s because my iPod is attached to a set of those cheap foam-covered over-the-ear headphones, like you used to have on Walkmans. I like them, though. They don't hurt and they don't fall out.
#10
Old 05-23-2011, 04:30 PM
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I've always found them uncomfortable to wear for more than a few minutes at at time. (Never tried the earplug-brain-stabby kind)

Fortunately, there's a solution. They make earphones that look kind of like the '@' symbol. The bud is the bit in the middle, and the wraparound bit goes around the ear to hold it in place. It's outside the ear-cavity, so it's not pushing back against that little thing that partially covers it, which is what always bugged me about the buds. Not as bulky or goofy looking as the Walkman headphones, and they scrunch up in a pocket much better.

--
I can't think of a good Nethack joke to put here. Lets just assume I have.

Last edited by Ura-Maru; 05-23-2011 at 04:31 PM.
#11
Old 05-23-2011, 04:34 PM
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I can't get earbuds to work with my ears. I have a messed-up jaw so my ears are sort of non-standard as it is.

I use H2OAudio stuff for taking my iPod in the pool, and I had to buy their pro-fit kit of various earplugs to make sure I got the headphones to stay in my ears. I still haven't found the best plugs from the kit as I only swim once a week. Also sucks because each ear is shaped differently. And sometimes shaped differently from day to day based on how my jaw is doing.

But you gotta assume other people have similar problems if they sell a kit of 9 earplugs for "fit" as well as send along 3 sized of plugs when you buy a pair of their headphones.

I don't even bother with anything bud-like when I'm not in the pool. I have a pair of "pad" headphones that aren't connected to a headset or anything. They're like buds in that sense, but they don't go in your ears.

ETA: Like what Ura-Maru describes, but as a pad instead of a bud.

Last edited by ZipperJJ; 05-23-2011 at 04:34 PM.
#12
Old 05-23-2011, 04:36 PM
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I prefer these.
#13
Old 05-23-2011, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ura-Maru View Post
Fortunately, there's a solution. They make earphones that look kind of like the '@' symbol. The bud is the bit in the middle, and the wraparound bit goes around the ear to hold it in place.
Those kind are absolutely fantastic, and I'm still not certain why I didn't find another pair when my old pair went bust.
#14
Old 05-23-2011, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Infovore View Post
I usually can't get them to stay in, but on the rare occasions they do, they end up being painful after a pretty short time. I hate earbuds. I look like a throwback to the '80s because my iPod is attached to a set of those cheap foam-covered over-the-ear headphones, like you used to have on Walkmans. I like them, though. They don't hurt and they don't fall out.
I use those kinds of headphones too, not because earbuds hurt my ears but because the sound is so much better with the Walkman-type earphones. The difference really is amazing.
#15
Old 05-23-2011, 04:52 PM
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Yes, I find them painful, I won't wear them.

Last edited by Khadaji; 05-23-2011 at 04:53 PM.
#16
Old 05-23-2011, 04:57 PM
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I also find them painful.
#17
Old 05-23-2011, 05:27 PM
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They can be kinda pricey, but have you given custom-made in-ears a consideration? Etymotic makes them, for instance, and while I use a pair of Beyerdynamic that are not available in the US, the basic principle stays the same:

An audiologist takes a mold from your ear and custom-makes the pieces that then hold the speakers to perfectly fit your ears. This has 5 basic advantages:

1. They're really comfortable - no more sore ears.
2. They fit very snugly, so they won't fall out.
3. Hi, Opal!
4. Because they're so tight, noise cancellation is great, and you can listen to your music at a lower volume.
5. Also, since they're coupled to the ear, bass response is really unparalleled by any other in-ear headphone.

Just look for a pair you like and see if it has the customization option. It's money well spent!
#18
Old 05-23-2011, 05:30 PM
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I only find them painful if the volume is too loud. Otherwise, the in-ear type is what I use, and as long as I have the correct-sized "plug" (buying them new you usually get three sizes), I can comfortably leave them in for a long time.

The round padded types that just get propped inside the ear structure usually irritate the skin after a while.
#19
Old 05-23-2011, 05:50 PM
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What's the official terminology for the different kinds of earphones/earbuds/headphonesóor is there one?

1. There's the little flat kind, like this or this. These seem to be the kind that's most often included when you buy an MP3 player. But to me, they're practically useless, because they just sit in the outer edge of the ear and if I move my head even a little bit they fall out. Do other people have this problem? Am I doing it wrong? Do I have nonstandard ears?

2. There's the kind that you actually stick into your ears, like this or this. This is the kind I generally use, and they can work pretty well (and I don't find them painful), but it still can be tricky getting them to fit right.

There are other variations as well, but those seem to be the most common. The older Walkman-style headphones with the big pads that press against one's ears don't seem to work well with modern mp3 players because they don't put out enough volume.
#20
Old 05-23-2011, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosstone View Post
Those kind are absolutely fantastic, and I'm still not certain why I didn't find another pair when my old pair went bust.
These suck for me! They often end up pinching a bit of ear skin near the front and they're never secure. I can corkscrew them on my ears but they never really FIT; they kind of flap around. I've even had others try to put them on my ears and they give up, too.

But I dislike ear buds, too.
#21
Old 05-23-2011, 07:19 PM
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They all hurt my ears; buds will literally have my ears aching for DAYS afterwards. Pretty painful. Guess I just don't have much space there for a bud. May or may not be the reason I hate earphones and would rather listen to music through a speaker. :P
#22
Old 05-23-2011, 08:57 PM
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No. I can't wear them. Apart from being uncomfortable, they don't fricking fit in my ears. It's old-style walkman headphones or nothin'

Joe
#23
Old 05-23-2011, 09:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoid View Post
I have tried literally a dozen or more types of in-ear headphones, and all of them become painful in a short period of time (20 minutes) if they dont' actually start out painful.
I, too, find them painful when I can get them into my ears at all. Maybe I just have small ears or something. I loathe "ear buds" and dearly wish they weren't so freakin' popular. I'm finding it harder and harder to find alternatives, and don't appreciate the looks I get from salespeople when looking for other headphones.
#24
Old 05-23-2011, 09:15 PM
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I can't wear the in-ear style, either. The bud-style fall out and the in-canal soft inserts still make the canal sore after an hour or sometimes less.

I have over-the-ear, behind-the-head bluetooth and am very happy.
#25
Old 05-23-2011, 09:30 PM
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I can't use earbuds, and use over the head headphones when I listen to music at the gym.

But I insert foam ear plugs to block out my wife's snoring when I sleep.
#26
Old 05-23-2011, 11:09 PM
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They make my ears feel itchy within a few minutes time. I guess the vibration? I have the same problem with those over-the-head type if they're the small ones. The only headphones I don't have this problem with are Sennheisers, the big earmuff style. Which of course would look ridiculous wearing on the street.

Unless I was doing some sort of disco dance. That would be sweet.
#27
Old 05-24-2011, 12:32 AM
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I'm joining the list of people with deformed ears. Either they won't stay in for longer than a few seconds or, if I do manage to jam 'em in really tight, my ears start to ache like crazy within a minute or two.

I like the idea of the over-the-ear kind which I used to use with my Walkman but I don't think these are adapted to iPhone use (ie no mike halfway down the cord).
#28
Old 05-24-2011, 12:46 AM
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Haven't read the thread but I'm at least one other person who can't use them. My ear holes are too small to even get most buds in, and the cartilage of my ears is very sensitive. Any pressure leads to soreness. Non-earbud headphones or all sorts aren't comfortable either. Probably the custom-fit ones would be great but I have no need for them.
#29
Old 05-24-2011, 02:59 AM
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Yeah, I can't use the in-ear earbuds either. If I can even get them in, my ears start to hurt really badly, and after about 20-30 minutes fluid starts building up in my ears and interfering with the sound anyway.

I have to use padded over-ear ones. They still hurt and cause problems after more than an hour or so, but not as bad as the earbuds.
#30
Old 05-24-2011, 03:59 AM
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The earbuds that came with my iPhone are abysmal to use. They hurt and I think the longest I can keep them in without falling out of my strangely shaped ears (especially if my head isn't perfectly upright) is about ten minutes. I have some over the head earbud headphones that I can use, but are fairly uncomfortable.

I'd be happy to use some old-school, lightweight, non-noise cancelling foam headphones like we got with Walkmans, but they're harder and harder to find.
#31
Old 05-24-2011, 05:36 AM
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I did at first--when I first put them in, it felt really creepy. But I got used to it after a couple of uses and I've been using them for about seven years now with good sound quality.
#32
Old 05-24-2011, 06:23 PM
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Hate them, and they fall out easily.
#33
Old 05-24-2011, 08:37 PM
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Earbuds hurt and suck in general.
#34
Old 05-24-2011, 08:50 PM
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Earbuds don't fit in my ears. They always, always fall out.

I once worked as a dispatcher and had an earphone fitted to my ear canal which was wonderful. When I left the job, they would not let me take it with me. Waah.
#35
Old 05-24-2011, 09:14 PM
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Can't use them either. I never knew my ears were different until the first time I tried earbuds. Then I realized that the bottom portion of my ear doesn't form a 'cup' like most peoples' do.
#36
Old 05-24-2011, 10:17 PM
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My ears hurt too much to keep them in within a couple hours.
#37
Old 05-26-2011, 01:21 AM
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Ever get glasses for the first time? Your ears hurt...a lot. But you build up, and then they don't it hurt any more.

It's the same with ear buds. Give 'em at least a week. Eventually, the pain goes away.
#38
Old 05-26-2011, 02:26 AM
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* tiny ear conducts (thanks, Dad, couldn't you have kept that gene?)
* unusually good hearing (ok, so when I don't hear people well on the phone/VoIP it's because they're mumbling/have a bad mike)
* accustomed to listening to music at very, very low volumes

The first one means even child-sized in-ear headphones are uncomfortable after less than half an hour; the other two mean that I have to be careful when I buy headphones in general because currently many of them have their own amplification but not a control for that - I want my volume lower. Yes, lower! Am I the only person in the world who wants her volume lower, specially when the music is coming from just outside her ears?
#39
Old 05-26-2011, 04:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleRojelio View Post
I wouldn't know. I can't get ear buds to stay in my ears for more than 30 seconds. I must have weird ears.
Same here - I have oddly-shaped ear canals and once had to go to a specialist just to get the wax removed because the nurse couldn't do it even with her super-syringe thing.

But recently I bought a pair of noise-cancelling headphones that are supposed to go in the ear canal; I decided to give a pair one more try simply because I really needed good headphones and the other styles (including the @ style which are really good) can't be worn with my glasses. They don't go in my ear canal like they're supposed to, but they do stay in my ear and cancel the traffic noise really well.
#40
Old 07-17-2016, 12:51 AM
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Same problem...

I generally get this only with in-ear headphones - in terms of a pain like the ear canal was stretched by the vibrations of the sound between the speaker (headphone) and ear drum. Generally happens the first time I use in ear headphones after a minimum of 2 to 3 months of non-continuous usage. After this, the symptoms seem to dissipate.
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