Ever since portable music players and devices have become compact and smaller, it’s become more common to see people on the street or at work wearing headphones or earphones.

Which one works best for you? What are the qualities you should consider before choosing one? Let’s look at each of their qualities.

Headphones

Headphones are sound devices that are placed outside your ears and held in place by a headband. There are two types; over-ear and on-ear headphones. Over-ear headphones cover most of your ears while the on-ear headphones have lighter and smaller cups.

Headphones are great for canceling background noise if you want to concentrate on your homework for example. You do not need to turn up the volume to block all the sounds so the damage to your hearing is greatly reduced.

They do not rest too close to your inner ears and is the better choice if you want to avoid damaging your hearing especially if you have to wear headphones for hours.

It’s more expensive than earphones but it has great sound quality because of the addition of bass enhancers. Headphones are portable but they are bulky and heavier than earphones. It’s not the ideal choice during workouts.

Look for headphones that fit your head and rest on your ears comfortably. Comfort can be an issue because they are heavy and can mess up your hairstyle. It’s not ideal for people wearing glasses and earrings. There is a tendency for the ear cups to cause sweating as well or for the headband to slide off when it does not fit properly.

Earphones

Earphones or earbuds are placed in your pinna (the visible or outer part of your ear that sits outside the head). It’s smaller and considerably lighter than headphones, that is why it’s portable. It can fit in your pockets easily too.

It does not mess up your hair, earrings or eyeglasses because it’s not worn over your head. However, some people feel uncomfortable with the buds inserted in their ear. If the buds don’t fit properly, they tend to slide off.

Because they’re closer to your inner ears, noise reduction is not very effective. It does not block out all the noise so the users have a tendency to crank up the volume. It poses a greater risk of hurting your ears. According to studies, they add up to 9 decibels of volume because they are closer to your inner ears. People with sensitive hearing will feel uncomfortable.

The sound quality will vary depending on the brand and the features, but because it does not block out other external sounds, the quality will sometimes depend on how the buds are fitted in your ears.

The Verdict

Headphones generally have better sound quality, noise reduction and less risk damaging your hearing. Earphones however are portable and more comfortable. Pick the one that suits your needs and lifestyle. Or you could get both so you can enjoy the best of both worlds.