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If you have some kind of birth defect in either of your ears (or both), for the love of everything you hold dear do not try to buy in-ear earphones. Well, you can buy them, but never ever try to use them. Why not? Untold agony, immense suffering, that kind of thing. You’ll never forgive yourself. Take it from someone who learnt the hard way.



  1. How frustrating! Are there any decent options? I have another friend who is unable to use the in-ear earphones and her reaction was to consider throwing her brand new iPod away in a fit of pique. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

  2. I don’t think there are any real solutions. Maybe some brands make smaller earphones than others, but that would require buying another set (and establishing that set #2 does, indeed, fit — preferably before buying). If she was buying another set anyway, it might be safer to get a regular kind that can’t not fit. There are hybrids around too (here’s a review of one) but I don’t know how well those compare nor where to get them.

    Depending on the size differential (and perhaps the brand) it might even be worthwhile just to keep trying. I did find some pointers on how to get the things in more effectively, and ears do sort of adjust to accommodate if you make them. The earphone troubling me is now staying in for about two minutes before falling out, while initially it wouldn’t get in in the first place. (It’s not a painful procedure any more, either.) Obviously that only works if the difference is really small, though.

  3. Thanks for that. I’ve spoken to her, and she has issues with even the standard comes-with-the-iPod ‘phones! I think she’s going to have to look at some old-school over-the-ears headphones. She’ll look… retro, I guess!

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