I’ve struggled for a long time with headphones/earbuds. The first problem (and the most annoying for an author who works in her living room) is that I can’t use anything noise-canceling. I’m part of that very small percentage of people who get motion sick from the [insert a lot of tech words here]. Basically, those sweet Bose noise-canceling headphones make me car sick.
I also belong to that very large percentage of people who have weird ears who can’t keep earbuds in worth a damn. The ones with the foam/jelly/whatever round balls don’t even stand a chance of staying in. I had great luck with Bose SoundSports, with the soft rubber fin that holds it very comfortably in the ear, but they’re a bit expensive. I can (and often did) use the Apple EarPods that come with the phones if I put a really cheap slipcover over them with the soft ear hook that mimics the Bose.
But those are wired and a pain in the ass, and I really wanted wireless. I had no luck with the wireless Bose SoundSports because they were too heavy and awkward. I had the best luck with the Bose SoundLink wireless headphones (not noise-canceling) and used them a lot. Good sound, good battery life, wireless. I think if I wasn’t sensitive to certain sensory things, the Bose SoundLinks and I would have lived happily ever after. But having cups (even comfortable ones) over my ears and the constant, slight (but not uncomfortable) pressure on my head makes me anxious after a while and I have to take them off.
So, the Apple AirPods. (I know, it’s about time.) They look like the regular, free-in-the-box EarPods you get with the iPhone, except stubby because there are no wires. And they’re a lot more expensive than free-in-the-box.
There are alternatives. I have an Apple-loving friend who swears by these VicBay wireless earbuds (and they’re only $26!). But those look like they’d need duct tape to stay in my ears, and I really wanted the built-in functionality Apple brings to the AirPods. I knew, though, that they’re the same shape as the EarPods don’t stay in my ears without the silicone covers. And the silicone covers on AirPods wouldn’t fit in the charging case. But I finally decided they’d be worth putting the silicone on and off and asked for them for Christmas.
I love these things.
They look a little weird, I admit. I also admit I don’t care. Without the weight of the wires and the catching on everything, they stay in my ears without the slipcovers with no problem. I’ve yet to have one fall out. (Disclaimer: let’s not even pretend I wear these jogging or doing anything else strenuous. But I’ve not had a kitchen dance party interrupted by one dislodging yet.)
They’re super light and comfortable. As a matter of fact, if I pause what I’m listening to because somebody talked to me and then get distracted, I’ll forget they’re even there and may have left the house with them accidentally still in my ears once. Or maybe twice.
A couple of things that aren’t OMG, I love these! just to mention them:
They’re no Bose. The sound is a good enough quality for me, but even I know they’re no Bose.
The tapping functionality is limited. For example, you have to use the device or Siri to do things like change the volume. (And a few other things that most earbuds allow you control via the controls on the wire or an earbud.) You can also use the Apple Watch, but I gave mine to my kid. (And even though it’s great for controlling the AirPods, I have zero regrets.) One of my goals for 2018 is to finally use Siri, so it might be the kick in the ass I need.
They’re not only noise-canceling, they’re not even really noise-reducing. But I don’t mind. I don’t like anything that isolates me. And when I play my working playlist (generally the The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Original Game Soundtrack) at a volume comfortable for work, I can hear what’s going on around me, including PS4 warfare, but it’s enough to keep that PS4 warfare from being the “other sound” my brain listens to. (That’s hard to explain. Sorry.)
But the bottom line: I love these things and I hope my AirPods and I will be living happily ever after.