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WARNING: etymotics can blow your eardrum

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
i was cleaning the apartment the other day and had my etymotics er6 in. i accidentally hit the cord as i was working and it popped the left plug right out of my ear canal. OUCH!! the flanges on the plug were pulled upsidedown. i don't think my eardrum has completely recovered from the negative pressure yet. anyway, be very careful if you wear etys and are doing physical work. i shudder to think what would have happened if they were the three flange type (er4).
post #2 of 37
Foamies 4ever!

I never did get such an experience though with my 4S's... maybe the rubbers are in really tightly and are harder to pull out...
post #3 of 37
Ouch, that would be kinda bad! That's why I tend to stay in one spot while listening to Etys.

I wonder which would do more damage: Etys being yanked out, or nice & sandpapery Grados being yanked off?
post #4 of 37
I messed up my ears with the ER-20 ear plugs and the sony ex-70lp after pulling them out a little too quick. My ears hurt, things sounded funny for a day, and I had a strange sensation in my head for a day.

I didn't even snag the wires on anything. I just yanked them out of my ears somewhat quickly. If if I twist them first and wiggle them out, the negative pressure is relieved but I can still can feel the negative pressure tugging on my ear drums.
post #5 of 37
Thread Starter 
maybe i should go back to using my koss plug. they would fall out of my ears if i turned my head and leave the foam inserts behind to crumble and pollute my ears.

yeah, i need to caaaarefully wiggle the er6 out of my ears, less so with the ex70. the thing that sucks about the er6 is the high maintenance. mine have to be absolutely clean before inserion, otherwise my ears itch. also all the pulling and pressure adjustments to get a correct seal is a bit of a pain too. i noticed people get pissed if they try to talk to you and you have to ask "what?", but don't take the phones out (see above re: insertion). another thing i noticed is the microphone effect if the cord rubs on your collar at all. oh well, i guess it's the price i pay for that great isolation.

i hope this wierd feeling in my ear goes away soon.
post #6 of 37
So this makes my mx500 the best safe earbuds! yes!
post #7 of 37
yeah well, I'd take the ER6s anyday, haven't had a bad experience with them yet! Other than finding out how to REALLY put them in a couple days ago and realizing I was missing out all those other days before that.
post #8 of 37
You want a good seal...but you don't want a pressured seal with Ety's. It doesn't matter what Ety you are using I assume...but you would be more comfortable, as well as likely to have better sound, with a more "equalized" pressure. Sure if the seal is tight it might not be a good thing when yanking it out, however I really think this becomes an issue when you stick Ety's in, and it creates a suction or unbalanced pressure where perhaps air is already being pushed out...and pulling out Ety's just makes the suction action worse.

So sticking in Ety's, creating an air-tight "vacuum" type seal is actually probably not very good for comfort or sound. You kind of want it sealed, without any strong air pressure difference either way, which may not be as easy to achieve.
post #9 of 37
If there was pressure pushing out, you would think there would be less of a problem yanking them out, since it already wants to come out.

Don't a lot of people put them a little deeper than normal, then pull them out slightly to get a good seal? That seems like the worst scenario, if safety is a concern.

I guess, the key is to break the seal before yanking it out. If the cord snags on something, it would probably pull downwards breaking the seal slightly anyway. So good thing they weren't being pulled out perfectly perpendicular to your head because that could have had a worse effect.

Anyways, I'm sure Etymotic Research put this all into consideration. I mean this is their business.

The irony. You lost your hearing because you didn't want to make any compromises with the sound. No pain, no gain I suppose..

Redshifter: Are your eardrums feeling better today?
post #10 of 37
I meant by inserting the flanged Ety's you push air out...letting go will immediately create vacuum type pressure. Obviously not as much as an issue with foamies.

I can't say I've had similar problems, but if you do become an expert at insertion and seals I don't think it would be an issue. However the fact that the ER6 is short and squatty with only 2 flanges probably makes it more of an issue than ER4. Than again it can all depend on the speed at which you yank anything out of your ear. Again yanking isn't an issue for me perhaps with ER4 shirt clip or equal length cord. Wearing cording on the back might help.

I still wouldn't discount the value of proper insertion which is not as trivial as one would think. Overcompensation and cramming something deep into your ears just so that it stays there is not uncommon. When you can insert them in less than 5 seconds, at a depth that is neither too deep or shallow, in a manner that doesn't create pressure imbalance, I don't know if this issue is that much a problem especially with ER4's. For me the risk of this problem is about as high as accidently listening with the volume maxed out. Yah its a dangerous possibility...but it should be known by now...Ety's require the responsibilities of expertise, care, and sense above and beyond other headphones.

Anyhow after using ER4's with rubber flanges for a long while...this isn't an issue for me...if there was the occasional tug on the cord it would distribute force on both sides of the phone...and being that it would have to be a downward pull, it would do very little but either mess up my seal, or just pop out harmlessly. So yah...if I deliberately shoved my ER4's a bit too deep...than forcefully pulled em out...yah that could easily be harmful. But I don't see many circumstances for which I could reproduce it in normal use as a veteran user...just like I probably wouldn't be caught listening with the volume accidently maxed.

A few ER4 users seemed to say the ER6 seemed more difficult to insert. I know that the ER4 are longer and more slender while the ER6 are shorter and fatter. With the amount of posts that seem to say, "I thought I figured it out...but THIS time I think I finally figured it out", when it comes to Ety insertions, I can only say that you may think you got a seal the first times around...but there still is a high possibility that it isn't THE "Ideal" seal.
post #11 of 37
Originally posted by Tim D
I meant by inserting the flanged Ety's you push air out...letting go will immediately create vacuum type pressure. Obviously not as much as an issue with foamies.

Sounds plausible. This is an important subject, I think. I did notice an annoying pop the last time I removed the ER6, but thought nothing of it at the time. It didn't exactly hurt, but it was obvious that it could hurt.

It seems this is the same phenomena that occurs when diving (and flying) where the inner ear adjusts to the ambient pressure surrounding it. I can tell you that when it occurs during diving, the pain can become so unbearable that you basically have to force yourself to go to sleep for an hour or so.

There are techniques for equalzing the pressure upon the inner ear, one of which is swallowing while blocking off the nasal passage.

One clear sign that there is a pressure differential is that your hearing becomes attenuated like in an airliner when it seems you have earplugs on, then you swallow and everything becomes loud again. I don't have the ER6 with me now, but I did notice the attenuation when I was adjusting its position.
post #12 of 37
Thread Starter 
Redshifter: Are your eardrums feeling better today?
they are, thanks.

when i insert the er6 i usually push them in until ambient sound is equally muffled on both sides. them i pull on my ear which equalizes the pressure (this is in the ety instructions)--it seems to let the built up air pressure out. without equalizing the pressure they sound bass-shy and distant. i cannot do the "hold your nose & swallow" eustacian tube equalization; it just doesn't work for me. unfortunately because i equalize the pressure, when it got pulled out it created a very bad negative pressure. think of a cork popping out of a wine bottle. and because of an ear infection i had years ago IN THAT SAME EAR the mechanism that equalizes pressure internally doesn't work, so there was no compensation.

i've had the ex70 pop out before, but it was nothing like having the er6 pop. i am going to be much more careful about wearing these things in the future. i bought them partially to protect my hearing; it would be a bitter irony if they destroyed it.
post #13 of 37
Really folks!!
I was tempted....but these things sound torture!
Popping eardrums and what not,
post #14 of 37
Aw, come on! You really should get ER4S's and some custom molds, and sell us all of those silly stax's!!

Cause I *really really* want to know how well-ampe ER4S's with the custom molds compare to those little earbud stax's....
post #15 of 37
You are all mad!
mad I say mad mad mad
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