Since the introduction of mp3 players, earbuds have become the headphone of choice for a wide variety of users. Most mp3 players include earbuds when purchased, but such earbuds are often lower quality headphones that tend to damage easily or offer sub-par sound quality. When choosing an earbud replacement, consider models that will improve sound quality, reduce or eliminate ambient noise, and sit comfortably in or around the ear. If you plan on using your earbud replacement while participating in sports, make sure to choose a model that securely fastens in or around the ear to prevent the unit from falling out or loosening during movement.
Many new earbud replacement offerings feature noise reduction earpieces. These units fit snugly inside the ear canal by using a rubber fitting that presses against the wall of the canal. This rubber piece can eliminate outside ambient noise from entering the ear canal, thereby enhancing the clarity of the sound coming through the headphones. This version of earbud replacement is a good choice that offers superior sound as opposed to standard earbuds that do not eliminate outside noise. Look for a pair of earbuds that feature replaceable fittings should the rubber noise reduction units tear or wear out.
Athletes may want to choose an earbud replacement that features an ear harness. These earbuds are connected to a long piece of flexible plastic that hooks over the top of the ear to enhance stability and prevent the earbuds from falling out during vigorous exercise. Keep in mind, however, that such units may interfere with the earpieces of sunglasses that are commonly worn when playing sports. Choose an earbud set with ear harnesses that are thin and comfortable enough not to be felt when in use; if possible, choose a unit that is thin enough to work in conjunction with sunglasses.
Two features that can enhance the functionality and convenience of an earbud replacement unit are built-in microphones and retractable cords. Built-in microphones are useful when using the earbuds in conjunction with a cellular phone or even a computer. The microphones on earbuds are often quite small and are built right into the existing earbud cord. While these units tend to be slightly more expensive, they can be very convenient for anyone who uses cell phones regularly. A retractable cord can reduce clutter when the earbuds are stored in a pocket or in a drawer, and it can prevent the cord from being damaged when in transport. These units tend to be slightly bulkier, but they keep the cord from getting tangled and knotted.