The original iPhone earphones, the EarPods, were, shall we say, not very good. When the AirPods came out, though, their much improved sound quality ensured I bought a pair. And when their batteries finally give up… I’ll be buying the same.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have the AirPod Pro, with their noise reduction and even better sound. But they’re not for me.
You see, there’s something special about the AirPods and, in fact, the EarPods before them, that people don’t consider. The fit.
The AirPods sit just inside the outer part of the ear, known as the auricle. Whereas, most earphones, including the AirPod Pro, go into the ear canal (you can tell because they have those little rubber tips of varying sizes to ensure they provide a good seal). Now, about 6% of people produce excessive earwax – the results of which can lead to hearing loss, pain and even paranoia. Needless to say, I’m one of the 6% and I’ve suffered all of those symptoms before.
What you don’t do, if you do produce too much wax, is do anything that can compact it inside the ear. Whether you suffer from this or not you should never stick anything in your ear – no q-tips please (as a doctor said once – you should never stick anything smaller than a melon in your ear). And, yes, earphones that go into the ear canal can cause this too.
So, most of my headphones are of the on-ear or over-ear type – they have their place but sometimes you craze the simplicity and compactness of a set of earbuds. The AirPods, in comparison, have been a blessing. But, earphones of this type are a rarity – everyone wants those are stuck deep into the ear canal, whatever harm they may be doing. I fear, in time, the AirPods may be totally succeeded by the AirPod Pros – for many people (well, 6%), that will be a sad day.