4 Types of Headphones and Earphones and How to Know Which One Is Right for You

If you like listening to music while working, exercising, or traveling, then you know the importance of having the right audio accessories. Nothing ruins the experience more than a pair of headphones or earphones that produce low-quality sounds.

Fortunately, you can buy headphones online so you can replace your inferior ones with a better pair. Before you make a purchase, however, make sure that you’re getting the type of headphones (or earphones, as the case may be) that suits your listening habits and preferences.

Below, we discuss the four most common types of headphones and earphones to help you choose:

Over-Ear Headphones

If you want the best sound quality, you should definitely get over-ear headphones. Their large size can make them look and feel bulky, but it also allows them to house larger drivers. This, in turn, allows headphones to produce a wider range of sound frequencies—from those smooth, high notes to those deep, thumping bass beats.

Another reason that over-hear headphones produce such great audio output is that the ear cups cover your entire ear. This feature helps isolate sound, creating that “surround” experience. In addition, by covering your entire ear, the cups or pads of your headphones can help increase comfort.

The downside of headphones is that they aren’t as portable. As such, they’re better used at home or at work. This is not to say that you can’t use headphones when traveling, but it can be a little inconvenient to carry them around.

Wearing headphones for hours can also cause a bit of added pressure on your head and make your ears feel warm. If you can, find a pair of headphones with a padded headband; for the ear cups, memory foam is often ideal for added breathability.

On-Ear Headphones

Unlike over-ear headphones, on-ear headphones don’t have ear cups. Rather, they have ear pads that sit on top of your ears. Thus, they don’t offer the same surround-sound experience. This doesn’t mean that over-ear headphones can’t deliver quality audio. The key is to find a model with a large enough driver so you can listen to your favorite songs without losing fidelity.

On the other hand, on-ear headphones are more portable than their over-ear counterparts; they’re also much lighter. Some on-ear headphones even boast foldable styles and come with free carrying cases. As such, they’re better travel companions.

Just manage your expectations regarding ambient sounds, since the partial ear coverage can let some noise get through. For foldable models, be careful when opening and closing them so the arms of the headband don’t snap.

Earbuds

If you’ve bought any kind of mobile phone online or in-store recently, you probably received a free pair of earbuds that you may have mistakenly called earphones. The difference between the two kinds of audio accessories is that earbuds are designed to rest on the concha, the opening in your ear that leads to the ear canal. As such, depending on the default size of the earbuds, you might not get a good fit.

Like on-ear headphones, earbuds also let in ambient noise. This can either be a good or bad thing, depending on the situation. For example, if you’re jogging outside or crossing the road, being able to hear other sounds like car horns is definitely good. However, if you’re trying to listen to your favorite songs while on public transport, the lack of noise cancellation can be a downside.

On the other hand, most earbuds come with a built-in microphone. Thus, they’re perfect for answering calls hands-free. They can also be useful in basic video chats such as when you’re calling loved ones or having an online meeting. What’s more, earbuds are quite cheap. If they get damaged or broken, you easily find replacements without breaking the bank.

Earphones

Last but not least, earphones are audio output accessories that come with multiple rubber or silicone tips that extend into your ear canal. This means you can choose the correct size to ensure that they’re snug and won’t fall off easily. If you like listening to music while exercising, then earphones are your best bet.

Another advantage of earphones over earbuds is that earphones can isolate sounds. Thus, you don’t have to worry too much about ambient noise. Many earphones also come with noise cancellation technology. This helps filter the sounds better, giving you clearer audio even at lower volumes.

Just like over-ear headphones, however, wearing earphones for long periods can cause a bit of discomfort. This can be alleviated by getting the right size of ear tips, although finding the exact size that fits in your ear canal can be challenging.

As you can see, the “right” headphone or earphone is quite subjective. In fact, depending on what kind of listening experience you’re looking for, you might end up getting multiple products! However, if you only have a budget for one, then decide on what you’re going to use most often and then invest in that type of headphone or earphone.

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