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do IEMs make your ears itch?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

So I've been looking for a decent pair of sound-isolating headphones and have been torn between going down the circumaural or IEM route. After weighing up my options, I decided on IEMs and was all set to splash out on a pair of these: http://www.amazon.com/Shure-SE210-Sound-Isolating-Earphone/dp/B0013JT3XC/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1304419014&sr=1-3

 

However, I suddenly realized that, since the foam earplugs I use to sleep at night are consistently making my inner ear itchy, this might be a potential problem with the IEMs as well. 


Has anyone found that IEMs give them itchy ears? If so, is it dependent on the tip, etc. used?  

post #2 of 12

Nope, but i just recieved a pair of the SE535 and i feel a little groove in my ear from where the earpad starts. I havent had earbuds in atleast 5 years, so it could be my ears are acustom to earbuds


 

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

I should apologize. I just checked the archives and noticed that there's a lot of threads covering this topic. 

post #4 of 12

Material choice can play a role.  The ear plugs may just be a relatively scratchy foam.

 

However, anything stuck in your ear is uncomfortable at first.  I remember first getting into IEMs and being rather annoyed by the process.  It takes a little while for your ears to get used to that.  It is also helpful to learn what tips fit your ears well.  The ones that fit better will automatically feel more comfortable.

 

post #5 of 12

Also keep in mind that foam earplugs are inserted reeeeally deeply.  Most IEMs don't go in that far.  I've found that silicone tips are more irritating than good foam tips, however, which feel almost as though they're not there for me.

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaBomb77766 View Post

Also keep in mind that foam earplugs are inserted reeeeally deeply.  Most IEMs don't go in that far.  I've found that silicone tips are more irritating than good foam tips, however, which feel almost as though they're not there for me.



Hmm, that's true. Just to be safe, though, I'm going to speak to my doctor next week; since adopting ear plugs, I've noticed that whenever I try to clean my ears, no wax appears on the bud, so maybe they're dried out. Which IEMs would you most recommend for <$150US as far as comfort and isolation goes? I was looking for something I could wear for long periods.  


Edited by noise-phobe - 5/4/11 at 2:19am
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by noise-phobe View Post





Hmm, that's true. Just to be safe, though, I'm going to speak to my doctor next week. Which IEMs would you recommend for >$150US? 



VSONIC GR07. :P  Look it up, it's been slowly gaining steam around here.  Problem is it's rather difficult to find relative to most other IEMs, but lendmeurears should have them stocked.

 

I find them to be quite comfortable if I use foam tips, but the silicone ones tend to irritate my ears.  It might be worth investing in some Comply foam tips, regardless though, they're supposed to be extremely comfortable, but I've never tried them so I can't really compare them.

 

Another good choice is the Fischer DBA-02.  It's very popular around here, and is one of the cheaper dual BA IEMs out there.  The Brainwavz B2 looks like it's based off of it, and it's currently on sale if you buy it soon (a pre-order sale).  Not many reviews on that yet, but the few impressions/reviews there are are quite positive.

 

The Brainwavz M3 is also apparently a very solid choice but I haven't really researched that one enough to make any recommendations on it.

 

The Shure SE215 has been making waves around here too, as it's apparently actually quite good for its price, competing with the brands from China.

 

And finally, you can't forget the RE0 or RE-ZERO, they're extremely good for their price.  The RE0 used to be priced more than 2x more and was considered a good deal even then.  You should look them up if you want to know more.

 

You should really check out Joker's IEM review thread though, it's full of great information.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

hey thanks for all your help DaBomb, I really appreciate it .. I actually meant IEMs under $150 (typo .. which I've corrected), but I noticed some you listed fall in that range, or just over it, and I've been looking through Joker's thread for tips as well.

 

I have one last technical question, if you don't mind .. 


Based on your advice, I went out and bought some cheap ($15) TDK in-ear headphones to test which look like this ..

 

TDKEB300W.jpg

 

obviously they provide no noise-isolation and the sound quality blows (as expected), but I was just curious about something .. if I want noise-isolation, is it necessary to buy headphones with long earbuds that penetrate the ear-canal? or does it depend more on the seal that's created at the outer ear? i noticed that a lot of the more expensive models use buds that are just as shallow as the TDKs i bought, so was wondering whether the difference lies in the fact that they allow you to customize the bud to fill your ear? 


Edited by noise-phobe - 5/4/11 at 4:22am
post #9 of 12

A shallow fit definitely gives you less isolation, for the most part, but the dynamic IEMs with the huge vents on them isolate the worst.  A closed IEM almost always gives better isolation, and some vented ones give good isolation too.  But generally, as a rule, the ones that give the best isolation are the most uncomfortable and deepest fitting.  Etymotics apparently give absolutely outstanding isolation, blocking out nearly everything (probably as good if not better than good foam earplugs if you're putting them in properly) but are quite uncomfortable to most people.  Though they generally break in on you after awhile and you start to get used to them.

 

But shallow fit IEMs are usually the most comfortable and are the easiest to put in.  I think your best bet is to check out Joker's thread and read through your price range if you have the time and/or patience.  There's a lot to read there, but it's very much worth it - he gives an "isolation" and "comfort" section in each review, so it'd be perfect for helping you choose what you want.

 

The ones you showed there are in fact shallow fit ones, and would probably be fairly typical of most cheaper vented dynamics.  Don't hear much about TDK around here though, but I guess they were fairly cheap, so no big deal. :P

(you know if you can return them to where you bought them from after opening them?)

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

i know this is gonna sound ridiculous, but would it ever be possible to touch your ear drum with a deep-fitting IEM? maybe a skinny one like the etymotics? 

post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by noise-phobe View Post

i know this is gonna sound ridiculous, but would it ever be possible to touch your ear drum with a deep-fitting IEM? maybe a skinny one like the etymotics? 



Nah, not unless you have freakishly short ear canals.  It shouldn't be a problem.

post #12 of 12

I've seen a drawing of how far an ER-4 goes in your ear.  I can't find it now, but it's less than half way down your ear canal. 

 

You can get decent, but not great isolation from shallow insertion IEMs with foam tips, as long as the IEM isn't vented.  I get around 15dB isolation with my Westone 1 and large Shure black olives.

 

Every IEM I've tried gets awful isolation with single flange tips, even deep with insertion.  They're worthless for me.  The only reason I use IEMs is for isolation.  If I don't need isolation, and I need portable, I'd rather listen to a portable headphone.

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