Difference between earbuds and headphones

Difference between earbuds and headphones

Manufacturers stretch each definition of earbuds and headphones to complement their marketing interests, hence, many users intertwine these two. Also, users take for granted that these accessories usually come with gadgets. So, what’s the difference between earbuds and headphones?

This article defines each type of earphones to help you identify the best earphone for your listening experience. Do you want to block outside noise completely?

Or, do you want to listen to music but so you can still hear what’s going on outside?

Difference between earbuds and headphones

The following sections are the difference between earbuds and headphones which include the pros and cons of each type.


Earbuds are the most portable type of earphone which is why many people use them every day. They are seen dangling out of the users’ ears walking in the street, hanging out in cafes, etc.

They are portable enough so that they do not affect your bag’s weight, but the cords can be irritating because they tangle.

Earbuds are worn simply by inserting them into the ear canal and placing on the outer ear secured by concha ridge. They come in one size and may fall out depending on the size of the user’s ears and activity.

It can be annoying when working out or doing physical activities. However, since earbuds are worn this way, they do not affect your hairstyle, eyeglasses, earrings, and other kinds of accessories you have.

If you want to listen to music but do not want to block external noise, you should use earbuds. They provide good quality of sound without blocking outside noise. You can still hear sounds in your environment.

Earbud pros

  • Portable
  • Lightweight
  • Good sound quality
  • Can be used daily
  • Affordable

Earbud cons

  • Doesn’t block outside noise
  • Doesn’t affect hairstyle
  • May fall out regularly


Headphones are bigger than earbuds. They are worn on the outside of the ear by covering up the whole ear surface. They are built with foam to provide comfort and optimum sound quality.

Because of this, headphones provide better sound quality and better bass than earbuds. They are the best choice when it comes to blocking the noise around you.

With this advantage, headphones come with drawbacks. They are bigger and bulkier compared to earbuds. Have you seen someone wearing headphones while running?

No, you haven’t, because headphones are quite large and heavy. Since headphones are big and worn this way, they can affect your hairstyle and accessories choices.

For budget conscious listeners, headphones can be more expensive than earbuds.

Headphone pros

  • Provides best sound quality
  • Blocks outside noise
  • Captures bass tones

Headphone cons

  • More expensive than earbuds
  • Bulky
  • Affects hairstyle

How to safely use earphones

Despite the great kind of listening experience they provide, earphones can affect hearing when used excessively. Experts warn about the use of these accessories because they can cause hearing impairment or hearing loss.

Many users, especially earbud users, try to overpower outside noise by putting the volume to the maximum level. What do the experts say about this? It is not safe.

According to World Health Organization,1.1 billion youth today are prone to hearing impairment because of being exposed to personal audio devices. They use these devices at high volume levels.

They are also regular attendees to music festivals, concerts, and other entertainment venues. Hearing loss today is 30% higher than in the 80s and 90s.

So, how to use earphones safely? Whether you use earbuds or headphones, it is important to keep in mind the following ways to use them properly.

  • Do not try to overpower outside noise, such as that of busy streets or loud vehicle sounds. If you want to block outside noise without turning the volume to a maximum level, use headphones because they cover up the entire ear area to block the noise outside.
  • Apple has embedded a parental control setting which can protect kids from excessive sound levels. Parents and guardians can use this feature which is password protected to keep kids from listening at high levels.
  • Remember the 60/60 rule – you should listen at 60 percent volume level at 60 minutes per day.

There are distinct differences between earbuds and headphones particularly regarding the portability, weight, size, and the quality of sound they provide. But whether it’s earbuds or headphones that you are using, always use them responsibly to prevent hearing impairment.

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