Please BAN Apple Earphones

image borrowed from – I hope they don’t mind. We are, after all, fighting for the same cause! 

I have held this rant in for SO long, but after the most painful tube journey ever today I feel that I need to vent.

I travel on the London Underground daily. I also use buses and overground trains. Do you know what the worst thing is about public transport? Worse than people with body odour standing with their pits in my face, worse than drunk people getting on and puking up half-digested chips? Worse, even, (and I know that this is far-fetched) than the frequent delays and suspensions?

BLOODY IPOD HEADPHONES! Whoever designed the white in-ear headphones that go with the Apple products is an absolute moron! More sound comes out of the speakers and into the general world than goes into the person’s head! This is a double-edged sword, by the way, because not only are we forced to listen to some crappy Euro-Pop for the entire journey, the person who the music is intended for can’t actually hear it because all the sound is going OUTWARDS and so they TURN IT UP! (By the way, I’m talking about those flattish earphones with the naked speaker (if that’s the correct term!) not the swisher pointier ones.)

How can Apple, who charge such vast amounts for their products, justify shipping them out with such badly designed listening apparatus? I have an amazing pair of earphones that lock snugly into my ears (they came with three sizes of rubber plugs to ensure a good fit) and they have no sound leakage whatsoever. I have conducted various experiments and I can declare that I am 100% NOT a noise nuisance.

It actually makes me feel physically ill when somebody sits next to me and I can hear their music – surely they know that everyone can hear it too? How absolutely self-centered do you have to be not to notice that every single person in the carriage is staring you out? Can people really be that ignorant? (Hey! That was a smooth blame-change!) I am the queen of staring people out when their music is too loud – for years I have made it my mission to make the noise-criminal feel as uncomfortable as possible until they turn the sound down – but after some near-misses with unexpectedly violent people, I have decided that the best policy is just to wear my earplugs when on public transport. This has an unnerving effect because it blocks out ALL SOUND and you feel a bit like you’re underwater, but it’s preferable to the tck-a-tck-tck-tck-tck-tck of some moronic piece of dance music.

Do you know how much my brilliant earphones cost me? £6.95! £6.95 off Amazon about two years ago – they were so good I bought three pairs! It’s not much to ask, surely, that if you’re going to listen to your music at full volume you buy some decent equipment? A fiver isn’t going to bankrupt anyone but it will make the travelling world a nicer place… Of course the big-wigs at Apple don’t care one jot about that, do they? Their crappy little earphones that must be manufactured at Crazy Colin’s Factory probably cost a fraction of a penny to make.. I know they’re pretty useful because you can use them as a handsfree with the iPhone, and I’m guessing that’s why many use them to listen to music as well, but really, come on people! Don’t make the world suffer!

Apple have a lot to answer for. If I could have a pound for every time I’ve almost burst a blood vessel in my face, been apoplectic with rage, sat huffing and puffing and stewing in my anger, I’d be at least a few grand richer! I know there’s a simple solution: wear my own Apple earphones and crank up the volume. I just can’t bring myself to do it. Yet.

Anyone want to join me in an anti-rubbish-earphone campaign?


  1. Agree. What people using these earphones don’t seem to realise is that because they let so much sound out and in, you have to turn the volume up way higher than with other phones. It’s only a matter of time before hearing damage results. In fact, I think it’s only a matter of time before we start to see people bringing class action against Apple for hearing damage brought about by the design of these earphones.

    For those who are sinners and wish to upgrade, try Soundmagic e10’s for decent quality at a reasonable price. (30ish)

  2. i have to hear ear bud noise leakage, oh the humanity….you’re all whiny cry babies…

  3. Hi Ruth, what earphones did you end up buying? I’ve had 3 pairs of these godawful Apple EarBuds and they suck! All 3 pairs have lost sound from the left phone, but only after causing me hours of pain, and frustration (when trying to use em at the gym – impossible!). Apple have apparently launched new earphones called EarPods. Let’s hope its not just another catchy name.

  4. I’m stood next to someone with then right now, some really clicky dance music. This is why searched “iPhone headphones are terrible and got this article. They don’t even feel nice and considering the ludicrous cost of apple products I’m amazed people put up with them.

  5. Do you really think £7 earphones are really that good coz if you want to get at least reasonable sound you need to spend at leat£200. Just saying :)

  6. I agree, but what also irritates me is the fact that their earphones break to easily!!

  7. Try the new EarPods.. They are much better..

  8. My name never gets used as something good!

  9. Nearly everytime I hear someone elses music on the train or the tube, I turnaround to see the white strings hanging from their ears.

    I like to think that the people wearing these earphones are not ignorant; just oblivious to the fact that the standard Apple headpones are rubbish becuase they broadcast too much noise.

    It’s somewhat unbeleavable that a company such as Apple – which is know for quality products, can be associated with such utter rubbish.

    I live in hope that Apple realised the error of their ways!

  10. Hi Ruth, my trick to stop people listening to crazy bad music loudly on the train is to get their attention somehow, and then tell them you don’t think their headphones are plugged in properly, as their music seems to be playing for the whole train. Of course their headphones are plugged in, but it alerts them to just how loud and annoying their music is to everyone around them, and forces them to turn it down. WIN! Probably not best if the person in question looks frightening, but always a good one if they look moderately sane.

    • @Kirra that is a good method! I may try that – wish I had done earlier when I had to endure the man next to me playing his computer game with the effects on full volume! x

  11. Ruth, worse than puke? this is non-sens…
    this was not very bright…

  12. I wish Apple would indeed say something about it, our quality of life is being affected. The elephant is in the room, goddamnit!

    Their products are often regarded as beautiful perfectly formed artifacts by their owners, sometimes with an almost religious zeal, and the suggestion that any part/feature is inferior or badly designed is treated as heresy. But I think this is the one area where Apple should accept the opinion of members of the public, regardless of whether they are owners of Apple products.

    I would guess that they ship the same headphones with all their portable devices so this is not just a problem on transport or colleges, it’s unfortunately a problem worldwide that will need to be attacked in every language. To put things into perspective, it’s not of course as important as tackling global warming, racism, starvation, etc, but the use of their white headphones is anti-social and if some users can be enlightened to this fact and discouraged then the world will benefit.

    If Apple stopped producing the white headphones or issued a product recall, it would be noted in the media, the public would take note and to a certain extent the problem could be nipped in the bud. However –
    a) Apple are not very well known to admit to their being problems with their products
    b) Apple’s advertising campaigns featured white headphones so there’s very strong brand association that cost them $billions
    c) Apple are probably using the cheapest manufacturing methods possible, so any change of design to produce a superior grade of headphones would inevitably result in a (only very slightly) lower profit margin on their products, and would not be accepted by their shareholders.

    Apple taking unprovoked action on their headphones is about as likely as MacDonald’s and KFC providing their customers with a plate and knife+fork as a civilized nod to the needs of society – think of what effect it would have on reducing street litter, the numbers of urban foxes, reducing landfill, and the stench on public transport. (This is simply for comparison, and is of course a separate discussion for another day…)

    I’d be interested to hear what Apple would have to say.

  13. Ugh I so agree. I want to commit murder every time I am on public transport. I also think the white color just looks so bad! Bronzer/fake tan gets all over it!!

  14. I totally agree! My hearing isn`t all that good anyway (I`m not deaf or anything, but often convisations end up me shouting “What did you say!?”) It was so bad, a women on the bus actually asked me to turn my music down, because of them being rubbish + my hearing making it worse! I actually have some headphones like yours, but I got mine free ( a radio station was handing them out for free in my local shopping centre) and they have been great (I thought they wouldn`t be but I thought I may as well) I don`t get funny looks on the bus anymore!

  15. Ruth what make are the ones you have from amazon? I like the idea that they come with various size plugs as I have small ears and find most hurt my ears as they are too big…probably man sized :(

    • @SIGod OMG. This is AMAZING!!!!!! Can I post it so that people can print it out?! How can I credit you – do you have a website or twitter? x

      • Ah Ruth, glad you like it!

        Please feel free to post it or print/distribute as you feel necessary. I’d be grateful if you could host it on your own server if possible so I can remove it from yousendit soon. I must add, of course, that I take no responsibility for any legal action or counter-rants resulting from the use or misuse of the flyer. I just hope it raises some smiles and makes people think; raising awareness of a problem gets you a good part of the way to solving it.

        Regarding credit, no worries, it was your posting and the supporting responses that encouraged me to do something. Like the comicbook superheroes I’m happy to keep my identity behind a mask… I’m just your friendly neighbourhood SiGod ;)

  16. I came across your thread purely by chance. Thank you for venting your rant … I feel a sticker design coming on :)

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