I've done some weird and wonderful things in the name of magazine research, writes Andy Clough, but nothing quite like the bizarre experience I've just had in our MP3 test room.
I've had my ears injected with a sort of blue gel which hardened to make a mould of my inner ear. Sitting on the sofa for 10 minutes in total deafness was a strange, if rather relaxing, experience, but I assure you it was all in the name of science.
The man doing the injecting was Andy Shiach, director of Advanced Communication Solutions, a company that specialises in providing protection from excessive noise. As a musician with damaged hearing, Andy knows a thing or two about the effect loud music can have on our ears.
So he's teamed up with Widget, supplier of Etymotic noise-isolating headphones, to provide custom-fit earphones based on Etymotic's ER-6i in-ear model. Given that we criticised the fit of the original ER-6is as "intrusive" when we tested them back in 2005, this should help overcome the problem.
Each set of ER-6i Customs is tailor-made for an individual customer. They're available nationally for £150, and all you have to do is order them online and enter your postcode to find an 'audiologist' in your area who can make the ear moulds.
Once you've had the in-ear impression taken, the finished earphones will be delivered to your home two weeks later.
I'm expecting mine to arrive this week, so once I've tried them out, I'll let you know how I get on. For further details, visit www.customearphones.co.uk.