If you’re looking to swap out your current earbuds for a new model, you might be a little overwhelmed by all the products vying for your attention. There are wired earphones, wireless earbuds, true wireless earbuds and even custom-molded in-ear monitors. With so many different brands, styles and technologies out there, it can be challenging to focus in on the earbud features that you should prioritize. After all, shiny new in-ear headphones aren’t worth your time or money if they don’t deliver exceptional listening experiences—which are what we specialize in here at Hearing Components.
For over 28 years, our team has been developing top-end audio accessories that refine and improve listening experiences, such as our Comply™ Foam earbud tips. Above all else, we’re passionate about empowering in-ear headphone users with the resources and knowledge they need to enjoy their audio to the fullest. That’s why we’ll be taking a few minutes today to discuss which core features you should look at when buying new earbuds.
Even the best earbuds aren’t worth their salt if they feel unpleasant in your ears. However, comfort can be largely subjective. For example, you might prefer earbuds that just barely rest in your outer ears because you don’t like the feeling of models that slot into your ear canal. That’s why we highly recommend trying on the earbuds you’re interested in before you commit to buying them. One of the most important “comfort aspects” of earbuds is the materials their tips are made of. Many models utilize silicone eartips that wear on your ears and cause discomfort after about an hour of use. Others make use of foam earbud tips, which can be 30x softer than traditional silicone! The softer the tips are, the more comfortable they’ll be for most people.
Eartip size is another essential comfort aspect of in-ear headphones. Tips that are too large will feel way too snug and could hurt your ears over time, and tips that are too small won’t feel right either. Luckily, many earphones can have their tips swapped out (allowing you to move up or down a size if needed), but this doesn’t apply to every product out there. That’s another reason why we advise you to try on the products you’re considering to make sure they line up well with your ear size. When in doubt, go with earbuds that have multiple tip sizes available. That’ll act as a great safety net if you run into sizing issues down the road.
2. Sound Isolation
If you want to enjoy the full range of your audio, you’ll need a product with excellent sound isolation. Earbuds that isolate sound well will ensure all of the audio reaches your ears while keeping most of that disruptive exterior noise out. Sound isolation is essential if you’re going to use your earbuds in particularly loud environments, whether those are gyms, buses or concert venues. The secret behind sound isolation is the quality of your earbud model’s seal. A proper seal will shut out all those distracting external sounds while delivering the full range of your interior audio. This is where products that rest inside your ear canal (as opposed to just your outer ear) really shine. These models create a snug seal that won’t leak audio or allow external sound in.
Both the shape and material of earbud tips play a pivotal role in their capacity to isolate sound. Products with thicker tips grant superior sound reduction, which is why many audio enthusiasts invest in foam earbud tips. Bullet-shaped tips also enhance an earbud’s level of sound isolation by providing a better seal around the ear canal. If the earbuds you’re eying don’t offer isolation capabilities out of the gate, then see if they can be outfitted with sound-isolating tips.
We’d be remiss not to mention the importance of choosing earbuds with robust audio quality. The good news is that earbuds naturally offer high sound quality because they seal the entrance of your ear and sit closer to its eardrum, delivering authentic, crisp audio directly to you without leaking bass. However, it’s important to note that different earbuds mix audio frequencies differently. For example, Beats earbuds tend to crank up low-end frequencies, which makes them a great choice for users who love bass. Other audio enthusiasts (audiophiles) prefer a more balanced mix of frequencies to maximize sound accuracy.
There’s no “perfect” mix when it comes to audio. Finding the right sound balance depends largely on the types of music you enjoy and your personal preferences. If possible, we recommend trying out different types of headphones at the store to determine which ones pair best with your favorite tracks. Audio trade shows are another fantastic way to sample earbuds. Barring those options, look at as many reviews as you can for the earbud models you’re considering. That should give you a pretty good idea of how they balance frequencies.
4. In-Ear Grip
An earbud’s grip determines how effectively it will stay in your ear during listening sessions. If you just like to enjoy your audio while sitting or laying down, then you won’t have to worry too much about grip quality. But if you’re planning on walking, running or playing with your buds in tow, earbud grip is paramount. It’s the difference between an inspiring workout or jam session and one that’s constantly interrupted by tips that just won’t stay in. Put simply, if you want your future buds to provide consistent and uninterrupted listening experiences, you need to prioritize products with solid grip.
Your earbud model’s tips have the biggest influence on its grip strength. For example, our Compy™ Sport tips are designed specifically for active listeners, leveraging memory foam technology to deliver twice the grip strength of silicone products. However, it’s important to note that you don’t need high-quality tips to improve the grip of your earbuds. Many users will wrap their earbuds over their ears to keep them from falling out. You can also try buying earbud hooks, or make your own using twist ties!
Contact Hearing Components Today
Interested in learning more about what you should look for when buying new earbuds? Then feel free to call or message Hearing Components. We’d be more than happy to offer any additional support you need to find the best earbuds possible for your specific wants and needs. Also, be sure to contact us if you’d like to learn more about our selection of leading-edge foam earbud tips. We look forward to hearing from you soon!