Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › A note on customs and their fit
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

A note on customs and their fit

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
For those enjoying their custom IEM's but wondering perhaps about fit, please note the following information.

1. Before making a decision on fit for your IEM's (JH13's, UE10's, etc), please remember to have a clean set of ears. To do this, in the shower turn your head to each side (right ear on your left shoulder and vice versa), then allow the water to enter your ear canal. Let it sit for a few seconds, then dump it out. Do this 3 times for each ear every day or other day. This helps flush out sediment and built up perspiration mixed with wax. Use a Q-Tip to carefully dry out the ear canals after showering.

I found this GREATLY helps in getting the best seal possible and in determining if your pair needs refit. (also aids improving seal when people are turning their heads, opening mouths wide and eating)

2. Sometimes a person's hearing can come into play as well. In that, if one ear hears better than the other, regardless of fit, one may be able to detect more ambient sound through the better hearing ear. This info could be useful if the fit seems good for each ear but one side "seems" to let more sound in.


This story is just some additional food for thought on the fit and potential refitting of customs.

i.e.
When I received my UE11's, I thought for sure the right ear needed refit. Such that, I went to the lab in Irvine for examination and their technician did another impression and tweaked the 'R' monitor onsite. He removed some of the tip of the barrel in hopes of promoting a better seal and rescanned the monitor for their records. Seeing is how the UE technician's fit ratio was over some 96%, I was confident about the refit.

After coming home and settling in, the right side still felt off. So I then went back to the audiologist in Phx and had two additional impressions done for my right side. (I had two impressions remade to help offer the best specimen for their lab to forge a refit for the refit). I sent the then back to UE for work on the right side.

After several refits, the right side on the UE11 still does not "seem" to be as fitting as the left. Only now I have some "scar tissue" in the form of extra material on the tip of the right side. (I did not like that the left barrel was longer than the right barrel, and since it was being refit, I requested the barrels be made the same length again) The additional fit is the same as it was from the beginning, and the UE scans were nearly identical Per the UE lab for each of the 3 times they worked on them.

I want to emphasize having clean ears to start with for the best sound, fit, and knowing about the fitting nature of your customs. I was never aware of the trick above from No 1 until last year.. (that you could tilt your head and allow water to enter your ear canal), my audiologist helped suggest this. If I had known this before making the judgement on my UE11's Right side not fitting, I would have done this first. Because, as it stands, the UE11's fit the same as they did when I first received them, and the lab's multiple scans of my 'R' impressions suggest they were correct perhaps the first time (and maybe all along). I may have never needed the refit(s) had I cleaned out my ears better. (note: I thought they were clean then too) Too often we strive for perfection in sound and fit, me included. This is why I am sharing, it may help as a step for new owners, and to save time and money. (especially overseas listeners)

After that pair, I have never had a problem with any other customs fitting thus since, (counting UE10, JH13, & JH11).

Hope this helps!!
post #2 of 14
thanks for the tip. good note for all future custom owners.
post #3 of 14
Hmm I shall have to try that. I'm having fit problems on my right ear too, and even my left ear isn't as tight as I wish it could be. Is it normal to lose the seal from just turning my head left and right or up and down?
post #4 of 14
i have a point to add. try to impressions in the afternoon. ear canals are a little little bit larger. correct if i am wrong.
post #5 of 14
Without having anything to do with in ear headphones I've always cleaned my ears at least once a day with a soft tissue and then a q-tip. My ears are spotless clean, and I recommend that if you are going to get fit for a custom start cleaning your ears three days before you have the molds done. There isn't the perfect way to clean your ears since everyone is different and may feel discomfort. Just be careful when you do it.

I saw a Discovery TV show about people/humans. They said that American people have ear wax, and Asian people have like ear dust or whatever. Just thought that was interesting.
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Opentoe View Post
I saw a Discovery TV show about people/humans. They said that American people have ear wax, and Asian people have like ear dust or whatever. Just thought that was interesting.
Wonder what those mixed people have then
post #7 of 14
it is true. i don't know about americans, but different races have slightly different types of 'wax'. my wife's for instance is dusty or whatever while mine is the gooey stuff!
post #8 of 14
I'm going to be skeptical about the perfect-fit obsession. That a big build-up of earwax can distort the picture of your ear canal sounds reasonable, but that it would have a huge difference makes my eyebrows rise. The key issue is a decent seal. This is what keeps pressure constant, allowing greater sensitivity and less leakage in terms of musical dynamics. Universals leave noticeable gaps; customs are more thorough. But there comes a point when a soul can get practically OCD about it.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bilavideo View Post
I'm going to be skeptical about the perfect-fit obsession. That a big build-up of earwax can distort the picture of your ear canal sounds reasonable, but that it would have a huge difference makes my eyebrows rise. The key issue is a decent seal. This is what keeps pressure constant, allowing greater sensitivity and less leakage in terms of musical dynamics. Universals leave noticeable gaps; customs are more thorough. But there comes a point when a soul can get practically OCD about it.
What one considers a decent seal and still another considers that same seal as unsatisfactory shall always be.

Do you have any customs yourself?

I see much communication lately on the boards on fit and thought I may share my experience so as to assist. It is not that the wax makes the customs fit drastically different, or that having cleaning ears will make them fit a huge difference either. It is the subtle difference that is key here.

Not sure if my story relates to others but it sure was/is a lesson for me. I am not OCD, but as others wish to have a seemingly perfect fit for such an expense. You may be surprised how much of a difference it makes for me to have mostly dry and clean canals.

When I wear any pair of my customs for extended sessions and walk about, I have sometimes some residue that is created and makes the ear pieces both easier to pull out as well as move around slightly while inserted. (from the sort of lubrication effect, perhaps sweat and wax combined?) This goes for all 4 pairs of my customs.

Not sure if your comment was directed at me or perhaps generally skeptical to the idea that customs can fit differently with wax in the canal.

To your point on universals, actually universals utilizing foam tips can seal even better than customs in my years of owning IEM's. For example, the isolation and seal that the Ety's provide with olives bests all customs I own slightly, yet each custom in my possession seals brilliantly.

When riding in a car's passenger seat and looking over my right shoulder behind me, or opening my mouth as wide as possible are examples of times that the seal is momentarily broken (albeit slightly). And you can feel the seal close completely when returning my head forward or closing my mouth accordingly. Having unclean canals (i.e. after I exercise, or without doing the shower trick mentioned in my first post) reduces the seal and with such activities.

This I am sharing to provide reference for others, and can only confirm this information helps me get the very best seal for customs that DO fit.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by wsatia View Post
Wonder what those mixed people have then
No, my comment was for real. Not a joke. I have ear wax, and I know a couple chinese guys I know have the other stuff. Like sand or sand mixed in with a little jelly. Something like that. I can't remember what European's have.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Opentoe View Post
No, my comment was for real. Not a joke. I have ear wax, and I know a couple chinese guys I know have the other stuff. Like sand or sand mixed in with a little jelly. Something like that. I can't remember what European's have.
Haha yup whoops never meant to imply your comment was a joke! I've read about it somewhere myself and I find it quite interesting too. I'm chinese myself and have some pretty strange non-gooey ear wax
post #12 of 14
wow i feel so stupid for not thinking about this for my customs... no wonder I keep having to go for refits...

thanks.
post #13 of 14

Do you want the fit to be a total seal?  How do you know if it's too tight?  How is a good fit suppose to feel?  I feel that my left fit my ears perfectly.  Not too tight and not loose at all.  I can wear it for extended period of time and not hurt.  My right ear however feel like it's a little tight and that my ear starts to hurt after a couple of hours of wearing them.  Is this ok?  Or should I send it back for a refit.

post #14 of 14

Earwax has a profound effect on custom impressions and the resulting product. FACT.

A good audiologist won't even take impressions if there's too much cerumen present. Impressions of cerumen-filled ears will result in a poorly fitted product. (Not to mention, impacted cerumen affects your hearing as well.)

 

To wsatia:

Quote:

Hmm I shall have to try that. I'm having fit problems on my right ear too, and even my left ear isn't as tight as I wish it could be. Is it normal to lose the seal from just turning my head left and right or up and down?
 

 

This should not happen and is not normal in properly fitted IEMs.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › A note on customs and their fit