“ Brand: Burton Technologies „
No, I don't mean for ears that are different on each side, although most of us have ears that are not symmetrical, just as many of us have one side of the face that isn't a mirror image of the other. In my case, though, I do have different ear passages, due to a cycle accident I had years ago, when I fractured my skull.
However, in my case it is the shape of the ear lobes that is the problem: I just don't have adequate support for the standard style of earbuds; they simply fall out. In the past I have tried various solutions, including a kit of two putty-like materials which, mixed together and inserted into the ear, mould to its shape, and set, such that earbuds could be fitted to the moulding to keep them securely in place. Sadly, that kit no longer seems to be available, nor does the substance continue to work after about a year or so.
Mostly I use a pair of Koss earphones that are of the type that fit inside the ear passage. They work well for most purposes. However, the earphones supplied with my mobile phone also include a microphone for making calls. They have the standard earbuds and so I would either have to buy a replacement headset with in-ear earphones or else find a solution that would keep them in place.
Eventually, after trawling the Web for some time, I came across the Acoustibud, manufactured in the US by a company called Burton Technologies. They seemed to exactly fit the bill.
A pack of Acoustibuds containing three pairs of different sized pairs cost me $15 (£10). You can't buy them in the UK as Burton has no UK based suppliers, not even Amazon! I got mine from an outfit called Aerostitch, who specialise in items for bikers. They market Acoustibuds as a ideal for earphones to be worn inside a crash helmet. They took about a week to arrive from the US and arrived in a cardboard box far bigger than the item it contained!!!
Acoustibuds are made of a very soft rubber and can be obtained in black or white; I bought a white set. The difference in size of each set relates to the width of the five rings that surround the ear canal tube, which secure the earbud in place in your ear. I found that of the three sizes, both the medium and largest sizes would work for me.
Each Acoustibud is fitted to the Earbud simply by stretching the cup over the earpiece. They will fit all of the standard diameter earbuds, including the slightly larger Apple ones. Make sure you first check in which direction your ear canal enters your head so as to make sure that you fit the Acoustibud facing in the same direction. Inserting the whole assembly into your ear may require a little bit of screwing motion but once in place I found that they stayed securely attached. They also felt very comfortable.
A warning note comes attached to the packet reminding users that the Acoustibuds completely seal the ear from outside noise. This has implications both for maximum recommended volume and also for the ability to hear noises from the environment. This is most important for riders on the road, regarding awareness of surrounding traffic, so, be warned!
In use I found the Acoustibuds to provide good communication of sound from the attached earbuds. They also seemed to be secure from being dislodged during normal use. I am very happy with this purchase and consider them good value for money. Only time will tell regarding their durability.