Should Headphones Be Tight? How to Find The Right Fit

Every audiophile prioritizes its favorite features when looking for new audio gear to buy. When considering headphones, audio enthusiasts usually place noise cancellation, frequency response, brand, connectivity, and impedance on the top of their priority list. But, if you place comfort and fit at a higher standard and avoid audio gear tightening your head, you may benefit better.

The size setting of a headphone is essential, and it shouldn’t be Tight. Before choosing the ideal earpiece, consider:

●      Length of time the listener will be using it.

●      Availability of alternative pads or tips.

●      Adjustability.

●      The material of the headband (Plastic or metal)

As with most audio gear, you’ll need to experiment and research before buying a new set of earphones. It’s not always about selecting the ones that will sound realistic or immersive; it’s about searching for headphones that don’t hurt your ears. But how exactly can you apply the considerations mentioned earlier when browsing through these products? Let’s dive into it.

Choosing The Right Headphone

Consider the amount of time you’ll spend wearing it. The clamping force is what keeps these earpieces in your head, and frequently, it’s also the cause of damage to your ears. On this note, if you’re planning to wear headphones for a substantial amount of time, choose the more loose ones. 

Constantly using tight headphones for a considerable period will put excess pressure on your ears and may cause:

●      Itchiness 

●      Chafing of the skin

●      Migraines 

●      Overall discomfort

●      Bleeding, in extreme cases

To the inner ear, look for earphones with replaceable tips. To the outer ear, look for headphones with replaceable pads. 

Many outer ear earphones, like the Sennheiser 555, have different earpads to replace the originals. Velvet and Foam cushion are options you can find when looking for a Sennheiser 555’s replaceable pads. With these alternatives, you can discover the best setting for your headphone and improve the fit and grip around your ears. 

Unfortunately, some models of earphones do not have replaceable earpads; even still, you can apply some simple and easy DIY techniques to fix this problem. 

Services like Shopee and Amazon offer a vast amount of generic replaceable cushions for popular earpads, usually cheap, ranging around $10. You can use commercial solid glue or even an industrial adhesive to make these replaceable cushions firmly fixed on your headphone with satisfactory results.

For having a better inner ear experience and fit, you can browse different ear tips to replace the original ones. You’ll want to be aware of the material they’re made of when searching for new earphone tips and their sizes. 

In fabrics, you’ll find options such as silicone, foam, and hybrid:

●      Silicone: While silicone is a biocompatible material and won’t cause you any ear irritation, it tends to discomfort users wearing them for a long time. It can also have some resistance to staying still in the ear cavity, falling off more easily.

●      Foam: Foam is the alleged most comfortable material since its proprieties allow it to shape nice and sealed in the ear.

●      Hybrid: A not popular material, the Hybrid ear tips, such as the Sony Hybrids, or the Symbio Hybrid eartips, contains a spongy filling under a silicone layer. This mixed material holds both previous fabrics’ characteristics but can be pretty rare to find in the market.

Since every person has a unique head shape, a standard headphone model may not serve everybody. In trying the gear on yourself, you’ll be feeling what headphones adequates better over your ears and around your head. A vital suggestion in this process is to check for any adjustable part on the headphone’s body.

If you can rotate the earcups and adjust them to your liking, then you’ll have more options to position them comfortingly; some earcups can also be angled vertically. You can try different settings for the headband if the headphone allows it. With a different approach, models such as the Pilot Headphone’s Sennheiser S1 Digital give you the option to adjust the headband vertically

The Sennheiser S1 Digital, even though it’s a Pilot Headphone, has an adjustable caliper pressure like many other regular headphones from Sennheiser. This feature regulates the force applied on both contact points of the gear.

As an audiophile, you’ve probably come across many different DIY solutions that other members of this niche resort to. From doing your shielded copper cables to creating your Single-Ended Triode Amplifier, bending your headphone headband can be a friendly resource to try. 

Metal bands can be carefully bent in the opposite direction to lessen the clamping force, but it’s recommended to only do this on metal-based headbands, like spring-steel. Plastic will often break.

If you’re looking for a different solution or a safer way to change your headphone’s grip, you can try leaving it stretched overnight or for a few hours in a pile of books, for example, like in the image below. 

After a while, the metal will stretch enough to make a big difference. If the band is plastic, you’ll find this technique harder since plastic tends to tighten back up again. With this in mind, you’ll probably benefit from leaning towards headphones with metallic headbands.

By considering these guidelines in your next purchase, you’ll spot the critical features to be aware of when aiming at comfort and fit in a headphone.

Understanding The Importance of The Headphone-Ear Dynamic

But, how important is it to use good headphones?

Like many headgears, such as helmets and hard hats, the earphones you use can be an ingredient to recurring headaches. In a definition called External compression headaches, your head is a susceptible part of your body at risk of developing migraines, tension, and cluster by using tight headphones. 

Earplugs can be a source for this problem when pressing too much against the jaw and the inner ears. Headphones follow a relatable path; the headband can be the root of the problem if packed tightly in the upper head and temples/ears.

Some fabrics found in headphones and earplugs may even cause allergic contact dermatitis in sensitive ears in terms of health. Extra attention should be shifted towards Earbuds since the user will insert them in the ear. This action can bring additional bacteria inside the ears, which can result in allergic reactions and infections. 

Looking for friendlier to clean gear and materials that are more practical for sterilizing and maintenance is a critical stance to take for your ear health.

The YouTube channel “BestBuy” teaches you how to properly clean both outer and inner ear headphones in this illustrative video.  

By noting the intimal relationship between headphones and ears; an audiophile must preserve and care for themselves by taking precautionary tips while still enjoying their passion for audio.

The DIY Techniques for Your Headphones

As mentioned earlier, you can do some DIY practices to obtain custom and fitting results on your earphone’s shape.

Generic ear pads bought from Amazon or Shopee will require you to do some work to replace them on the originals. Here is an illustrative video on exchanging earpads from headphones, such as the Bose QC35 Earpads, for a detailed guide.

Some other improvements can be made, like the earlier mention of bending the headband. If you want to loosen it, it’s a relatively straightforward process of applying force to the opposite direction of the clamping force. You can also use power in the order of the headphone’s grip, increasing the tightening.

The video below covers some of this process for the MrSpeakers Mad Dog headphone.  

Learning how to do your changes for custom preferences and adaptations will give you good audio gear results. Standard products, like headphones, may need a personal touch from you. 

Remember, Tight earphones are not the answer; you must always look for the ones that will fit just right.

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