As if AirPods weren’t controversial enough (is the convenience worth looking a little ridiculous?), a viral Twitter thread about the wireless earbuds is stirring up an even more important question: How do you actually wear them?
Over the weekend, one user tweeted a photo of a man in NYC wearing his AirPods upside down in the wrong ears, saying he was “absolutely shaken” by the man’s bizarre setup. And many people agreed, with one person even calling him a “monster.”
But, while I was definitely one of the people who had a visceral reaction to the photo at first, after scrolling through the comments, I was (almost) persuaded that there could be a valid reason for wearing AirPods upside down.
According to some users who say they’ve been doing this for years, flipping your AirPods actually helps them fit in your ears better. Not only that, but a few people also argued that it can help those who have hearing problems. One commenter said, “I am deaf in one of my ears and want the mic on the correct side,” adding that “the wrong way round upside down is way more comfortable.” Another noted that he has some hearing loss and wearing the AirPods flipped around directs the sound toward the back of his ear so that he can hear the music.
One of our own tech writers, Michael Desjardin, has some thoughts on the divisive subject. "For some folks, wearing AirPods or other headphones in an unconventional manner isn’t a fashion choice, but rather, the best possible option given their body type or due to a medical condition," Desjardin, who admits he's never tried flipping his AirPods, says. "As for me? I’ll take my chances with some loose-fitting, right-side-up AirPods. To get them to fit right in their upside-down state, you have to wear the left pod in your right ear and the right pod in your left. I don’t like the idea of listening to my favorite music with an uncannily reversed stereo mix."
Whether you’re team upside down or team right side up, there’s no debate that AirPods are a quality—and convenient—product, according to our experts who ranked them as the best wireless earbuds of 2019. Not only do they sound better than their wired counterparts but they’re also super simple to use: Just slide them out of their mini charging case and they’ll automatically connect to your iPhone or MacBook.
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