Super-silent In-ear Upgrade


Introduction: Super-silent In-ear Upgrade

silencing the sony headphones to be in-ear and improve bass

Step 1: Find Some Earplugs

a while ago i was looking around waiting to watch MI:3, and I saw these ear-plugs for swimming, so i figured i could upgrade my sony headphones.

For this project you will need:

Silicon or rubber swimming earplugs (not foam)
in-ear headphones
1 pin
1 nail
1 drill bit (thinner than the in-ear end)
1 drill bit (thinner that the outer end, and thinner than the headphone end)

These appealed to me because I had seen headphones with a similar shape, but cost 4 times a much as my sony headphones. They were HK$58 (about US$7.50), and are made of silicon, which allows them to keep they're shape and yet can easily form a seal in your ear. When buying some plugs, make sure that the outer end of the plugs can either stretch, or be fitted to your headphones.

Step 2: Make Guide Holes

First, use the pin to make some guide holes through the middle of the plug, length-ways. Do this for both plugs, taking care not to poke the pin out of the side. Next, expand the hole using the small nail. This should hopefully act as a guide for drilling.

Step 3: Drill the Holes

To drill the holes, use a small (1/16th?) drill bit and a low RPM. Hold on to the entire plug, to prevent it spinning out of control or twisting too much. Also, lightly squeze the the plug to allow the drill to remove some of the silicon. This should create a small 'tunnel' through the plug.

Step 4: Prepare the End

Now, use the larger drill bit (1/8?) to enlarge the hole at the end of the plug. This hole should be only slightly smaller than the one on the headphone. After this, stretch the end over the headphone piece, and it should sit tightly, as well as form a seal so that no sound gets out.

Step 5: Listen in Bliss!

The difference in sound quality was remarkable. Not only was the bass significantly improved, but my brother shouted from the room next to me and i couldn't hear a thing. He then came in to my room and started talking to me. I didn't know he was there until he kicked my chair. :D



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    17 Discussions


    1 year ago


    A company called Peltor makes these with a hollow core so no drilling is needed. They are about $2 a pair. I ordered mine from here:

    They make them for military / industrial comm equipment in loud environments.  I have a pair and they are great.  The drawback is that you have to buy them in bulk.  It may however be easier to find a couple of friend to go in in these than tear up 4 pairs learning to drill silicone.  The path for the sound is uniform in both ears as well.  I would second the idea of clipping the smallest flange for comfort. 

    Just a little update for you all (granted, it's been 3 years since this post):

    As much as I loved these plugs they broke about 2 months after I made them. As they were made from two different pieces of silicon, the drilling caused some tearing along the join which eventually broke down. For those who are states-side I've just redone these with a pair of Earplanes (available in most airports and pretty much anywhere they sell ear plugs, They're about US$6, and while they're not as comfortable as the pair in the post, they are much easier to work with as they have holes running through them already. All I had to do was use a pin to push out the small plastic plug that sealed the hole, and then stretch them over my headphones. The sound quality is fantastic, and I can't even hear myself type this (with a little Ratatat playing to help cover up the sound, of course).

    I use to work at an automotive company which required us to wear ear plugs. Some some of the guys and I did this exact same thing with the ear plugs they gave us except we'd heat the auto feed wire from a mig welder and use it to burn a hole clean through them, much faster lol. They do work extremely well though, I kept a few pairs for my personal use ;)

    LOL! i made something like this when i was a kid, some years ago. The best headphones I've ever had!

    Those look dangerous, they go really deep in...

    Nice instructable... Thought I should mention that you're supposed to snip off the seals that are too small for your ear when using that type of ear plug. Otherwise the smaller ones (which aren't contributing to any noise reduction, as they're not touching the outside of your ear canal) can damage your eardrum. This is because they're often pushed down deep into your ear, as a result of people with larger ear canals trying to get the largest rim to seal. Should I post a 'how to use earplugs' instructable? I'm a sound engineer, and I keep seeing people using earplugs in ways that aren't just wrong (in the sense that they don't work as they should), but potentially damaging to hearing.

    I did something very similar, except instead of drilling I used a pair of pliers to hold a large gauge needle while I heated it red hot on the stove. Then just push the needle through the ear plug. Works great.

    I've found with these earphones that putting them in 'upside down' means that they go in further. You get lots more bottom end and better sound insulation. You can then loop the cables over your ears which helps stop them getting pulled out when you're out and about. I might still give this project a go though.

    Just though I'd let people know that the earphones in the tutorial are Sony EX71 in white. In my opinion, the earphones do a good enough job at keeping outside noise out and they sound excellent.

    Cool mod, can't wait to try this out! Found a supplier for the earplugs at if anyone's interested. Can't vouch for them, but hey....

    SWEET! I just need to find a pair like that :D


    12 years ago

    Sweet! This is also a much better and cheaper solution for replacing lost rubber thingies then buying them direct from Sony for $30 bucks! Those B@$#&DS;!!!

    I know a little Japanese so I'll try to translate as much as possible. The name of this product is "Ear Holiday," the bullet indicated by padfoot roughly translates to "for swimming," the one to the right reads "for shower," and the two below: "for marine sports" and "for travel."