Earbuds make it easy to listen to music and stream videos without disturbing other people or taking calls when both your hands are occupied. You can find people wearing earbuds everywhere you look. Perhaps you may be one of the many people who wear earbuds while commuting to work, exercising at the gym, studying in the library, or strolling in the city.
Compared to headphones and headsets, earbuds are more comfortable to wear and won’t clamp your head when you have them on for hours at a time. Earbuds are also not bulky at all. You can keep them inside your pocket when you’re done using them.
But sometimes, keeping earbuds in while you’re running or moving about can be a struggle. If you have been wearing buds for a while, you know how annoying it is every time one or both pieces won’t stay in your ear when you suddenly move or shift position. Sometimes, even the slightest movement makes your earbuds fall out. That’s a huge hassle and annoyance. Not only does it pull you from the moment, but you risk damaging or losing your listening gear and whatever they’re connected to.
In this article, we’ll go over some tips to help you make sure your earbuds stay snug in your ear. We’ll cover ways you can make your earbuds fit better, as well as attachments you can use to hold them in place.
So, How Can You Keep Your Earbuds In?
Every ear is different, so you should try some different earbud brands to find the best fit for your ear canal. Choose an earbud made for how you will wear and use your listening device (if you want to wear them working out, go for tech made for that purpose). You can also use hooks to hold them in place in your ears, or even find a comfortable headband or ear warmer to cover your ears and keep your earbuds in place.
The best way to keep your earbuds in will depend on why they keep falling out – let’s look at some of the most common reasons for this issue as a way to guide you toward a solution.
Why Do Your Earbuds Keep Falling Out?
There are a few reasons why your earbuds may keep falling out of your ears. These include:
- Your ear canal or ear opening is a unique shape, and may be different from what companies consider “standard.”
- Every brand and manufacturer has a different style earbud – what works well for your friend may not work as well for you.
- Earwax build-up could be a problem.
- If your ears are located close to your jaw, it may be more challenging to keep your earbuds in.
- Ear Cartilage Deficiency Syndrome.
- User Error (you may just be wearing them incorrectly!).
- You could have the wrong type of earbuds for your activity (some are made for exercise, some are not).
Below I’ll dive into each of these reasons your earbuds may be falling out and what you can do about it.
Not everyone’s outer ears or ear canal openings are the same shape and size
Just like most items sold on the market, earbuds are designed to be a one-size-fits-all product that can cater to the majority of the population. There is also a standard ear canal size that applies to most people.
However, ear canal size and shape differs from person to person. Standard issue earbuds may fit perfectly on some people. Other people’s ears won’t be able to fit them. Since these listening devices are not one-sized-fits-all, it can be a challenge for some to find buds that fit.
If your ear canal opening is smaller than the standard size, your earbuds might not go deep enough into the ear canal. But, if your ear canal size is wider than the universal size, the earbuds won’t have sufficient support to sit on.
Different brands have their own earbud styles
Earbud manufacturers release earbuds in different styles and sizes. Here, a little trial-and-error will help to figure out which brand, style, and size work for you.
On the upside, brands are catching on to the dilemma their buyers face. They have included attachments, like domes or ear tips. These tips are typically cylindrical, come in different sizes, and are made from rubber or foam. They go deeper into the ear canal, similar to how earplugs function.
There is too much earwax buildup
Earwax buildup in the inner ear is natural. Earwax traps dirt and dust, which prevents them from reaching the inner ear, especially the eardrum. It also produces moisture and contains chemicals that fight infection.
However, if there’s too much earwax buildup in the ear, it can produce excess oil. This causes the ear canal to become slippery and the earbuds to fall out often. Excess earwax may also take too much room in your ear so the earbuds won’t push in.
The distance of the ears to the jaw may affect how earbuds fit
Your ears lie behind temporomandibular joints (TMJ), which are on each side of your skull. The closer your ears are to your jaw, the closer they are to the TMJ.
The primary function of the TMJ is to act as hinges, allowing you to talk, chew, and swallow. Each time these joints move, they alter the size and shape of your ear canal and cause earbuds to pop out.
People with Ear Cartilage Deficiency Syndrome make it easier for earbuds to fall out
The Ear Cartilage Deficiency Syndrome is a natural condition. People with this condition lack the antitragus, the inner cartilage of the earlobe that surrounds the earbud.
If you have Ear Cartilage Deficiency Syndrome, your ears may be too small to support standard earbuds. As an alternative, you can use earbuds with hooks or headphones.
Earbuds are not worn properly
Sometimes, rather than fit, the issue lies in whether the earbuds are in the correct position inside the ear canal or not. Earbuds are molded to fit either the right or left side of the ear. Wearing earbuds on the wrong side not only makes them prone to falling out from the ears, but also makes them uncomfortable over long periods.
Your earbuds may not be suitable for the type of activity you’re doing
Vigorous activities especially exercises like running, yoga, boxing, or martial arts, involve sudden jolts, too much movement, or intricate poses. Not all earbuds, like those with cords, can withstand these types of activities. They are more prone to falling out, even if you adjust them repeatedly.
Why Should Proper Earbud Fit Matter?
Earbuds that fit well won’t fall out from your ears easily. However, the benefit of well-fitted earbuds doesn’t end there. Below are other reasons earbuds fit matters.
- Better listening experience – less bass and no tinny or hollow sound.
- Blocks feedback and outside noise.
- Prevents noise-induced hearing loss.
- Ensures comfort even when worn for hours.
- Prevents soreness and irritation.
How Can You Stop Earbuds from Falling Out?
Here are some tips to consider, whether you’re having issues in preventing your earbuds from popping out or if you’re planning to purchase a fresh pair soon.
Wear earbuds the right way
Wearing your earbuds correctly is the most practical way to ensure that they stay put in your ears. You can do this in three quick steps.
- Step 1: Check for the “L” and “R” mark on each earbud.
- Step 2: Place the earbud on each ear accordingly.
- Adjust each earbud until it fits comfortably in either ear.
Following the above steps may look petty or straightforward, but they are easy to overlook, especially if you are busy.
Stretch your earlobes to open up more space for the earbuds to fit in
To do this, pull the top of your earlobe with your fingers to further open up your ear’s opening, then place the earbud in your ear. Once you feel the earbud is securely in place, release the ear. Again, this hack may look simple, but doing this enables the ear canal to form a tight seal around the earbuds.
Make use of the accessories available
Most earbud brands include attachments that help them stay put inside your ears. Ear hooks, for example, attach the earbuds over and behind your ears.
Some earbud brands also come with ear covers or tips made from either silicone or rubber. These materials are waterproof, so they can hold on to your ears even if you sweat or if you wear them when under a slight drizzle. However, do note that they may come in several sizes, so try them all out and pick the ones which are neither too loose nor too tight when worn.
If the accessories included don’t fit well, you can try buying custom-built accessories from your local store. There are plenty of options on the market, and some are designed for smaller ears. You can also check for accessories on the web. However, going to a physical store is advisable for you to fit them in person.
If cord tugging is the issue, buy wireless or Bluetooth
Wireless may be more costly than standard earbuds, but they are a worthwhile investment. They won’t get caught up in objects, or you won’t worry about them being tugged or pulled.
Avoid using cotton swabs or Q-Tips for cleaning your ears
As mentioned above, earwax buildup can cause your buds to fall out. Using cotton swabs or Q-Tips may seem hygienic, but keep in mind that they can push the earwax further inside your ear, toward your eardrum, instead of removing it. This may result in earwax blockage and discomfort.
If you feel there is earwax blockage in your ear, you may need to see an ear specialist to perform safe and professional earwax irrigation on your ears.
Wear ear warmers
Wearing ear warmers over your earbuds is another practical solution for keeping them in. Not only do ear warmers hold earbuds in place, but they also provide protection if you want to go running during the colder seasons.
Choose ear warmers that are not too tight, so they will stay comfortable even if you have larger buds in.
Finding the earbuds that perfectly fit your ear size and shape can be a challenge at first. With these tips in mind and a little experimenting, you’ll soon find the ones that will stick with you through thick and thin.