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What to look for when buying the right ear tips?
It is a question with no easy answer.
Deciding how to choose the right ear tips is like picking a needle out of a haystack. There are so many options in the market, but only a few of them are actually worth their price tags. Fortunately, though, there are some rules of thumb following which we can land the best ear tips. And to make you aware of the same rules, this article comes into play.
Styles of Ear Tips
Before we tell you how to choose the right ear tips, it is crucial for you to know about the different styles in which they come. Only then could you make an informed decision.
All those ear tips which you’ve been using over the years are single flange. Still, to refresh your memory, these ear tips create a seal using a single piece of silicone. They come in different types, with different factors including material density, shape, and thickness separating one type from the other.
If your heart is set on single flange ear tips, you might want one which is extremely dense. For, it would provide a higher level of bass and more noise isolation. As for the thickness, too soft ear tips can get into your ear canal. Too hard, on the other hand, might become uncomfortable. What you should want, therefore, is a hybrid version of the two.
As their name suggests, bi-flange ear-tips have two flanges – larger one at the bottom and smaller one at the top. Their main advantage over single-flange ear tips comes due to their shape. For, since they have two flanges, they create a better seal against your ear.
However, that is not to say that everything is good and merry about them. Their lack of fame severely reduces the options of bi-flange ear tips. That means that getting a one which suits your ear size won’t be easy.
Triple-flange ear tips have three different sized ear tips placed over each other in ascending order. The smallest tip is at the top, the second largest in the middle, and the largest at the bottom. Due to their bigger size, they provide more isolation than any other ear tip.
The bigger size of these ear tips acts as a double-edged sword. Where at one end it lets them achieve a single fit, it also makes them prone to bending, on the other. The result of their bending, as you might guess, is muffled sound.
In stark contrast to other types of ear tips, wingtips aren’t used separately. Instead, most workout enthusiasts use them as an add-on to silicone ear tips. As a result of this, they are also known as workout earbuds.
One of the main advantages of wingtips is the secure fit they provide. They do the same by prolonging the length of silicone ear tips to which they adjoin. The increase in length, however, also makes them prone to bending like triple-flange ear tips.
Custom-fit Ear Tips
For those of you who can afford to pay over the odds, there’s nothing better than custom-fit ear tips. Molded to the shape of your ears, they provide the best fit, highest noise isolation and extreme level of comfort.
That said, there’s one problem with custom fit ear tips; they cost a lot. So, unless you have money to burn, you might not like the option of custom-fit ear tips.
Types of Ear Tip Materials
No other feature of an ear tip plays as crucial a part in the comfort level that it would provide as its material. Therefore, it is imperative that we discuss the same here.
Rubber Ear Tips
Since rubber is the hardest tip material, it tends to last the longest. However, while they do have an unlimited shelf life, rubber tips also tend to be least comfortable. Also, if you have suffered from skin allergies in the past, contact with rubber might unleash the same once again.
Consequently, if you ask us, we’d never recommend rubber ear tips to their materials. It is for this reason that you should turn your attention to the next item on our list.
Silicone Ear Tips
Regardless of which earbud you purchase from the market, it is likely to have come with silicone ear tips. They have become so ubiquitous that most people don’t even know that the other two types even exist. Also, unlike rubber, they are extremely unlikely to cause skin irritation.
On the flip side, noise-isolation isn’t something silicone ear tips can boast of. While they do last long, they can get slippery with the accumulation of sweat. Therefore, if you ask us, we won’t recommend them if you’re going to use them for exercise.
Foam Ear Tips
Due to their ability to conform to the shape of your ear canal, foam ear tips are the most comfortable. Their ability to conform to your ear canal’s shape allows foam ear tips to create the perfect seal. Also, the noise isolation that they provide is unrivaled.
One problem which a small portion of foam ear tips’ users has noted about them is the presence of “funneling” effect. That is, these ear tips provide increased bass and decreased high at maximum volumes. Still, despite these shortcomings, the sound quality of foam ear tips is unrivaled.
Things to Consider When Buying Ear Tips
Now that you have become aware of the anatomy of ear tips, it’s time we turn our attention to the focus of this article. Remember, all the below-mentioned factors were chosen after hours of research. So, provided you follow our advice, you won’t rue it.
Comfort and Fit
There’s no better way to ensure that a particular tip is comfortable and fits your ear perfectly than simply wearing it. For, each of us has unique ears and different sizes of the ear canal. Therefore, if you want to decide whether an ear fit is comfortable or not, wear it.
In case you are wondering, the reason we want you to try ear tips for yourself lies in science. All of us have ear canals with different curvatures and varying shape of cylinders. For instance, if you have deep ear canal, trying an ear tip which is designed for shallow ear canal would cause excruciating pain.
Of the three types of ear tips we discussed above – silicone, rubber, and foam – silicone lasts the longest. Rubber ear tips, despite having a considerable shelf life, aren’t fit for human use due to the danger they pose in the shape of skin allergies. Foam ear tips, meanwhile, wear out with time.
Still, the fact that foam ear tips have a low shelf life doesn’t mean they would wear out within days. Instead, provided you handle them with care – clean hands and ears – they will last longer. Also, if you want your foam ear tip to last longer, clean it once a week with nothing but water.
To understand what we mean when we say compatibility, do one thing. Take out your earbud, remove their ear tips, and look closely at the earbud-nozzle diameter. Now, do the same procedure to a different set of earbuds.
What have you noted? That’s right, there’s no universal standard when it comes to earbud-nozzle diameter. While some of them tend to be narrow to fit similarly sized ear canals, there are others which tend to be deeper.
Hence the reason we are talking about compatibility. Before you buy any ear tip, do some research. Check out the size of your ear canal and decide whether shallow or deep ear tips will suit it. Only then should you make the purchase.
How to Insert Ear tips Properly?
According to the Center for Disease Control CDC, you need to follow the following steps to insert your ear tips properly.
Using two fingers and a thumb, roll the earplug into a small shape in your hand. You can also use both hands for this purpose.
Use your right hand to pull the top of your left ear up. While you’ve rolled it up, use the left hand to slide the rolled-up earplug right into your ear.
Once you have inserted the earplug into your ear, hold it right there with your finger. Count to 40 and wait for the plug to expand and conform to the shape of your ear canal. If at the end of your count your voice sounds muffled, it means your earplug has achieved a good seal. Now, repeat steps 2 and 3 with your other ear.
Next time anybody seeks your advice on what to look for when buying right ear tips, refer them to this article. Apart from telling you the factors which separate the best ear tips from the riffraff, we have also touched upon the various styles and types of ear tips. Therefore, provided you genuinely want to learn more about ear tips, this article has got you covered.