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Etymotic ER 4's and comfort

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
Hello all, newbie ETY user here.

Just got the ER-4P's. The sound, of course, is remarkable. I have even gotten used to the "stick in the ear"; after finding that the silicon tips would not give my ears a good seal, the foam seems to be a bit better.

A few questions about "comfort" -

1. I said I have gotten "used" to the "stick in the ear", but it still causes some discomfort - mainly that "itchy" feeling. Would I be correct in saying that after some usage, my ears will toughen up a bit and I will barely know the Ety's are there?

2. Would rubbing a little vasoline on the foams ease the discomfort a bit?

3. About air travel - The Ety's need a good seal, which makes me wonder about the shifting air pressure that occurs during air travel. Is this a problem with others who wear the Ety's?

How about when you have a cold? I am thinking the air seal might want to make your ears explode.

Apologies if this has been covered before. I did a forum search, and never did see any posts covering the above.

Thanks for any help!

Dave
post #2 of 58
Quote:
after finding that the silicon tips would not give my ears a good seal, the foam seems to be a bit better.
If I were you, I would stick with the rubbers. From what I have read, if you put them in properly they provide a better seal and as a result better sound than the foamies. Of course, everyone's ears are different, so YMMV.

I only tried the foamies for about 30 minutes when I first got my ER4P. They were uncomfortable and lessened the bass IIRC, so I went back to the rubbers. Haven't looked back since.

Quote:
Would I be correct in saying that after some usage, my ears will toughen up a bit and I will barely know the Ety's are there?
Yup. I first got mine right at the beginning of finals week. I ended up wearing them for about 8 hours every day for the entire week. I really needed the isolation. My ears adjusted very quickly, though I guess it takes longer for some people though.

Quote:
Would rubbing a little vasoline on the foams ease the discomfort a bit
I'm not sure if that is a good idea. Someone on this forum did that (with the rubbers IIRC)and got some in the filter. Needless to say he had to replace the filter.

Quote:
About air travel - The Ety's need a good seal, which makes me wonder about the shifting air pressure that occurs during air travel.
It wasn't when I flew down to California during Christmas break. You can still "pop" your ears with Etys in just like you would when they are out, so it's no big deal. When I say pop, I mean plug my mouth and nose and blow, not sure what the proper terminology is. Usually I do that every time after I put them in to equalize the pressure.

Quote:
How about when you have a cold? I am thinking the air seal might want to make your ears explode.
I had a couple colds this year, but IIRC the Etys didn't cause any problems, though I never really had any bad sinus stuff.

If I were you I would give the rubbers a chance; if nothing else, you won't have to replace them nearly as often as the foamies.
post #3 of 58
I would switch to the silicon tips, after a few weeks they get softer and less irratating (and your ears get used ot them). The foamies do not last very long. I usually put a little bit of water in my ear before putting the etymotic in.
post #4 of 58
It took a couple of weeks to get used to the silicon tips, and my ears seem to have adjusted, with less irritation and 'softening' as you mention. They don't have to be replaced nearly as often as the foamies. Never tried out the foamies, as I'm quite happy with the sound I get from the silicone tips.

For the record, I do have noticable yellowing from earwax on my tips. Doesn't affect the lifespan but it looks a bit disgusting.

Long live the Etys!
post #5 of 58
to combat yellowing of my ety rubber buds, i clean them with alcohol regularly and they seem to be staying quite white. i dunno if anybody else does this, but i feel they get plenty of wax on them and i like cleaning them regularly.
post #6 of 58
dandrewk,

I can confirm from my experience too all that has been said here.

I, too, have used only the silicon plugs because I so quickly accomodated to them. After a year of using them a few hours a week, I'm still on the first set. At the start, they may make your ear fell just a bit distressed, as if bruised, but that sensation goes away quickly once you take them out--AND I stopped having that sensation at all after a little regular use. In another post, I likened the process to get used to wearing shoes after spending all summer in sandals.

So, give the silicons a bit more of a chance, if only because they will cost less over time.

I have never experienced any discomfort from head colds or air travel that I could attribute to the Etys.

Enjoy them!
post #7 of 58
I also feel more comfortable with the silicone tips, though as stated it may take a little time. Haven't yet flown with them, but those who have praise the isolation.

I haven't used alcohol to clean the tips but I've seen it recommended. I pop'em off when I get home and just use a little dish detergent to wash'em. I've had'em about a month and a half and they're still a bright white. I tried the foamies once, couldn't clean'em, out they went...
post #8 of 58
Thread Starter 
Ahh, this is what I love about this forum. Lots of friendly, helpful advice from knowledgable people.

But... no flame wars? C'mon! (just kidding)

One problem about the ER's though... they spoil you for life! Prior to this, I thought my Grados were the best. But after wearing the Ety's, they sound flat and boring.

One other question - If the silicon tips soften over time, would it help speed this process by soaking them in baby oil (rinsing them clean before using again)?
post #9 of 58
I can't really say if baby oil will do the trick or not. I will say this, it only took me a week to get them soft. Maybe I used them a whole lot that week (I did, 8+ hours a day) but still, it should not take too too long. Soaking them in warm or hot water will give a similar effect and this may work well for you instead of trying oil which may have an adverse effect on the tips.

BTW, good choice on the new phones. I doubt you will really ever want to upgrade after these
post #10 of 58
Wesson oil, 350 degrees, three minutes or until crispy

Sorry, couldn't resist...

Week, week and a half, your Ety's will be a part of you...

I originally thought, that's a lotta bucks, and they're gonna be so high maintenance, blah, blah, blah. Now I'd rather fight than switch

Zanth, great avatar !
post #11 of 58
It seems it takes one to two weeks to soften the silicone tips enough to make them comfortable and burn in the drivers; it all seems to come together, doesn't it? I can't seem to bring myself to use my other headphones, now, as everything else seems disappointing.

My D22 Eggos are great for office use, since this setting is a lot of on/off with the cans.The Eggos do have a nice short-cord for a remote; I wish that the ER-4P's had a similar set-up, but, with the way the cord is bundled around the resistor thingie, it's sort of like a short-cord set-up. The shirt clip is a MUST.

BTW, washing the tips with dish water cleans them very nicely.
post #12 of 58
Thanks HighwayStar, that is me circa 1978, not sure what those cans are but I know that from an early age I was meant for headphone listening
post #13 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by Superbaldguy

My D22 Eggos are great for office use, since this setting is a lot of on/off with the cans.The Eggos do have a nice short-cord for a remote; I wish that the ER-4P's had a similar set-up, but, with the way the cord is bundled around the resistor thingie, it's sort of like a short-cord set-up. The shirt clip is a MUST.

BTW, washing the tips with dish water cleans them very nicely.
Same here, the Ety's wouldn't cut it for me at work. (I'd end up yanking out my eardrums...) I've got Grado 60's & a Creek coming courtesy of another member that will be my desktop rig mated to a pcdp. I hope the Ety's haven't jaded me too much
post #14 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by Zanth
Thanks HighwayStar, that is me circa 1978, not sure what those cans are but I know that from a high age I was meant for headphone listening
That's you ? That's fantastic ! Oh man, that's too much. "Born to wear cans !" That's the best !

You da man/baby/toddler, oh you know what I mean

It's one for the books, you got my vote for best avatar on any headphone related board ! Enjoy !
post #15 of 58
Thread Starter 


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