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Earphones Vs Headphones - Which Is Better?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Veena Mattu 89% (148 ratings)
General Physician, Gurgaon  •  46 years experience
Earphones Vs Headphones - Which Is Better?

Most people listen to music or their favourite videos while on the move, and they spend a considerable amount of time plugging in the headphones or earphones. If you are concerned about the pros and cons of the headphones and earphones, or rather which one is better, you will have to consider various aspects. These include noise isolation, frequency response, noise cancellation and comfort of wearing.

Earphones are devices which are worn on the pinna or the internal part of the ear. This device is also referred to as earbuds, in-ears, canal phones, buds, in-ear headphones, IEMs.

Headphones are equipment worn on or around the ear. These are not considered as handy as the earphones and are also known as ear speakers. Let’s evaluate the pros and cons of these two devices and choose the one that is better.

  1. Frequency response curve: This helps in assessing how much distortion is brought about by the devices which relate to the clarity. They should be able to respond equally well to all the pitches without transmitting any frequency more loudly than another. This suggests that the frequency you are receiving should be exactly similar to what has been fed in regardless of the frequency ranges. Typically, the earphones have bad frequency response while the headphones tend to have better frequency response. If you are primarily concerned about the noise distortion, then you should opt for headphones.
  2. Noise isolation: By this, it is understood how well does the gear help in isolating other noises than what you are trying to listen. Generally, higher noise isolation is preferred unless you are willing to hear the sounds of the ambience. Better isolation also ensures that your audio would not bother others surrounding you. A rightly fitted pair of earphones would be able to give you the best noise isolation whereas good over-ear headphones would not be able to seal the sound from going out.
  3. Noise cancellation: Noise cancellation is entirely different from the noise isolation. In the process of noise isolation, the atmospheric sounds which intrude in are reproduced and inverted. This is an excellent feature especially when you are travelling through public transportation or walking down the street. When it comes to earphones, the noise cancellation feature is are not as effective as headphones unless you buy any of the high end pieces. But the headphones are far better in cancelling the noises that are constantly playing in the backdrop.

Judging from all these aspects, the headphones tend to be a better purchase than the earphones, and they are also much more comfortable. Still, it boils down to personal preference at the end. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a general physician.

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