Are in-ear headphones better than over-ear headphones?

Are in-ear headphones better than over-ear headphones?

The type of headphones people like to use when listening to their favorite music is a highly personal choice. The biggest of the choices is whether to use in-ear or over-ear headphones. Even between those two basic types, there are many varieties and styles that narrow the choice down even more.

In-ear headphones and over-ear headphones

While deciding which type of headphones to buy is personal, there are a lot of pros and cons to each.

Are in-ear headphones better than their over-ear counterparts? While it does depend on personal taste, there are some practical reasons why in-ear headphones might be a better choice for listening to music.


In-ear headphones are small and can be wrapped up into a small coil that can easily fit into your pocket. If you travel a lot, this is a major advantage because they won’t take up a lot of room in your luggage.

Further, there are a lot of cases on the market that these earphones can be wrapped into that will prevent the cord from getting tangled up, which is always a pain.

Noise cancellation

A main reason people wear headphones to begin with is because they want to listen to their music with no interruptions and not bother those around them. But outside noises can easily ruin your listening experience.

Noise cancellation technology is built into a lot of in-ear headphones. Noise cancellation means that the headphones will cancel out external noises, making it easier for you to listen to your music.

It also means you won’t have to turn the volume up to dangerous levels.


This is when the music you’re listening to can be heard by others, which can be very annoying and even prohibited in some areas. In-ear headphones keep the leakage to an absolute minimum.

In fact, you’d have to have the volume all the way up and someone would have to be standing very close to you for one to hear the music you’re listening to. So in-ear headphones definitely have the advantage, especially in places where you’re in a confined space with others, like a plane or train.

One big factor that can affect leakage in over-ear headphones is the amount of insulating foam around the speakers. If this insulation creates a tight seal around the ear, then leakage will be kept to a minimum.

Also, having a firm seal will help keep out external noise and provide a higher quality listening experience for the user.

Why one might not like in-ear headphones

Even with all the advantages in-ear headphones have, there are some disadvantages that are very important to consider when shopping for headphones. Remember, a lot of the reasons presented here are very subjective, which is why it’s hard to recommend one over the other.

The type of headphone you prefer, and the reasons you prefer them, are completely different than what others prefer.

Comfort is probably the biggest reason people don’t like in-ear headphones. Some people simply don’t like the feeling of having something inside their ear.

Having the noise so close to the eardrum can be quite painful, especially with certain medical conditions. If you’re prone to ear infections, then in-ear headphones may not be a good idea. If comfort is your biggest concern, then over-ear headphones might be the best choice.

What about sound quality?

The quality of sound you get from in-ear or over-ear headphones mainly depends on the quality of the design and materials used.

A high-quality set of in-ear headphones will sound much better than poorly designed over-ear headphones. The opposite can also be true. However, sound quality is also somewhat objective.


Are in-ear earphones better than over-ear headphones? The in-ear ones definitely have their advantages. Between their portability, minimum sound leakage, and noise cancellation capabilities, the in-ear headphones are a great choice.

However, they do have drawbacks, mainly the comfort of having earbuds inside of your ears. Some people simply don’t like that or find it painful. In the end, there is no right or wrong answer about which earphones are best.

Weigh the pros and cons of each before making a decision. But whatever you decide to buy, go with the highest quality you can for a superior listening experience.

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