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making your own foam ear tips..


00formulahawk
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There seem to be a lot of people here on the forums that either have trouble getting a good seal with the original ear gels, or whose ears get sore after wearing the gels for very long. I used to have the same problem and Prof. Thump suggested I try some 3rd party foam ear tips instead. Sounded like a good idea and I thought it was worth a shot, but after shopping around the area some, I couldn't find any stores around here that sold the foam tips, and I really didn't want to spend as much in shipping as I did on the tips themselves, so I let the idea go for a while. A week or two later I was over at my girlfriends house and somehow we got to talking about how the birds were getting noisy in the mornings and waking her up, and how she wanted to buy some ear plugs to help keep the noise down. This got me to thinking, and so I went to the hardware store with her and picked some up for both of us. After a couple failed attempts, I got things fitting the way I wanted, and WOW. I went from having the bass turned all the way up and thinking it was just shy of where it should be, to turning the bass down to about 60% and thinking it was more than enough. Not only that, but my ear canals used to get sore after a few hours of use with the gels, and with these, i was wearing them all day long at work and they never got even mildy irritated. So I figured I would share with the rest of you guys and see if it helps anyone else out.

Supplies:

Foam Ear Plugs (I think I got a package of 80 of these from Lowe's for like $10 or $15)

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Mechanical pencil with a tip similar to this:

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An exacto knife or something else to cut the ear plug with

Step 1: Cut about 3/8 of an inch off the back side of the ear plug and disgard it.

Edit: Depending on the size of your ear canals and the size of the ear plugs, you may need to cut off more or less to make a good fit, less for a larger ear canal or less for a smaller one..

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Step 2: Push the tip of the mechanical pencil through the front of the ear plug, the cone shape of the tip should compress the center so it will get trapped behind the bump on the base of the IEM.

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Step 3: GENTLY insert the tip of the pencil into the opening on the IEM and slide the ear plug off of the pencil and onto the base of the IEM and remove the pencil. The pencil I use doesn't touch anything inside before the cone is too wide for the nozzle but BE CAREFUL! If you're worried about sticking something inside of your expensive IEM's, you can slide the ear plug completely off of the pencil and then push the IEM base through the ear plug. It's a little trickier, but probably safer.

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You should end up with something that looks like this.

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After a few minutes the foam will expand and it should end up looking something like this.

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That's it, you're all set. Mine usually last a few months before they start getting old, dirty and covered in ear wax and I have to make a new pair.

Hope this helps, feel free to send me any questions.

-Alan-

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so it doesn't become lodged in your ear canal. Right Ben?

Yes. Do be careful. No problem with the real nozzles unless one gets in a bit of a hurry ... there's a reason the directions say to make sure they're locked on. If you do they stay, if you don't well...

Naturally, there's no locking ring for the home made foam ear plugs but with some experimentation I'm sure one could arrive at a size that would work well without requiring them to be stuck in too far....

(well, at least Professor Thump remembers me for something... all in good fun)

Alan -

I will have to try your foam ear plug idea some time. I can't really stand the foam ear plugs but maybe cut down around my Custom 2 or Image X10? I have overly annoying ear canals even if I don't stick anything in 'em and just use some passive Ear Pro (I think that's the brand) over the ear hearing protector for hearing protection.

Thanks for sharing!

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lol, I've yet to have a problem with one coming off.. even after a few months of use when I'm ready to swap em out, they're still stuck on there pretty good.. the actual hole that gets made by the pencil through these is only about the diameter of a small paperclip.. so it stretches a LOT.. which means when you get it back behind the bump in the nozzle of the IEM, it holds on for dear life ;)

and as far as using ear plugs like they're supposed to be used, I've never been able to get them to stay comfortably in my ears.. on the custom 3's though, they don't bother meat all.. just make sure the ear plugs you pick up are the real soft ones.. as you can see from the pictures, these compress quite a bit and still expand back to their original size and shape..

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  • 1 year later...

Thanks Alan! I bought the MSA Safety Works earplugs and I made a great pair of foam ear bud replacement tips for my Image S4. Now they sound spectacular and they block out much more ambient noise. I recommend your procedure. I saw another website where they talk about wetting the earplugs, followed by freezing and then punching through it with a hole punch....much too complicated: especially when your method is so simple and involves no glue, freezing, tygon tubing, or dremel drilling!

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