Headphones Vs Earphones: Which Device is Best?

Headphones vs Earphones

Headphones vs Earphones, which is better? It’s a long going-on debate.

Headphones are known as “ear-speakers” that are worn over your head while Earphones are worn on the pinna or the inside of your ear.

Now to answer your question,

It really depends on your personal needs. If you care about portability and flexibility, Earphone is the better choice. But if your primary concern is the audio quality, Headphone is better in that aspect.

Let’s dig deeper.

Headphones Vs Earphones

1. Audio Quality

Enjoying music with headphones

Headphones are preferable for their superior audio quality that is due to their noise-canceling feature. Small microphones are incorporated within the earpieces that sense the ambient noise around you and it creates a signal through an active electronic circuit which then “amplifies, inverts and adds back” the signal to the music wave to “cancel” the noise.  In short, it combines the two waves in one, the music wave being the dominant one.

Due to the “cushion seal”, headphones further block out the ambient noise but it depends on how perfectly it fits you. In case it is a bit lose on your head, it may not cancel out all ambient noise.

Earphones also come with a noise-canceling feature but it is not as supreme as headphones. It will block out some of the ambient noise but not all. However, with the advancement in earphone technology, you can get one with an active noise-canceling feature that blocks out 100% of the ambient noise.

So, if your main concern is superior sound quality, headphones are preferable. Especially if you are a gamer, headphones are the best option for you.

2. Comfort

Comfortable headphones

Headphones have cushion support which sits perfectly on your ears and provides great comfort.

Earphones don’t have such support but they do have earphone covers that help in keeping the buds in place and also offer more comfort.

However, earphones are not as comfortable as headphones. You may find yourself constantly adjusting the earphones which are unlikely to happen with headphones. Also, the tiny earbuds may even hurt your ears which the big ear speakers won’t.

You may find earphones that fit perfectly in your ear then it won’t be much discomfort, but it’s not so easy to find such earphones and it might even be expensive.

It’s easier to find headphones your size ‘cause there are adjustable headphones available in the market.

For a short-duration use, earphones are good enough but for a longer duration, headphones are preferable in terms of comfort.

3. Portability

When it comes to portability, Earphones are the ones to beat. These are small devices that can easily fit in your pocket or a corner of your purse. The Wireless Earphones come with small cases in which you can carry them around. These cases can also be used as portable chargers for the Earbuds

Headphones fall behind when it comes to portability. Their big size causes inconvenience in carrying them around.

So, if you are someone who loves listening to music while traveling, Earphones are your best option. Earphones are much more convenient to carry around. However, the smaller Earphones have a greater risk of getting lost or stolen.

4. Health Factors

Ever had headaches or neck pains after prolonged use of headphones or earphones? You probably brushed it off as no big deal but IT IS.

You’ve probably heard that prolonged use of headphones or earphones may cause temporary (or, even permanent!) ear damage or affect your health adversely and IT IS TRUE.

YES, headphones or earphones can affect your health and that aspect MUST be considered before making any choice.

The loud sound from headphones or earphones can cause damage to the hair around your Cochlea which are responsible for sending the sound message to your brain.

However, headphones are safer than earphones in this aspect.

It is because Earphones are placed inside your ear, much closer to the cochlea, and, therefore, the volume increases by 6 to 9 decibels (the higher the volume, the greater the risk of ear damage).

While Headphones are placed outside your ear so the volume is lower and if you use the noise-canceling headphones, then you won’t even need to increase the volume much higher. But prolonged use of headphones can cause ear damage and other health issues like headaches or neck pains.


What is the difference between Headphones and Headsets?

“Headphones” is generally referred to the headband-like ear speakers but it can also be used as a common term for all types of ear speakers. “Headsets” are headphones with microphones.

What is the difference between Earphones and Earbuds?

The main difference is “Earbuds” fit rest outside your ear canal whereas “Earphones” go into your ear canal.

Are In-ear headphones better than headphones?

The In-ear ones, i.e., Earphones or Earbuds are better in terms of portability as they can easily fit in your pocket. The headphones are a lot bulkier and may cause inconvenience when carrying but the audio quality is relatively superior.

What is the difference between On-Ear and Over-Ear Headphones?

Over-Ear Headphones provide you with passive noise isolation that blocks out a fair amount of ambient noise. On-Ear headphones have smaller ear cups that rest on your ears so it does not offer similar isolation.

Do headphones sound better with different types of headphones?

The audio quality is more dependent on the model of the specific type of headphone you choose rather than the type itself. For example, if you compare expensive, high-quality earbuds and cheap over-the-ear headphones, the earbuds will have better audio quality.

Can over-the-ear headphones dent your head?

No, our skull is way too hard for them to create a dent. But if you notice any dent on your head and you suspect it’s from prolonged use of headphones, that has probably got to do more with your hairline than your skull.


These are the few aspects you should take into consideration before making your choice. Remember, using any headphones/earphones for prolonged hours may cause health effects. Our suggestion is you try both types and figure out which suits you best.