This week, we’re at the enormous tech tradeshow CES 2016 in Las Vegas, bringing you the latest, coolest and most exciting new technology straight from the show floor. Find out more here, and see what we’ve covered so far here.
Custom moulded earphones have been around for a while: in-ear buds that are made to exactly fit the contours of your ear. Usually, though, they involve a costly trip to an audiologist to get a mould made of your lugs.
US company Decibullz are offering a do-it-yourself version that involves considerably less money and hassle, and we gave them a try at CES. The earphones start off looking like this:
You drop them into hot water to get them nice and squishy, then put them into your ears and push the material around until it fits perfectly. They feel warm and moist in your ear, which admittedly sounds gross but is actually quite pleasing. You need to leave them in for a little while – about the length of a song – to make sure they’re nicely set. After that, they’re ready for use, looking quite a lot like used chewing gum. Here are mine:
So is there a point to custom moulding other than feeling superior to people with off-the-shelf earphones? Well, they definitely offer a better seal than standard buds, meaning you get less background noise with your music. Also, they should be more comfortable over longer listening periods because they exactly align with the contours of your ears. That partly depends on how well you’ve moulded them, though – if you mess it up, you can just put them back in hot water and try again. Decibullz say they’re the only custom earphones that can be re-moulded like this.
Decibullz come in wired ($59/£41) and wireless ($99/£69) versions, although the Bluetooth ones don’t come out until March this year. UK shipping is £10ish on top. The earphones include a remote and microphone for hands-free calls, and come in about a zillion colours, including a quite creepy “skin tone” (predictably referring to Caucasian skin) that makes your ears look like they’ve healed over. We’ll stick with our black ones, thanks.
Main image: Decibullz