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How to Get In-Ear Headphones to Fit Properly

by on April 04, 2014
in Phones and Mobile, Headphones, Music and Video, Tips & How-Tos, Tech 101 :: 7 comments

woman wearing in-ear headphonesEven the best in-ear headphones, or earphones, can sound awful and quickly become uncomfortable if they're too loose, too tight or aren't seated well in your ear. So get the most out of your earphones by following these tips to getting the proper fit.

Size Matters

The key to a proper earphone fit is using the right size ear tip. So try the various sizes of foam and silicon tips that come with your earphones. Foam tips are more forgiving for size differences, so are a good option for hard-to-fit ears. If your earphones don't come with foam tips, look for compatible tips from a quality manufacturer like Comply

Also, one ear may be slightly larger than the other, so you may need to use a different size tip for each ear.

Seat the eartip firmly

To get the best sound, you need to seal your ear canal with the eartip. So simply pushing an eartip into your ear often isn't enough to create a proper seal. Try gently pulling on the outer rim of your ear to ease the tip into a comfortable position. You should notice a drop in ambient noise when the tip is seated correctly. And when you're listening to music, you'll notice more range, especially bass.

woman wearing earphoneSecure the tip for sports

Getting headphones for working out to fit well is particularly tricky. The constant pulling on the eartip as you move can loosen even well-inserted eartips.

Try looping the cable that connects them behind your head and around the top of each ear. For eartips that are angled to fit in the ear canal, place the side marked “L” in your right ear and the side marked “R” in your left ear. Some headphones, like those made by Shure are designed to be worn this way, so check before swapping sides.


Earbudi Clips

Make sure to use any stabilizers that may have come packed with the earphones. These plastic pieces basically wedge the eartip into place to keep it from wiggling as you move. You can also try a generic stabilizer, like the BudLocks Earphone Sport Grips ($14.95 on Amazon). And for Apple Earpods, there are Earbudi Clips ear hooks ($9.99 on Amazon) you can attach to help them stay in place.

If your earphones come with eartips that have double or triple flanges, you may find they stay put better than the regular tips. Check to see if your earphone manufacturer has additional tip packs for purchase.

You can also try anchoring the headphone cable to your shirt with a clothing clip so it doesn't flop around as much. If your earphones don't come with one, you can pick one up for a few dollars on Amazon.

Need a new pair of headphones? Check our our guides to the best in-ear headphones, the best sports headphones, the best noise-cancelling headphones and the best Bluetooth headphones.

Updated on 4/4/2014

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Discussion loading


Just received an iPhone 5

From Dot on February 15, 2013 :: 12:07 pm

Just received an iPhone 5 ans actually hate the earphone that came with it. They hurt my ears sooo much, I needed to go back to my older pair.

Do you know of any way, I can do anything with them so I can wear them?



For a more comfortable fit,

From Suzanne Kantra on April 04, 2014 :: 1:51 am

For a more comfortable fit, you can try the EarSkinz EarPod Covers ($10.95 on Amazon). I’ve used the version for the EarBuds and the thin plastic cover is soft and comfortable.



Mine hurt my ears too

From Matt on May 06, 2014 :: 8:08 am

Make sure that they are in the right ears, for me that was the problems



Thanks ... very helpful

From Mark Trencher on April 04, 2014 :: 10:41 am

Thanks, Suzanne. I just ordered the Earbudi clips; they sound like exactly what I need. Keep uo the good work.—Mark



muito bom

From mauro on April 04, 2014 :: 12:37 pm

onde posso comprara esse fone de ouvido



other options

From teejayeff on April 04, 2014 :: 12:53 pm

Check instructables or for some ideas on making a custom-fit pair using your buds and some surgical-grade silicone. There’s also a tip for using a single small bead of silicone in the cup area of earbuds that already fit; this creates a semi-custom fit for you, seals against noise relatively well, and don’t flex around much.

My best fit so far is with the Bose earbuds, not cheap though. These have a fitting just like the BudLocks, helping keep them in place and still very comfortable.



Clip is the best way

From Imran Hunzai on November 24, 2014 :: 4:59 am

Clip is the best way if buds don’t settle.


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