They say you’re your own worst critic, and typically I am. But when it came to my earholes I had nothing bad to say. At least not until I asked my husband to buy me AirPods for my birthday. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them. The sound was crisp and there was no lag at all from my phone. They just didn’t fit. My new AirPods fell out of my ears no matter what I was doing—turning my head, jogging, or engaging in any activity other than sitting very still on the couch. If AirPods are one-size-fits-all, my earholes put me on outlier-level plus size. (Just when I thought I’d found a body part I would never be self-conscious about.)
Determined to solve the problem, and because we’d already passed Apple’s return window, my husband researched aftermarket ear adapters. It turns out there’s a whole online community of people with generously proportioned ear openings, along with people with the opposite problem: earholes that are too tiny for AirPods.
Our first find was Insignia’s comma-shaped silicone tips, which felt a little bit like ordering an airline seat-belt extender: Yes, it’s a plausible work-around, but this product wasn’t designed with your body type in mind. The Insignias did hold my earbuds in, but they had to be removed every single time I wanted to put the AirPods back in their case to store or charge them, which was not effort I wanted to put in. We tried others. So many others. Eventually we gave in and started looking for new earbuds.
The Jabra Elite 75t stayed in, but were too heavy. After a few hours they felt like carrying a pebble in my ears. I really liked Powerbeats Pro, which came with three different ear-size adapters and stayed in securely. They also come in colors that aren’t white in case you don’t immediately want to project yourself as that person with the AirPods. The only problem with them is that their behind-the-ear hooks apply a little pressure to my skull that can sometimes give me a headache when I use them for longer than an hour.
For a few months, Powerbeats were my solution. My husband inherited the birthday AirPods, and I felt jealous every time he double-tapped the smooth, white plastic to pause his podcast. And then Apple released the AirPods Pro. I preordered them on the first day possible, and when they arrived they were an achievement in noise-canceling and body positivity. AirPods Pro have a different taper than Airpods that makes them stay in better. They also have a silicone nub on the end of the plastic bud that makes a perfect seal. If that nub doesn’t happen to fit your earholes, there are three different-sized adapters to find your best fit. In a minor victory for me, I didn’t even need the large. Medium fits perfectly. The noise-cancellation made the world fall silent — so silent that I didn’t hear my husband walk up behind me as I hopped on one leg, shaking my head to see if theAirPods Pro stayed in. They did.
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