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I recently bought a pair of Sennheiser cx-180 earphones and I am having a hard time removing the rubber earbuds and changing it as my fingers keep slipping off.

Any ideas on what to do? (wrapping a cloth around it doesn't seem to do much good)

P.S. This is not a standard how to remove something question as I am looking for ways to do it without damaging the rubber earbuds or altering its shape.

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Please try the methods below and in this order:

Method 1: Most of the time, it will work best to get a fingernail behind the sleeve and pull the sleeve off the stem. "Walk" the sleeve off the stem by moving the fingernail from one side of the stem to the other. While pulling upward with the fingernails, rotate the earphone with the other hand.

enter image description here (While holding the earphone, twist and pull the earbud off)

Method 2: (If your finger slips) Use a shirt, a towel, or paper towel to securely grasp the sleeve. Twist and pull the sleeve away from the nozzle while gently rocking the sleeve from left to right.

Method 3: Place the earphones in the freezer overnight. The plastic will shrink slightly and break the adhesion between the sleeve and the nozzle. The cold temperature will not damage the earphones. Be careful: Do not break off the earphone nozzle.

Method 4: This method will ruin the flexible sleeve. Use a staple remover. Clamp it around the flexible sleeve and gently pull upward. The earphone stem is small enough to fit the gap in the middle of the staple remover jaws.

Try method 1 first with gloves (with good grip). Method 2 and Method 3 have a risk of breaking the earphone nozzle.

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Drying the rubber ends out is the only solution. For this:

  • You can use a hair dryer.
  • Keep the ear buds inside a box of zeolite packets for a night and then try removing with your bare hands. (Make sure that your hands are not wet again)
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Based on the pic shown in @GC13's answer, I'd suggest squeezing the rubber end while pushing it to one side. This should deform the rubber enough to get one side over any lip that's holding it on, and then walking & twisting the rubber end the rest of the way off.

Squeezing it off center like this should also break any seal the rubber has made without breaking any plastic. It may be necessary to perform the squeeze in several directions to fully break any seal or adhesion before trying to fully remove the end piece.

With this being rubber, it should regain it's original shape when fully removed.

If the rubber is just slick, you can try cleaning it with rubbing alcohol and a paper towel.

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