How to get used to ear canal earbuds?
Jul 15, 2015 at 3:42 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 5


100+ Head-Fier
Oct 25, 2012
Ear canal earbuds have a ton of advantages over regular earbuds, such as superior sound quality at comparable prices, superior isolation, no need to blast the volume because of outside noise reducing ear damage, superior bass reproduction, and more. Sound may even be better than full size phones at lower price with the added bonus of portability and being easy to drive.
But I can't use any pair for more than a few minutes because then my ears start hurting and the whole time I have a claustrophobic feeling. On top of that, if I use small tips I have to deep insert them to get a seal and they get very uncomfortable pretty soon, if I use bigger tips they either trap the air under them and get pushed out naturally, or I create a vacuum effect and they get extremely uncomfortable. Is there any way to train your ears to accept them so they disappear? Will wearing them over a long period of time ease the pain eventually? Or are my ears just unable to accept those kinds of earbuds? With regular earbuds + foams I just don't feel anything and have perfect fit 99% of the time, while with ear canal earbuds I lose them even if I stay still and if I don't lose them I hate them (but not the sound quality).
The other day I tried a pair of Sennheiser Momentum in-ear and I had a freaking epiphany with the sound, too bad they kept slipping out and being generally torturous to wear.
Please advice, and thanks in advance.
Jul 16, 2015 at 6:04 AM Post #2 of 5
You may just have more of a sensitivity to these effects - it may settle down with time, but I'm guessing there.
You might try something which is ported (holes in the casing) such as the DUNU Titan 1, you might lose a little isolation but they may be more comfortable. Alternatively just try larger eartips and use a shallow insertion, so they just sit at the mouth of the ear canal - I find this works for me.
Jul 16, 2015 at 11:24 AM Post #3 of 5

How to get used to ear canal earbuds?

The same way people get used to (or in some cases, the appropriate terms are "acclimatized" or "desensitized") everything else: frequent exposure. Think of it like how practice develops skill - if you keep focusing on how hard practice is and avoiding it, then you won't acquire the skill. Within the same time period someone else who kept practicing will be able to roundhouse kick a moving target or ride a horse while hitting targets in quick succession with arrows.
That vertigo feeling you get when you lock the world out acoustically is just something you're not used to. When I'm not playing sports outside with other people I'm locked in my room, and for my whole life I've always had a portable player on me and some earbuds. The only thing I didn't get used to until IEMs now is how they all itch after a while. Well, at least silicone tips don't itch as badly as foam earbuds.
Jul 17, 2015 at 9:09 PM Post #4 of 5
I have the same problem and I don't think that there really is a guaranteed solution. You might get used to IEMs - or you might not. Best results I have had so far is with foam tips  - especially the rounded Comply models (Comfort). IEMs with poor isolation and/or ported design probably can be easier to tolerate, like SteveHiFi suggested above.
Jul 19, 2015 at 8:44 AM Post #5 of 5
Thanks everyone. I will "train" with the ones I have (mostly stock phone iems) and if I ever get to tolerate them I'll buy my first high end pair of iems (was thinking about the Senn Momentum In-Ear since they're recommended for v shaped signature).

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