How to "possibly" improve the sound of your IEMs
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drssyoon

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OK. For those of you that are squamish, do not read any further.

I have gone through many different IEMs (E2, E3, Ety4P, E5) and finally settled on the UM2s. I have enjoyed the sound, but I felt that something was still missing. So, I bit the bullet and decided to get the custom molds ($100). I was at the audiologist yesterday to get the impression and as a part of the fitting process she looked in my ears to make sure that there were no surprises. Well, she tells me that I have quite a bit of ear wax that needs to come out.

I was very surprised because I clean my ears with qtips regularly and being Asian, am not at all squamish about sticking things in my ears. I told her to remove the ear wax and when she did (after some discomfort) I could not believe my eyes. There were 2 pieces, about the size of a pea in my right ear and one in my left ear! In fact, my right ear was almost completely blocked. I was totally shocked and grossed out. Apparently the insertion of my IEMs and then my "cleaning" with qtips resulted in wax getting pushed in further and compacted. Of course, I was thorougly embarassed, but it did not bother her - she sees these all the time.

Perhaps it is psychological, but after the cleaning process, I swear I could hear more detail in everyday sound. It was like that allergy medication commercial where the haze gets lifted and everything becomes technicolor again.

Anyway, my fitting was done, the molds were sent to Westone and I look forward to getting them back in about 10 days. I can't wait.

The moral of this story might be that those of you who have used IEMs for a while might want to check to see if you have any ear wax problems like I did. Mechanical blockage does quite a bit of harm to the fidelity of the IEMs.

 
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dougmwpsu

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Doesn’t it serve to reason that earwax blockage could affect the enjoyment of any sort of music be it from headphones, iems, speakers, or even live?
 
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jjcha

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Quote:

Originally Posted by dougmwpsu
Doesn’t it serve to reason that earwax blockage could affect the enjoyment of any sort of music be it from headphones, iems, speakers, or even live?


Um, I would imagine that artificially coloured carrot blockage would have a greater impact.

(Sorry couldn't resist, given the appropriateness of your Garfield avatar...)

Best,

-Jason
 
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drssyoon

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Ah yes - but the long term use of IEMs may result in a situation where you might not be aware that the blockage was taking place. I certainly did not think I had a problem like this... If your IEMs were pushing in and compacting your ear wax, this might be something that people are not aware of. I religiously clean my ears with qtips and other "instruments" that are commonly available in asian markets. However, my ear wax blobs were really deeply imbedded.

As I stated in my post - after the cleaning, every sound I heard "felt" clearer, more defined, etc. The effect may have been psychological, but my UM2s never sounded better!
 
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Oski

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Quote:

Originally Posted by drssyoon
I religiously clean my ears with qtips and other "instruments" that are commonly available in asian markets. However, my ear wax blobs were really deeply imbedded.


LoL...I switched from Q-Tips to said "instrument" because Q-Tips often impact earwax instead of removing it. After using the bamboo stick for a while I tried flushing my ear again with Murine Ear Drops and I didn't get the same blob of backlogged earwax that I had when I was using Q-Tips. Maybe the Asian bamboo stick should be the latest "tweak" around here.
 
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PhilS

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Quote:

Originally Posted by drssyoon
OK. For those of you that are squamish, do not read any further.

I have gone through many different IEMs (E2, E3, Ety4P, E5) and finally settled on the UM2s. I have enjoyed the sound, but I felt that something was still missing. So, I bit the bullet and decided to get the custom molds ($100). I was at the audiologist yesterday to get the impression and as a part of the fitting process she looked in my ears to make sure that there were no surprises. Well, she tells me that I have quite a bit of ear wax that needs to come out.

I was very surprised because I clean my ears with qtips regularly and being Asian, am not at all squamish about sticking things in my ears. I told her to remove the ear wax and when she did (after some discomfort) I could not believe my eyes. There were 2 pieces, about the size of a pea in my right ear and one in my left ear! In fact, my right ear was almost completely blocked. I was totally shocked and grossed out. Apparently the insertion of my IEMs and then my "cleaning" with qtips resulted in wax getting pushed in further and compacted. Of course, I was thorougly embarassed, but it did not bother her - she sees these all the time.

Perhaps it is psychological, but after the cleaning process, I swear I could hear more detail in everyday sound. It was like that allergy medication commercial where the haze gets lifted and everything becomes technicolor again.

Anyway, my fitting was done, the molds were sent to Westone and I look forward to getting them back in about 10 days. I can't wait.

The moral of this story might be that those of you who have used IEMs for a while might want to check to see if you have any ear wax problems like I did. Mechanical blockage does quite a bit of harm to the fidelity of the IEMs.




One of my ears is also prone to wax build up. Over the past few years, there have been two occasions where I have had to have some "peas" pulled out of my ear. Yeah, it is really gross, but very common apparently. For me, the wax build up is particularly a problem when mixed with salt water from the ocean; you can really get a clog and half of the world seems to go away. (Very effective if you've been marrried a long time or have teenagers; you just keep you spouse or children on that side.
)

In any event, if you are prone to this, a good solution (recommended by the last doctor who cleaned me out) is to buy a solution of hydrogen peroxide (HP) (you can get it in a pretty big bottle), dilute it 50% with water, and put 10-20 drops in your ear, let sit for 5 to 10 minutes (you will hear it bubbling and crackling like HP does), and then rinse it out of your ear with one of those bulbs you get with the Murine Wax Removal System and that you can buy separately in any drugstore. The HP solution is basically the same as the Murine, but proabably costs about 1/100 of the Murine stuff for the same quantity. I do this every month or so and it really works. And yes, you do hear better after you clean your ears out.

BTW, I have found the Swan brand of HP improves the high frequencies the best, while the generic brands of HP offer better bass.
 
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kramer5150

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Yeah earwax is disgusting stuff. My ex girlfriend had an orange pea sized nugget removed from one of her ears once.

Im asian as well and in addition to Qtips I use one of those scoop-thingies to clean it out.

My problem is my earwax is dry and flakey stuff that leaves a powder residue on my e2c. Im constantly brushing the stuff off my phones.

Garrett
 
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