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Canal phones/in-ear --- health/safety issues?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I'm sure this sounds like a technophobe, knee-jerk reaction, but just to set my mind at ease (or not!), are canal phones and in-ear the same? Is putting phones that deep into your ear a) uncomfortable/painful b) safe?
My doctor always warns me, when I go to have my ears syringed every few months, not to put anything that deep into my ear. So if I have a phone in there, blasting out bass and treble directly against my eardrum....
Any ideas? Assuage my fears? Agree?
All of which will factor into what new headphones I buy. I need something that in order of priority a) isn't mad expensive (no more than about EUR 100) b) gives good clean sound without having to pump my Zen Vision:M all the way up, as I have to at the moment, c) will last d) are comfortable/safe.
Suggestions?
Thx guys!
TH
post #2 of 19
The general consensus about IEMs seems to be that they are actually safer than non-isolating headphones, since you don't need to turn up the volume as much comparatively, since they block out the ambient noise.
AFAIK, 60 (just to have a number) dB is 60 dB, wheter it's coming from an open phone or from inside your ear canal with an IEM, you just need to listen at reasonable levels.

€100 limits your choices somewhat since everything has a gross markup inside the EU, you could get one of the entry level Shure's (just barely), but even a Ultimate Ears Super Fi 3 is already out of your price range.
There are various other brands in the sub €100 range, but since I haven't heard most of them, I won't recommend any.
post #3 of 19
As far as safety goes, IEMs are safe. They are safe if they are used correctly, and you apply some common sense.

Your hearing can be damaged by prolonged exposure to high volumes. Most people will be inclined to turn up the volume to overcome external sound at hear the music better. IEMs block outside noise, and therefore enable you to listen to the same music at a lower volume and still have the same listening experience. In this sense they are less likely to damage your hearing.

If you crank the volume up, you can hurt your ears, but that can happen with any headphones you use.

As far as how deep to insert them, it really comes down to personal preference and comfort. You want to get a good seal, that isolates outside noise. You also want it to be comfortable. If you've never used in ear monitors before there may be some initial discomfort until you get used to them. Most people aren't used to having stuck in their ear for long periods of time, so I'd suggest about a week to adjust to the feeling.

If you're really concerned, I strongly recommend getting custom tips for whatever IEMs you get. Ask your audiologist about having impressions made. There are a lot of vendors that do this. I use Westone UM56 custom tips, and they fit the Westone line as well as the Shure lineup. Some people have mentioned that their audiologists have made the custom tips themselves vs. sending it out, and consequently charge less. YMMV

As far as comfort and sound quality goes, custom is the best option. After a minute or two, I forget I even have them in. It's an investment however, and tips cost me ove $100 USD. This may not be in your budget at the moment, but might be a good upgrade down the line.

As far as bang for buck on an IEM, I strongly recommend the Etymotic ER-6i. I've seen it online for around $75 USD which is about half your listed budget. The sounds is very detailed, making it execlent for vocals. The bass is awesome and really brings out the music.

good luck
-Jeff
post #4 of 19
for the $ in your wallet I would suggest the atrio M5 or M8. They isolate very well the outside, so much I need to be double attentive in crossing streets!

at ebay you will find them and with a Submit Offer of 130$ + shipping .

Also with the US currency $$ not as strong it is a good time to buy!

regards,
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanx guys. Looks like IEMs may be the way to go.
If anyone has nothing better to do, would you look at this link for a respected electronics store in Ireland and let me know if any of these fit the bill, or are they just hyping up sales?

http://www.peats.com/cgi-bin/test_ne...sid=10&cid=118

Thx again!
TH
post #6 of 19
lol the shure e2c are probably the best out of the bunch
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thx Pez!
Expensive though, considering that they go on Amazon for about STG 29.
If I do go for them, I reckon I'll buy through that channel. No point in paying over the odds just for convenience.
Thx for taking the time to check the link out. So, none of the others worth bothering about, then?
post #8 of 19
The CX300's are pretty popular as well, and decent for €20-25 or so, but they are €50 on that site, don't bother.
Some of the other models listed there like the Senn MX series are not in-ears but earbuds, so they won't isolate.

1 more that stands out to me (in a good or bad way) is the Bose Triport, gets some talk around here as very comfortable earphones, but overpriced for what they do sound-wise.

If I were you I'd try to buy used on from the sale boards, most of the time you can get a better deal even with customs charges and international shipping, since the EU prices for many popular brands like Shure, UE, Etymotic, etc are just grossly overpriced.
post #9 of 19
I have to think IEM's are significantly safer than traditional headphones.

I have a pair of AKG 26 P's and I usually had to have the sound set at '9' on my iriver clix. Currently, I use super fi 5 eb and sound is acceptable at '3' at home and '5' outside. The passive noise cancellation dramatically lowers sound entering the ear and thus less chance of ear damage.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
OK, agreed: everyone knows Ireland is the rip-off captial of the world, so buying online/Ebay would of course be the best way to go.
Given that, what should I look for within my pricerange, and does anyone have good/bad experiences of buying headphones online? Should I go through distributors, shops, the Amazons of this world, private sale, Ebay? Any thoughts?
Sorry for all the questions, but you guys seem to be the experts on phones...
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
OK, agreed: everyone knows Ireland is the rip-off captial of the world, so buying online/Ebay would of course be the best way to go.
Given that, what should I look for within my pricerange, and does anyone have good/bad experiences of buying headphones online? Should I go through distributors, shops, the Amazons of this world, private sale, Ebay? Any thoughts?
Sorry for all the questions, but you guys seem to be the experts on phones...
read post #4.
Do a search at ebay for Atrio M5 or M8. send a Best Offer proposition...

seller ships international. seller is very reliable.
et voila!

regards,
post #12 of 19
man, you should get the m5, e2c is total muddy crap for the money you paid for in ireland
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
OK, I'm looking at the Atrio M5, both on Ebay and on Futuresonics's website, and I have to say they look like they might hurt! Those long, pointed bits at the end, they go right into your ears? Doesn't look very comfortable...
Am I being a wuss?
Apart from that, the best deal I can see on EBay is EUR 112 (not including shipping), and on FS website they don't take European orders and redirect you to their partner, who want EUR 144! Bit steep....
So are these worth shelling out for? Or does someone else have a different opinion?
post #14 of 19
IEM health issue... IMO its more about hygiene
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
OK, I'm looking at the Atrio M5, both on Ebay and on Futuresonics's website, and I have to say they look like they might hurt! Those long, pointed bits at the end, they go right into your ears? Doesn't look very comfortable...
Am I being a wuss?
Apart from that, the best deal I can see on EBay is EUR 112 (not including shipping), and on FS website they don't take European orders and redirect you to their partner, who want EUR 144! Bit steep....
So are these worth shelling out for? Or does someone else have a different opinion?
Don't worry they're just Tri-flanges and they won't hurt as they are soft silicone. Also, the M5's come with foam tips too.
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