Best earbuds for small ears
While earbuds may be able to fit any and all music listening needs, earbuds themselves are anything but “one size fits all.” If you have smaller ears then it can be a struggle to get an earbud that fits without feeling pressure or fatigue when wearing them.
Have you ever realized too late that your earbuds are uncomfortable and it’s that or no music for a long trip? Because I have, and I wouldn’t wish that kind of music-listening Sophie’s Choice on anyone.
This can be especially difficult if you have small ears since — let’s face it — the world is made with bigger people in mind. What’s worse, the difference between a nice fit and discomfort could literally be a few millimeters.
I’ve been an owner and absolute fan of etymotic for almost 20 years. For such a small physical size the sound quality they produce is truly amazing. If you have small ears they are a great choice. They are more of an in-ear style but once you hear them you’ll wonder how you’ve settled for cheap alternatives for so long.
It seems too easy to recommend the Apple AirPods Pro but they are one of the best choices for small ears in the True Wireless earbud category. While some competitors struggle with the bulk required to make True Wireless earbuds work but Apple have nailed it. The sound quality is excellent and the noise-cancelling is simply impressive.
Searching for earbuds for small ears can thus be surprisingly frustrating, leaving you feeling so close to and yet so far from a good fit (again, been there, done that; trust me, you want to avoid this at all costs).
However, knowing what qualities and which brands to look for ahead of time can help cut down on the frustration considerably.
- What to Look for
- Top Nine Earbuds for Small Ears
- 1. Yamaha EPH-100SL earphones
- 2. Etymotic ER4XR earphones
- 3. Klipsch X20I earphones
- 4. Beats urBeats3 earbuds
- 5. Shure SE215 IEM
- 6. JBL E25BT Wireless earbuds
- 7. MEE audio M9B Bluetooth Wireless earbuds
- 8. Apple AirPods Pro
- 9. Jaybird Freedom F5 Wireless earphones
What to Look for
The most important consideration for the type of earbuds you choose is, of course, the size. Trying to find the right earbud fit can feel as if you’re Cinderella trying to slip into the glass slipper or the stepmother in Into the Woods, lopping off a toe and heel for Cindy’s two stepsisters so they can “fake” fitting it and win the Prince.
Spoiler alert — “forcing a fit” that way doesn’t work in fairy tales (or comically gruesome Broadway pastiches of them) and it doesn’t when shopping for earbuds, either. Trying to force larger earphones into your narrow ear canal won’t mean that you’ll “get used to it” over time; it’ll just mean pain (“Agony,” even) until you come to your senses and try earbuds your size.
But what if you can’t find that glass slipper-perfect earphone fit? One option is to find earphones that come with ear tips with interchangeable rubber or silicone endings so you can choose one that’s on the smaller side. However, as painful as earbuds being too big can be, you also don’t want them to be too small and constantly falling out.
Instead of forcing yourself to wear earphones that are too big, some of the best earbuds for small ears feature moldable memory foam tips, changing to better fit you rather than the other way around.
However, size isn’t everything when it comes to earbuds. Size considerations can seem almost easy compared to the difficulty of finding the right fit in terms of wireless compatibility. That’s why you’ll want to check the codecs offered by wireless earphones and make sure that they match your device. For example, if you use Apple products, you’ll want to make sure your earphones support AAC.
That being said, wireless earbuds may be more convenient in terms not leaving you with tangled wires but they also mean that you have to be conscious of battery life. Who hasn’t left for a long trip only to discover too late that their iPhone or iPod or CD player (yes, I’m dating myself here) is low on power? Who hasn’t been frustrated by music players or wireless earphones that drain their battery life in a couple hours? Pay attention to battery life and check it against the earbuds’ performance — is there a tradeoff between the two?
If you’re an audiophile, features such as noise cancelling are of course a must, while a charging and carrying case can be a nice touch to keep everything in place.
Top Nine Earbuds for Small Ears
With that in mind, let’s evaluate the pros and cons of 8 of the best earphones for small-eared listeners.
This model offers some of the most well-rounded sound performance on this list. They have a fantastic micro driver which is paired with small-ribbed housing, making for a comfortable fit that still delivers accurate sound. They offer a nearly surround-sound effect, allowing you to immerse yourself in your music, now topped off with booming bass.
It’s certainly the compact 6mm driver helps reduce the overall size of these earphones.
These earphones boast a unique design that ends in long, narrow, cone-shaped earbuds which should fit snugly in any ear. Less comfortable is the price point at over $100, so this is an audiophile’s high-end option. That said, if you are committed to getting the best wired earphones for small ears, it’s hard to do better than these with their super-slim design and crisp, clear, warm, well-rounded sound.
This model eschews larger shells for a slimmed-down design and minimalist housing, both of which make them a good fit for smaller ears. Their oval-tipped earphones can be molded to better suit the shape of your ears. They are reasonably well balanced in terms of sound quality, and their lightweight aluminum build is nice and durable.
These wired options come with four differently sized tips, which is a nice touch. That said, while they have a decent bass and good sound isolation, they suffer when it comes to connectivity and only enjoy full functionality with iOS devices. If you have an Android, look elsewhere. Still, they produce a clear (if sometimes thin) sound and classic Beats style at an unbeatable price.
If you’ve come this far and still aren’t sure, you can be “Shure” that these offerings live up to their brand-name reputation. They boast a chicly unique angular design that marries form with function by fitting small ears masterfully. They also boast a total of nine differently sized tips, making for one of the comfiest pairs on this list.
They have a nice bass, though they don’t have the same balance as other options on this list. Still, in terms of sheer comfort alone, I’ve never been “Shurer” about a pair than this one. See what I did there…? Hilarious.
Overall everyone knows I often add these to my lists as they are just such great value for money. I’ve owned more than one pair and highly recommend them as a perfect under $100 earphone (IEM) with excellent accessories included in the price.
This model offers a slimmed-down, less-is-more design but it counteracts that with one of the most booming basses of any option on this list. If you’re a big listener of bass-heavy music, these may be the earphones for you. If you aren’t a big bass person, however, you may find these earphones’ performance a bit overpowering and lacking in nuance. What’s more, while they offer loud playback, they don’t prevent noise leakage very well so just be aware that you’ll be “sharing” that booming bass with any fellow passengers on the subway or coworkers at the office.
On the flip side, these earbuds do offer good battery life at around 9.5 hours per charge, and they can connect to multiple devices without too much trouble, making them the best wireless earbuds for small ears in that regard. If you’re unashamedly basic about being “bass-ic” and want nothing more than small earphones with big bass, JBL’s offering shows once again that big things can come in small packages.
On the one hand, these are among the smallest choices on this list. If you have really tiny ears and are concerned about finding a comfortable fit, these may be among your best bets in that regard. On the other hand, they’re also at the low end in terms of battery life, offering just 2.8 hours per charge. That isn’t even enough for a long drive, let alone an extended trip.
Still, they do offer decent performance so if you have very small ears and want big bass performance, these might be good earphones for use around the house or office.
MEE Audio, especially the M6 Pro, make a lot of my lists also as they are amazing quality and value for money.
The Apple AirPods first and second generation were good but the stalk on them was too long and they just didn’t fit well. With the Airpods Pro Apple really got the fit part right.
They come with 3 possible tip sizes and there are also third-party tips you can purchase if those don’t suit you from Comply and other companies.
These feel small and the small tips will please people who are looking for earbuds for small ears.
In addition to the great smaller fit, they really do sound great. The noise-cancelling is impressive and the True Wireless nature makes them easy to charge and comfortable to wear anywhere.
Finally we come to these options from Jaybird and in many ways they’re a small-eared listener’s dream. They come with not one or two but six differently sized ear tips; what’s more, these tips are available in either foam or silicone, meaning that you’re almost guaranteed a perfect fit. These earphones are also quite lightweight and provide good all-around performance, offering good treble and bass. Even better, you can take advantage of the Jaybird MySound app to customize their performance to your preferences. Add to that their ability to cut down on external sound and to swap between different devices with relative ease and there’s a lot to love about these earphones.
One thing I don’t love, however, is how short the battery life is. A paltry 4.1 hours is disappointing and while they charge reasonably quickly, this does damage the Jaybird’s ability to lay a claim to the best earphones for use on the go. However, they’re still one of the best choices for home or office use. If you don’t mind taking a break to charge them every few hours, they definitely loom large among earphones for small ears.
The etymotic and airpods are stand outs but that doesn’t mean the other earbuds on this list are not worth considering. That said, all of the options on this list have their pros, from long battery life to comfortable fits to booming bass and beyond.
There are certainly cheaper options if my top picks are a bit of a stretch. I do think if you buy right, you’ll enjoy them for many years to come.
Comfortably fitting earphones for small ears aren’t merely a fairytale. Check these options and enjoy your musical Happily Ever After with earphone options that fit your budget, listening tastes, and, of course, your ears to perfection.
Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.
Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.
This post was last updated on 2022-12-11 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.