Decibullz Custom Molded Wireless Earbuds: No More Excuses for Comfort!

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Image credit: Decibullz.com
Image credit: Decibullz.com

Who played field sports growing up? Or maybe your kids are playing sports that require mouth guards? Have you ever used the kinds that require you to soak the mouth guard in boiling water, then quickly put it in your mouth to mold it? I know, it gets hot, doesn’t it?

I’m a runner. Well, I used to be an avid runner, but since turning 40 I’ve had to run a lot less. But one of the things I’m very sensitive about is the comfort of my headphones. I’ve reviewed several sets, and I have a couple of favorites. I now have a new set to try out and report about.

I was transported back to my high school field hockey days when I was given the chance to try out the Decibullz Custom Molded Wireless Earphones. Like the Axgio Zest headphones I tried out last month, these ones are similarly wireless Bluetooth earbuds; with the iPhone 7 coming out this month, I figured we may as well stick to headphones that are universally acceptable, even if I do think the iPhone not having a headphone jack is pure silliness.

Decibullz was started by Kyle Kirkpatrick, a gymnastics coach who went through many types of earbud headphones, continually searching for that perfect fit. Fed up with the lack of comfort, he pursued the same technology used to custom fit mouth guards to one’s mouth. Unfortunately, to get a quality and durability that could withstand the usage of headphones, the materials were very expensive. Kirkpatrick worked with scientists to come up with a moldable earpiece that was comfortable and affordable.

All of the Decibullz products feature these custom molded earpieces. I was sent a pair of the wireless custom earphones. Let’s do a fitting together, shall we?

What Comes in the Box:

You’ll find that Decibullz headphones will come to you partially disassembled. This is because you will be submerging the earpieces in hot water, and you don’t want the other parts attached at the time. Don’t worry, it’s easy to assemble after you achieve your custom fit.

  • Wireless headphones, minus the earpieces
  • A pair of moldable earpieces
  • Three sets of foam tips, in three different sizes
  • MicroUSB charging cable
  • Semi-rigid carrying case
  • Instruction sheet
Choose which foam tips work best for you! Image credit: Patricia Vollmer
Choose which foam tips work best for you! Image credit: Patricia Vollmer

Molding the Earpieces

First I contemplated the earpieces, wondering “Will these things actually soften up enough to mold to my ears?” When cool, the material is surprisingly inflexible, unlike the more-rubbery material used for mouth guards. You need to pay attention when molding the earpieces—you will be working on a fixed timeline, so be sure you don’t put yourself in a situation where you might get diverted. Be sure to pop on one set of the foam tips, you’ll want them to help customize the earpieces more comfortably.

The moldable earpieces seemed extremely inflexible: it was surprising how much they softened up. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer
The moldable earpieces seemed extremely inflexible: it was surprising how much they softened up. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer

Per the instructions, I boiled some water and then submerged the earpieces, one at a time. You will have a finite amount of time after pulling the earpieces out of the hot water, so it’s recommend you completely mold one earpiece, then re-boil the water for the second earpiece.

Once you boil the water, submerge each earpiece for five minutes. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer.
Once you boil the water, submerge each earpiece for five minutes, allowing the water to cool in the process. Pardon my beat-up Pyrex. It’s one of the first things I acquired when I got my own apartment the first time in 1994. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer.
The earpiece became very pliable after sitting in the hot water for five minutes. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer
The earpiece became very pliable after sitting in the hot water for five minutes. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer

Once the earpiece comes out of the hot water, work quickly. Press it into your ear and work the earpiece in well.

The instructions will advise you not to use your fingernails to help achieve the fit you want, but in my case, that was tricky. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer
The instructions will advise you not to use your fingernails to help achieve the fit you want, but in my case, that was tricky. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer

The earpieces will cool back to the hard plastic.

This is the end result of my left earpiece. It molded very nicely the first time. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer
This is the end result of my left earpiece. It molded very nicely the first time. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer

Once you fit each earpiece, you can use the instructions to attach the wires to the earpieces, charge them up, and be on your way. If you don’t achieve the right fit the first time, you can attempt re-molding 1-2 more times. If you can’t get the fit you want after that, the company sells replacement moldable earpieces for $15.99.

Operation of the Headphones

Once the headphones are charged, it’s easy to turn them on using the multi-function button located on the wire closest to the right earbud. Like many other wireless Bluetooth headphones, the multi-function button will serve a variety of purposes: power, playing/pausing/stopping music, and answering/hanging up the telephone. The up/down buttons will serve as both volume, rewind, and fast forward.

The instructions do a good job walking users through connecting via Bluetooth. Use the multi-function button to put the headphones into pairing mode. Once paired, the Decibullz easily re-connected to my iPhone 6 each and every time I turned it on.

As is now a feature with Bluetooth 4.1 working with iOS 10, there is a little battery indicator showing near the Bluetooth indicator on my iPhone. Unlike the Axgio headphones I reviewed last month, the Decibullz did a decent job

One of the features I appreciate the most is the voice that tells you “Power On” and “Now Connected to Device,” among other things. Many of the other wireless headphones I’ve reviewed tend to use an assortment of beeps and tones to indicate these assorted things. The voice speaking to you makes things very clear.

As for the sound quality, I consider them at least average. I tested some high-bass and high-volume selections, and I didn’t experience overwhelming vibrations or tinniness. However, I tend to focus more on the comfort and durability of the headphones than the sound quality. I don’t need anything earth-shattering.

Fit and Comfort

Make no mistake: custom-molded earbuds are hands-down the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever used. I took them on a cross-Pacific flight earlier this month: I turned on my own tunes while I napped on the plane and didn’t get that telltale soreness on my outer ear as I usually do with in-ear headphones. I have also run a total of about 10 miles with these headphones, again, feeling as though I’m not wearing anything in my ears at all.

I’ve used earbuds that have “thump, thump, thumped” each time my foot pounds the ground on a run. In fact, the Apple earbuds that come with iPhones do that for me. Those earbuds are simply too small for my ears.

Today, I waxed my car while listening to Pandora with these earbuds. I was climbing up and down a stepstool, and even flipping my head upside down while reaching the lowest parts of my vehicle. I lay down on the ground while buffing out some scratches. All the while I had the Decibullz in my ears, virtually unnoticeable!

Conclusions

To conclude, the custom fit of the Decibullz earphones make this a very worthwhile investment. And an investment this will be, at an MSRP of $119.99 for the wireless headphones, but only $59.99 for the wired ones (which will work with any mobile/smart devices other than the iPhone 7).

If you don’t need headphones, Decibullz also makes earplugs with the same moldable plastic. They’re rated to block up to 31 decibels, which is pretty impressive (take it from someone who has worked around propeller and jet engines for much of her career, and usually was only given 26 dB earplugs!) They retail for $25.99.

GeekMom was provided a complimentary sample of the Decibullz Custom Molded Wireless Earphones for review purposes.

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