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Itchiness in ears caused by IEM tips?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
So I know this gets referenced occasionally, but I'm starting to wonder whether my ears are especially sensitive to the materials used for IEM tips. With every tip I've used except for the Shure black foam olives, I get itchy irritation inside my ears upon extended listening. The Shure black foamies are almost itch-free for me, but I think the sound is noticeably worse than the Complys or silicones.

Comply foams, yellow foams, and all silicone tips (even my custom Westone UM-56) cause varying degrees of itchiness after about 30-40 mins of listening. I have to rub the earpiece into my ear to relieve some of the itch, which can't be good for either my ears or the IEM. My left ear seems especially sensitive--I have to take the IEM out of my ear at least every other hour to give it a break.

My questions: How many of you experience this degree of irritation? Are there any solutions? I'm starting to wonder whether I have to resign myself to listening to goofy over-the-ear headphones in public, which would be a shame because I love the isolation and sound of my IEMs (I currently own the Westone 3s and Shure SE530s). The itchiness occurs with new and used tips, and I wash my tips with soap and water at least once a week.
post #2 of 28
allergens in the materials maybe?
post #3 of 28
Happens to me from time to time. It's just an itch, and I use an earbud/q-tip. However it is worse when I use customs.

Do you have dry ears?
post #4 of 28
Can't say if my ears get especially itchy after long IEM use, but I do occasionally have to scratch my ear- I do that often even without using IEM, bad habbit.
But I am surprised that you said Shure black foams sound worse than Comply. Most people here says the opposite, from what I've read.
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjmai View Post
Can't say if my ears get especially itchy after long IEM use, but I do occasionally have to scratch my ear- I do that often even without using IEM, bad habbit.
But I am surprised that you said Shure black foams sound worse than Comply. Most people here says the opposite, from what I've read.
Yeah, I never liked the Complys (T-100) with the SE530s--it sounded like I was in a cave. The sound was too muffled and distant. But with the W3s, the synergy with the P-series Complys is much better somehow. On the other hand, the black foams sound decent on the SE530s to me but pretty bad on the W3s. The grey soft-flex silicon tips sound 2nd best to me on the W3s, and don't itch quite as much.

I don't think my ears are especially dry, in fact my UM-56 tips are a little moist when I pull them out. I just read a post from a Jays employee that said daily cleaning with q-tips pushes in dirt and wax. I'm wondering if this may be part of the cause of the irritation. But it doesn't explain why some tips (foams) seem to itch way more than others.
post #6 of 28
I don't get an itch, but IEMs become incredibly uncomfortable for me after twenty minutes or so. I think my ears are just sensitive to the pressure exerted by the tips. It's the same kind of feeling you get when wearing a watch on a warm day and the band starts to feel all clammy on your skin.
post #7 of 28
I use anti-bacterial wipes. (the ones for your face/skin, not the surface ones) My ears haven't itched so far.
post #8 of 28
I also feel some degree of burning when using the silicon tips that came with my CK10 and up to now I have not been able to replace them, they sound much better than anything else.

I have partially solved the problem by washing them with antibacterial soap daily. This gives a longer comfort period.
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TLY View Post
I use anti-bacterial wipes. (the ones for your face/skin, not the surface ones) My ears haven't itched so far.
What brand? And do you wipe the tips off as well?
post #10 of 28
You must be careful with your ears, keep the most clean possible your headphones. When i bought some silicone earbuds, it solved my problem.
post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by dj nellie View Post
So I know this gets referenced occasionally, but I'm starting to wonder whether my ears are especially sensitive to the materials used for IEM tips. With every tip I've used except for the Shure black foam olives, I get itchy irritation inside my ears upon extended listening. The Shure black foamies are almost itch-free for me, but I think the sound is noticeably worse than the Complys or silicones.

Comply foams, yellow foams, and all silicone tips (even my custom Westone UM-56) cause varying degrees of itchiness after about 30-40 mins of listening. I have to rub the earpiece into my ear to relieve some of the itch, which can't be good for either my ears or the IEM. My left ear seems especially sensitive--I have to take the IEM out of my ear at least every other hour to give it a break.

My questions: How many of you experience this degree of irritation? Are there any solutions? I'm starting to wonder whether I have to resign myself to listening to goofy over-the-ear headphones in public, which would be a shame because I love the isolation and sound of my IEMs (I currently own the Westone 3s and Shure SE530s). The itchiness occurs with new and used tips, and I wash my tips with soap and water at least once a week.
Wow i have the exact same problem you do,
except i don't think i can change out my klipsch s4's tips with anything good enough
i'm still not giving up IEM's !!
post #12 of 28
I guess I'm lucky to never have problems, I always just use the silicon tips that come with my phones too.
post #13 of 28
My ears get itchy all the time too! I never figured out why though it usually happened when my ears were wet (but not always). Its somewhat frustrating.
Another count against using IEMs.
post #14 of 28
Quote:
What brand? And do you wipe the tips off as well?
These right here. Amazon.com: Wet Ones Antibacterial Moist Towelette, Cloth, 5-3/4 x 7-1/2, White, 40 Wipes per Dispenser: Health & Personal Care

They can be found at almost all major retailers in the U.S.

And yea, I wipe both the tips and my ears. I don't really go deep into my ears though. I'm guessing that wouldn't be very safe.
post #15 of 28
moisturize your ears. use some lotion for a week and see if there's any difference. also, you might try cleaning out your ears from wax and dead skin (it accumulates). it may be that the tips are pressing something into your skin which is irritating it.

The problem in my case was dry skin. a tad bit of lotion every once in a while and i haven't had much of an itchy issue since.
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