The soft ring around the OEM iPhone earbud is gone, and now it is painful to use these headphones. These soft-rubber rings don't last long either.

The apple store suggested that I buy a new headphone for $30 to fix the issue. Genius!

Is there something available that I can glue in the place where the soft ring used to be? If not, how do I fix this?

My earbuds

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New earbuds

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This video shows how to replace the rubber ring using the end of a water balloon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5CMVrpKxrE

  • 1
    Yeah and if that goes wrong you think it went right and you use it and half your ear gets cut off. – rightfold May 4 '11 at 15:33

A very peculiar question. The rubber ring is often lost and I wonder if Apple does it on purpose. In any case, you will have more luck, searching for earbud caps. For example Full Silicone (designed for iPod headphones). If you google for Earphone Cap or similar, you’ll find a lot of colors/models/alternatives. Usually they are below 5 u$s.

Either of those will cover your earphone completely, preventing the annoying pain from the sharp plastic border exposed by the missing rubber ring.

Another small advantage of these things is that they prevent cerumen from going into your earphone.

  • what is not the best way to go if the current phone is the perfect size for your ear (i.e. you're not one of the people complaining it fall from your ear). Those caps add some bulk that may impact fit ...still better than them without anything (and worse than any other brand that will last you more than a year... what a shame apple) – gcb Nov 7 '12 at 21:52

I had the exact same problem within a few months of normal use. I had the headset replaced under warranty - twice! :-/

I now use the in-ear version instead because they can block out the surrounding noise and therefore allow me to turn the volume much softer - and get a better sound experience as well.

I'm not an audiophile; I know there are much more expensive headsets out there, but €70 is more than enough for my taste.


White foam covers might do the trick. I use black ones on my Sennheiser earbuds and they make them much more comfortable. eBay is awash with them — usually it's only a few dollars for 50 pairs — though you'll have to be patient as most come from China.

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