The headphone vs earphone debate is going on for a while and will continue just like iOS vs Android. You will agree with me that even if you are on the team headphone or team earphone’s side; it is always about music and having the best experience. This headphone vs earphone thing is not just marketing tricks from the brand but there’s actually so much that one should know about both of them.
We have tested, used, and upgraded various headphones/earphones and we consider ourselves capable to add few cents to this earphone vs headphone debate. So in this article, we will try our best to bring out the differences between headphones and earphones to a casual user. Most importantly the differences faced while gaming, sound quality, noise cancellation, audio leak, health effects, and much more.
It goes without saying that this article is purely based on my experience and maybe I might be wrong somewhere. So please feel free to let me know in the comments and I will update those points.
So without taking more of your time…
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Headphone Vs Earphone The Biggest Differences
In layman’s terms, headphones are music equipment that stays on your ear with a band going around your head. Whereas, earphones are the little things that go in your ear. So the biggest difference is the size. Due to which their design and overall structure are different. As a result, both offer different sound quality, noise cancellation, gaming, audio leak, health effects. etc. So let start the comparison by sound quality!
Headphone Vs Earphone Sound Quality
Since headphones are bigger in size they can hold bigger audio drivers. Audio drivers are generally in MM (millimeter) and are responsible for producing the sound. Usually, headphones come in the range of 20 MM to 50 MM. In layman’s terms, the bigger the size of the audio driver the better music output (not clarity) it will generate.
So a 50 MM audio driver headphone will be better than a 40 MM? By better if you mean bass, then yes! But cannot say about other factors like audio quality, treble, vocals, etc. There are various factors that determine the audio quality (more about it later). But in context to earphones, headphones are so much better.
On the contrary, earphones are much smaller in size. The ideal audio driver size range from 5 MM to 15 MM.
This difference is actually that puts headphones ahead in headphones vs earphones comparison. So this means earphones are bad and should not be bought? No! That’s not it. Since earphones go inside the ear there is not much space, so putting a 30mm driver will not bring any pleasure (rather it will be painful).
Due to the in-ear characteristic of earphones, they produce little muffled vocals and instruments. It goes the same for the tribal and loudness. However, the bass is considerably lower due to the audio driver size.
Therefore, in headphone vs earphone audio quality comparison, headphones are quite better. But… next point is also important! And that is an audio leak.
Headphone Vs Earphone Audio Leak
If you have owned a headphone then you must be familiar with this term. If you are not, don’t worry! Let me explain in the easiest way. The audio leak is a situation in which the audio or music or sound produced by headphones comes out of the ear cushions and spreads in your nearby ambiance.
This is not serious, but can definitely be embarrassing when someone seating next to you on the bus tells you to lower the volume! This is what audio leak is in general. To test audio leaks on your headphone, pair it up with your smartphone or any device and crank the full volume. Now cover both the ear cups with your hands as they are your ears, and check for yourself. This happens because all the audio is produced outside of your ears
But when it comes to earphones then things are different. On earphones, the audio leak is a bare minimum. And even if it comes out the other person really has to work very hard to identify what you were listening to. This is because the music is produced inside your ear. And the earbuds of the earphones prevent the audio to go out.
Therefore, in the headphone vs earphone audio leak test, earphone shines and give points to your privacy in public places.
Headphone Vs Earphone Noise Cancellation
Noise cancellation is a feature that restricts the noise from the surrounding like the crowd for the evening train, horns, etc. Ideally, there are 2 types of noise cancellations namely; Active and Passive noise cancellations. Since it is a very vast topic and quite detailed so we are telling you the basic differentiating factors.
These 2 types of noise cancellations are offered with different brands but with different naming conventions. For E.G. Apple AirPods Pro and Max comes with three modes Active noise cancellation, Transparency mode, and Off. However, Samsung has kept things easy with their Galaxy Buds Pro and Galaxy Buds Live with only one Active noise cancellation option.
In simple language, Active noise cancellation on headphones and earphones is achieved by using microphones and other proprietary technology. In other words, your Active noise cancellation headphone will be “activity” listing to your surroundings let’s say on a flight or train.
Each audio form has a top peak and a low peak. Depending upon the top peak, a low peak will be formed and wise versa that will cancel the noise and perform the “canceling” nature of your headphone or earphone.
So in Active noise cancellation, the noise is eliminated. Whereas in Passive noise cancellation the noise is reduced. Because passive noise cancellation doesn’t use microphones or other technology. It achieves the task with the design and built quality of the headphone or earphones. With the use of form and padding.
Passive noise cancellation helps the brand to make a budget segment price. Whereas Active noise cancellation, due to the technology, is expensive to produce. Some great examples can be Apple Airpods Pro, AirPods Max, Bose Headphones 700, Sony WH-10000XM3.
In-ear type earphones do a great job of restricting the ambient noise however, headphones will be better. So in this earphone vs headphone, you will have better noise cancellation on headphones.
Earphone Vs Headphone For Gaming
Gaming headphones are already very popular and if you follow some Youtubers who live stream games like PUBG, Fortnite, COD Mobile, etc. they all tend to use gaming headphones. Is there actually a thing called gaming headphones? yes, it does! And there are plenty of options to choose from. The most popular gaming headphone in India for personal use as well as competitive events is Razer Kraken.
Slowly and steadily, gaming earphones is also becoming a thing. For e.g. CLAW G11 is quite a popular gaming earphone under ₹1000. Well unlike, headphones earphones are budget-friendly but no as good as headphones. Definitely, they are better than the regular in-ear earphones, in terms of gaming.
What makes gaming headphones and earphones special is the 3d surround and stereo effect. So if you have an enemy on the 3’o clock position you will hear the footsteps or even gunshots more precisely. You can also hear the footsteps or gunshot in ordinary headsets but with the noise cancellation in the mic as well as the headphone, the gaming experience is on a different tangent.
So if you are serious about gaming and planning to have a gaming YouTube channel then, going with a gaming headphone will be a better choice. For a casual gamer, you can go with any headphones or earphones as it will more or less the same experience. But don’t go for wireless options as latency is high on those.
Earphone Vs Headphone Health Effects
Health should be the most important factor while selecting a headphone or earphone. however, it is usually the opposite. Most people tend to ignore. But the question is does earphones or headphones affect health? Yes, they do! But the intensity is different. With the use of headphones or earphones, health issues like headaches and neck stiffness are witnessed. God forbid, the worst we have heard in the extreme scenario is damage to the eardrums resulting in a little loss of hearing.
This damage to the eardrum is different in headphones and earphones. Unlike earphones, headphones produce the sound “outside the ear” rather than ” inside your ear”. This changes the complete picture. As headphones are bigger in size, they have a lot of space inside. So the audio doesn’t directly go and hit the eardrum.
Whereas the earphones do all the working in the ear and due to small space the effect on eardrums is significantly higher. Additionally, earphones periodically collect debris like oil, wax, etc. due to which the earphones become dirty and a medium for infection. So share your food with others but not your earphones! This is certainly not the case with headphones. However, cleaning is a must.
It’s not like headphones are all good! As headphones have bigger audio drivers they produce a better and louder sound. It is observed due to more prolonged use, headphones can cause headaches and neck pains. Moreover, the primary damage is done to the ears (eardrums to be exact), and a little loss of hearing can happen with continuous use.
We follow some effective steps that have prevented us from all the health effects and that are explained below.
Headphone Vs Earphone Which Is Better For Ears?
Little loss of hearing can happen on either of the devices. So using the devices moderately will prevent greater damage. These are some of our precautions that we undergo while using headphones or earphones that you should definitely check out.
1. First of all, you should avoid using the music equipment for a longer duration. To me personally, I don’t wear my headphones continuously for more than 3 hours. If you plan on using it for more than 3 hours then point no.2 should be followed.
2. Avoid Listing to songs at full volume ALL THE TIME! Set the volume at 85% where you will enjoy both vocals and bass.
3. When you are using the headphone/earphone for the first time of the day. Start with lower volume and gradually increase it. This could save the effect of hearing loss.
4. Regularly clean and keeping them away from food items like chips or Doritos from your compute table. For cleaning only use a soft damped cloth without any oily substance.
5. Read out the user manual that comes in the box. There are few specific product health guidelines or cautions are mentioned.
So which is better headphones or earphones? From my experience, I would recommend both of these! Why? let me explain. Both of the products cater to the different needs of different people. Headphones are big, not as easy to carry around. Whereas, earphones are lightweight, perfect companions while traveling. So you need to look out for your needs.
Let me break it for an even easy understanding. If you want to experience the best sound and have no issues with portability then nothing comes close to headphones. However, with earphones, you will compromise on the audio quality but you will gain portability and lightweight feeling on the ears.
If you ask me, I prefer using headphones for most of my tasks like calling, watching Netflix, and most importantly listing to music. But if I am traveling in a crowded bus or a metro I prefer earphones due to lesser audio leaks and better portability.
So all in all, choice is yours!
Are There Any Headphone Vs Earphone Health Issues?
Yes, there a few health issues if both are not properly used. However, the effects on health are different on both. We have covered the health problems and how you can prevent them from happening to you.
Earphones Or Headphones Which Is Safer?
Both have a different set of features and health problems. However, the intensity is different. In this article, we have pointed out few health issues that can arise with extended use of headphones as well as earphones. And how you can prevent those problems from happening to you.
Headphone Vs Earphones For Gaming?
Gaming Headphone is a better choice rather than earphones in regards to gaming. And there are so many reasons for it. In this article, we have shared what should be ideal for you for gaming. So do have a look.
Which Is More Comfortable Headphones Or Earphones?
It depends on various factors. Usually, headphones offer a better snug fit. Whereas, earphones come with different size ear tips that can help you find the most comfortable spot.
Earbuds Or Headphones For Gym
It entirely depends on your workouts. If you doing more cardio than neckband style earphones will be a better choice. And if you do heavier weight lifting then headphones will be a better choice. But, wherever you buy make sure it at least has sweat protection.
Headphone Or Earphone Good For Ear?
Both have different levels of comfort and effects on your ears. In general, headphones and earphones can be both good and bad for your ears. It all depends on your usage. In this article, we have talked about the most common health issues and how you can further prevent them from happening.
Headphones Vs Earphones Which Is Best?
“Best” totally depends on your preference. If you like loud and clear music then headphones will be a better choice. For better portability earphones takes the cake. But there are other parameters that make headphones and earphones miles away from each other. In this article, we have talked about those points.
That’s About It, Folks!
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