This probably falls under the "too much information" category, but I have weirdly-shaped ear canals. Instead of being roughly circular, the cross-section is pinched and narrow. As a result, in-ear buds don't fit well. My ear canals push them right out. I like wearing old-fashioned headphones, but they aren't always practical.
So when JH Audio offered to make me a pair of its PRO series custom-fit, in-ear audio monitors, I happily accepted. I've heard good things about these monitors. They're cast from your own ear shape, so they fit the contours of your ear bowl perfectly.
The first thing I had to do was visit an audiologist to get a casting of my ears made. I visited Angela Nelson, a clinical audiologist in Burbank, California. She was very nice and even let me take photos of the process, explaining what she was doing every step of the way.
Dr. Nelson then gently removed the hardened molds from my ears, put them in a cardboard box and sent me on my way. If you click the thumbnail image on the left, you will be treated to a view of my earwax.
The sound quality is superb, and I can keep the volume of my iPod very low (in fact, I've learned to turn the volume down before putting the JH5s in my ears to avoid a shocking blast of sound). They do a better job of blocking outside noise than the noise canceling headphones I've tried. They fit snugly in my ear, and they are supremely comfortable.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects