Wherever you are, you probably don’t need to look far to see someone blissfully drowning out the rest of the world with music that’s piped directly and discretely into his or her ears. Options for listening to music on the go have increased dramatically over the decades. Like most technologies (cell phones, for example) the technology that allows you to bring your music on the go has shrunk in size. Now you can choose between not only earbuds or headphones,but alsowirelessearbuds or headphones. Times have certainly changed from the 1970s when headphones became widely available and people walked around with bulky contraptions attached to their heads!
Simply put, the main difference between earbuds and headphones is that headphones are worn on the outside of the ear and earbuds are worn inside the ear. There are two types of headphones: those that cover your ear’s surface but are flat and don’t enclose your entire ear, and those that cup and thoroughly enclose your entire ear. Open-ended headphones, sometimes called supra-aural models, are far more common — probably because they are far more affordable than over-the-ear (aka circumaural) models. The price difference between the two is vast: less than $20 for the open-ended headphones versus hundred of dollars for the high-tech circumaural variety. The sound quality of the more expensive headphones is superior, though. In this case you really do get what you pay for.
Types of Earbuds
Like headphones, some earbuds are designed to rest on the outer ear. The vast majority of earbuds, though, are designed to be inserted in your ear canal. Like headphones, earbuds range in price. Again, you get what you pay for. A top-of-the-line product like Orca wireless earbuds will cost you more than a cheap pair you pick up at the local drugstore. But going wireless in itself is priceless. furthermore, a higher-end earbud will deliver crisper and more authentic sound.
Pros and Cons of Headphones
The biggest benefit of headphones is that they deliver excellent sound quality and block more ambient noise. When you wear headphones, you’re able to hear each note and detect the subtle variations in tone, especially bass notes. Headphones have obvious drawbacks, though. They are bulky and often uncomfortable; they can cause you to sweat; they’re not ideal to wear while exercising; they mess up your hair; and they’re not compatible with wearing glasses or sunglasses. Headphones are ideal to carry with you on an airplane when you want to signal to other passengers that you don’t want to chat — you want to sit back, relax, and enjoy your music.
Pros and Cons of Earbuds
Earbuds are discrete, nonintrusive, and small enough to carry in your pocket anywhere you go. Unfortunately, the quality of sound that they deliver pales in comparison to bulkier headphones. Listeners often complain about a “tinny” sound. Earbuds also don’t block out nearly as much outside noise as headphones. As a result, wearers often turn the volume way up to hear their music. This can be detrimental to their long-term hearing. While most people find earbudscomfortable and nonintrusive to wear, some people don’t like the sensation of having an object in their ear. Other people have trouble with them falling out of their ears.
In the great earbud-versus-headphone debate, there is no clear winner. The choice is a personal one and will vary from one individual to the next. Do you value authentic sound over convenience and portability? Do you obsess about keeping every hair in your head in place? Your choice will depend upon your lifestyle and likes.