Update: I just sucked it up and used the tiniest tip. It was never particularly comfortable but I got used to it. Used them for a couple years for running. They broke (accidentally snapped a bud in half removing it from the charger) and now I use a pair of over ear headphones and I love them. I use the Kinivo 240 (https://www.amazon.com/Kinivo-BTH240-Bluetooth-Stereo-Headphone/dp/B00AWIPITS), if I wanted to spend a little more I'd get the 66 Audio BTS (https://www.amazon.com/66-Audio-592-91466-AUDIO-Headphones/dp/B01M8M4R7K)

I must have tiny ears (or tiny earholes?) so whenever I try to use a pair of "in-ear" (here) headphones, it is a painful experience. The silicon tips feel too big for my ear, even when using the smallest type in a set. When I do manage to cram it in my ear, the way that they close off my ear canal is disconcerting, similar to how your head feels stuffed up when you fly on an airplane.

I recently received a very nice pair of in ear headphones (powerbeats 2 wireless - like these) so I am wondering is there anything I can do to make wearing them more comfortable? The best solution would be one that makes them wear more like earbuds.

  • 1
    I have a similar physiological situation. Ear canals too narrow for commercial in-ear phones. Visit an audiologist (hearing specialist) for their take and possible remedy. They are not expensive as far as a medical specialist is concerned.
    – Stan
    Jul 25, 2018 at 15:15

4 Answers 4


Have you tried 3rd party memory foam tips like the ones from Comply? Also try in-ears with thinner nozzles and smaller driver housings, the Powerbeats2 nozzles look quite big.

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There are a few other companies making 3rd party tips for in-ears (including compatibility charts) and hearing protection. One of them should have enough expertise and a solution that works for you. The downside on foam tips though is that they will get worn out at some point.

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The Phonak Audéo PFE 1xx series had thin nozzles, a very slim driver housing and also came with a pair of Comply tips (medium size, but Comply also has smaller sizes and different shapes). Unfortunately Phonak decided to shut down its IEM business.

Another alternative to look into are custom IEMs, which are expensive and usually bulky, but made to fit your ear. You should try to find out if the discomfort you are feeling is also related to the weight and size of the driver housing. My very cheap QCY QY7 look very awkward and heavy, but in the right position with foam tips I can wear them for a very long time with only negligible fatigue.


I had the same issue for a very long time, and then I got these below. Their trick is likely to be that they use your whole ear to support their weight, hence the pressure is distributed, so it is not painful at all. They come in 3 sizes, maybe it worth a try.

Bose QC20

  • Do you have a link to the product page?
    – chiliNUT
    Jan 28, 2016 at 21:02
  • bose.com/products/headphones/earphones/… - mind that there is the Android and the iPhone version (because of the mic - yes, they can be used as phone headsets too :)
    – sfThomas
    Jan 28, 2016 at 21:04
  • Thanks, but that looks like I'd have to get a new set of headphones. I'm trying to figure out how to make my current pair usable, not get a new one
    – chiliNUT
    Jan 28, 2016 at 21:15

When the standard tips don't fit your ears, go to a hearing aid specialist and have a set of custom tips fitted. They will make a mould of your inner ear and use that to create tips that fit exactly.

As an added bonus, these are a much snugger fit so they don't run the risk of falling out.


I would prefer you to apply some oil(hair oil) around the corners of the headphone so that it could easily fit into your ear and at the same time, it could not make discomfort. If you are not satisfied with this solution, you can opt for 3rd party tips as my friend has suggested here.

Another beautiful option is to immerse the part of headset going into our ear in baby powder(talc). This can reduce the friction between the earpiece of the headset and ear.

  • I appreciate the answer, but if I have to lube up my headphones before use, I am not going to use those headphones. But regardless, it seems like that would help ease them into my ear, but would still be uncomfortable while they were in
    – chiliNUT
    Jan 28, 2016 at 21:02
  • @chiliNUT Thanks and I have edited my answer for you Jul 22, 2018 at 14:07
  • If you reduce friction, the earphone will fall out.
    – Hobbes
    Oct 4, 2020 at 10:19
  • @hobbes: yes, too much lubricant will reduce the friction and ultimately, drop you earphone. The proportion has to be optimum as you can logically think of. Oct 4, 2020 at 10:30

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