Improve In-Ear Headphones (Ear-Buds)




Those ear-buds never fit in my ears. But there's a simple solution to that.

Step 1: Obtain Plain Ol' Ear-buds.

I bought a new MP3 player. It came with these ear-buds. They don't fit me, and my left ear feels like someone sanded the inside of it -- that was me, twisting these to try to stuff them into my ears. Ouch.

Step 2: Remove Useless Foam Covers

The ear buds are hard plastic covered by a millimeter thin layer of stretchy foam. This foam acted like sandpaper on the inside of my ears. So just pinch them and pull them off. (The foam things, not my ears, please.)

Step 3: Get Some Jabra Ear-Gels

Jabra sells some great hands-free sets for cell phones. Mine is very comfortable, which gave me an idea. Buy a set of replacement gels. The medium ones fit me pretty well.

Step 4: Pick a Pair

The ear gels have 'left' and 'right' imprinted on the inside. You probably want one of each. They're somewhat flexible, though they'll hold their shape. The little hooks loop over one of those cute folds on your ears to hold them in.

Step 5: Insert Buds Into Gels

The gels are stretchy enough that they're pretty easy to pull over the ear buds where the foam covers were originally. I highly recommend matching up the 'left' ear bud to the gel marked 'left', and similarly the 'right' bud to the 'right' gel. Otherwise, you'll have to remove and swap your ears.

Step 6: Insert Gelled Buds Into Ears

Insert the now gelled buds into the appropriate ears and twist. (The gelled buds, not your ears.) The little hook will, well, hook over the fold in your ear.

These are much more comfortable this way, and as an added bonus I can actually hear my music better -- I had to lower the volume on the MP3 player after I did this because it was so much louder than the ill-fitting ear buds were.

I wish I'd thought of this before.



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    20 Discussions


    3 years ago

    can u tell me issues with earbuds


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I discovered this trick not long after I got my 1st iPod.
    I cut the centers out of the EarGels so that it's just a sleeve around the earbud, leaving the speaker area uncovered. To me, it sounded MUCH better than listening through the small hole in the EarGels.


    9 years ago on Step 6

    Nice Instructable.
    Your observation about ill fitting ear buds is absolutely true, but the most important change when the earphone is well coupled to the ear canal, is that the deep bass becomes audible, more than a volume raise.

    Could anyone publish an Instructable on how to make a personalized custom built molds of ones ear canal, like those used by audiologist adapted auditory auxiliars?


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I thought they rested with the wire going through the groove on our ears


    12 years ago

    What kind of headphones are those because I bought some and they don't fit my ipod's headphones.

    2 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    The Jabra ear gels work great on my iPod headphones. Keeps them in my ears where nothing else will, and adds much better audio response through improved sound isolation.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    the 1st picture looks as though your sick!! or an alien but I have this prob. and will do this tutorial! Thanks!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I believe that the term "in ear" headphones/earphones actually refers to ones that fit in with gel (like in your instructable) or foam. They're designed to fit in your ear, without being uncomfortable. The general term for all the small head phones is just "ear phones". The in-ear earphones tend to be much better quality, and you can usually hear more bass frequencies. I didn't know there were adapters for the crappy ones - thanks :)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    This is a really great idea. My kids bought me a pair of really expensive monitor buds and they never fit correctly. Now they do.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    wanna send me your extras since you just use the mediums? yeah.... you do....


    12 years ago on Step 5

    i did it wrong - can you post an instructable on how to swap ears?