I first became aware of the difficulties that cauliflower ears can cause when I started intensively training Muay Thai and fighting in some minor tournaments. While training at Dynamic Mixed Martial Arts in Modesto, CA, several training partners and friends were MMA fighters that suffered from cauliflower ears. Many complained about not being able to properly wear any earphones due to the deformation of their ears. This is the case in particular for true wireless earbuds, due to their bulky nature. As a result, affected athletes are forced to utilize the generic gym music, heavy headphones or readjusting in-ear devices frequently. This is problematic for the following reason. Scientific research shows that music significantly correlates with psychological as well as physical performance. Music has the potential to improve the mental state pre-competition and cause athletes to train longer at a higher intensity. As a competitive athlete for 20+ years I have experienced the advantages of music in sports first hand. Running 5 miles with access to audio vs no access to audio is an entirely different training experience.
The true wireless earbud market has been booming and experiencing a similar growth to the smartphone industry a decade ago. The giants of the industry have been continuously improving technology to offer consumers a cable free audio experience that revolutionized the in-ear device market. However, despite continuous R&D, the industry has failed to address the stability and comfort issues of these earbuds during training routines, particularly for those affected by cauliflower ears.