Headphones Or Earphones? What You Should Go For

Know the difference before making a purchase so that you get exactly what you want

Mohini Mehrotra Published May 22, 2020 19:10:38 IST
Headphones Or Earphones? What You Should Go For Photo: Shutterstock

If you’re a music enthusiast who likes to spend hours listening to favourite tunes or a fitness fanatic who likes to pump up to the sound of blasting music in the ears, the right gadget can make all the difference. Here are tips to help you identify which is better for you—earphones or headsets.

The Comfort Factor

A well-fitted pair of cushioned headphones that cover your ears is way more comfortable than earbuds. Since they are well-padded, they do not apply direct pressure on your ear canal. However, headphones do make wearing thick glasses or caps difficult for those who must. Since headsets warm up your ears, you may not feel very comfortable wearing them when the mercury is going through the roof.

Sound Check

Rachael Tatman, who was a data scientist at Kaggle, US and is now a developer advocate for Rasa, says: “The sound quality you get out of your phones depends most on what files you’re playing. The best headphones in the world can’t do anything about quantization noise (that’s the noise introduced when you convert analog sound-waves to digital ones) or a background hum in the recording.”

Simply put, there’s no proven correlation between type of headphone or earbud and sound quality.

Noise Isolation

Not to be confused with noise cancellation, better noise isolation means those around you are less likely to hear your music and so you’re less likely to bother your neighbour. A good pair of earphones that seals your ear canal scores over a well-fitted pair of headphones.

Noise Cancellation

Headphones tend to be better at noise cancellation than earphones. This means that they are better at picking up atmospheric or ambient sounds, such as the sound of a running fan or a vehicle, and reversing the phase of the sound waves, thereby cancelling them out. Earphones don’t provide noise cancellation of equal quality, which may affect your music experience.


Even if you have a pair of stylish foldable headphones, they are bulkier compared to earbuds. If you are constantly on the move and like to carry your device with you, then headphones may lose a few points. This is also the reason why earphones are the preferred choice for people who like to walk, run, or exercise to their music. Also, if you don’t want to mess with your look with a headband, then earphones are a sleeker option for you.

Final word: If you are looking for high-quality sound in the comfort of your office or home, then headphones are a better buy. But if you’re always on the go or like to work out at the gym, then earbuds are probably better for you.

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