In-ear audio monitors from JH Audio

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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.

 Images AngelanelsonThe 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.


Ear-Monitors-4 She mixed together two goopy substances and spooned it into a syringe. Then she squirted the blue goo into my ears.


Ear-Monitors-2 For the next couple of minutes, while waiting for the goo to cure, I couldn't hear anything. (Thanks for taking this photo, Dr. Nelson!)


Ear-Monitors-1 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.


Ear-Monitors1 I mailed the ear molds to JH Audio, and a couple of weeks later they arrived in what seems like a bomb-proof plastic case.


Ear-Monitors2 The first time I tried using them, it took about 5 minutes to figure out how to fit them into my ears. It's like a 3D jigsaw puzzle. (Now I can get them in without effort).


Ear-Monitors3 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.


JH5 Pro in-ear audio monitors starting at $399.00