7 Weird Earbud Facts Music Fans Won't Believe

Jan 12, 2018

There's a handful of things you probably never leave the house without.

Whether you're on the way to work, class, or the gym, you probably take one or all of the following:

Your wallet.

Your phone.

Your favorite pair of earbuds.

That last one is especially important when you go on a trip, because nobody wants to be in this situation:

The earphone market is projected to exceed 15 billion dollars—that's billion with a B—by 2024. This is almost certainly a result of the continued growth of portable technology like laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.

Think about how you use portable audio products. Is it really any surprise that in-ear earphones (earbuds) account for over 50% of the market?

More importantly, what does this market growth mean for you as a music fan?

It means that as time goes on you're in store for better and better earbuds. The huge amount of growth in the portable audio industry means that manufacturers of earbuds will have to be more competitive, innovative, and capable of providing higher quality products.

Incidentally, that's exactly what we aim to do here at Decibullz.

When you have so many companies and individuals involved in a particular industry, you'll inevitably find that weird things are bound to happen. Since we live and breathe portable audio, we thought it would be fun to compile a list of some of the most interesting earbud facts out there.

Let's take a look:

#7 – Cheap Earbuds Can Give You The Worst Ear Infection EVER

In early 2012, digital music blogger Eliot van Buskirk reported on one of the most terrifying earbud-related incidents we've ever seen.

Take a look at his then-favorite pair of earbuds:

Notice anything?

Yes, a portion of one of the earbuds is missing.

Can you guess where it went?

Correct again—inside Eliot's left ear.

He had to have it removed by a medical professional, and during the procedure he learned that his experience was not particularly unique.

It sounds like the stuff of urban legend, but apparently, ear, nose, and throat doctors see this kind of thing all the time.

#6 – Most Earbuds Are Copies of Each Other

Have you ever bought a super cheap pair of earbuds?

We're talking about those ridiculously cheap kinds. You know, the ones that are about six bucks and last about as many days.

Would it surprise you that in some cases, the spec sheets for these bottom-barrel earbuds are utilizing more or less the same designs as market leaders, including Skullcandy and other major brand names?

This is because a lot of low-end earbud manufacturers copy the designs of market leaders. Except sometimes the market leaders also copy other manufacturers. A lot of this “inspiration” takes place at The Global Sources Fair and the Hong Kong Electronics Fair.

When you use cheap earbuds, you're practically stuffing plagiarism in your ears.

#5 Earpieces Fall Out on Stage ALL The Time

You've probably noticed that a lot of musicians wear earpieces while on stage. It's especially important to wear one during a large show, because an earpiece will allow the musician to choose exactly what they need to hear to perform correctly, including blocking out sounds that could be distracting (like thousands of screaming fans).

One of the biggest on-stage problems a musician can experience is when their earbuds falls out.

It's happened to Mariah Carey, Adam Levine, Beyonce, and countless others.

If you're ever at a concert and you see your favorite singer flailing around after their earpiece falls out, cut them some slack—they need it.

#4 Only 8% of People Actually Clean Their Earbuds Once a Week

Admit it:

You don't clean your earbuds anywhere near as often as you should.

Unless, of course, you're a member of the responsible 8% who clean them once a week.

According to a survey conducted by Buzzfeed in which over 200,000 people participated, only 8% of respondents cleaned their earbuds weekly.

49% of people admitted to only cleaning their earbuds when they get visibly gross.

And 34% have—proudly?—proclaimed that they “literally never” clean their earbuds.

Which camp do you fall into?

#3 Science Fiction Writer Ray Bradbury Probably Predicted Earbuds in in 1953

Beloved science fiction author Ray Bradbury is perhaps best known for his novel Fahrenheit 451, a story which takes place in a dystopian world where books are outlawed and censorship is a way of life.

In the book, characters use what are called Seashell radios, which are described like so:

“...And in her ears the little Seashells, the thimble radios tamped tight, and an electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk and music and talk coming in, coming in on the shore of her unsleeping mind.”

Sounds eerily similar to earbuds, doesn't it?

#2 It's Better to Use Older Music to Test Earbuds

If you're a budding audiophile, it might be useful to know that when doing a frequency response test on a pair of earbuds it's generally advisable to conduct your tests with older music.

While of course this isn't true for every single song released, newer songs tends to have their frequencies compressed and “enhanced” to get the loudest possible sounds. This actually leads to a degradation in quality and makes it much more difficult to compare bass or treble response.

Sound engineers working on older music didn't tend to use these kinds of techniques, so you'll have access to a wider range of frequencies in a song produced in 1970 compared to a song put out in, say, 2014.

#1 Your Ears are More Unique than Your Fingerprints

Researchers have determined that your ears might actually be more unique than your fingerprints.

When you're born, your outer ear is fully formed. Due to the rigors of gravity, your lobes might droop a bit with age, but the structure of your ear won't change.

Investigate it for yourself—find a picture from your childhood and compare your ears to the way they look now. They'll be nearly identical.

And everyone's are completely unique.

What does this mean for earbuds?

It means that you have a better chance of winning the lottery than finding the “perfect fit.”