Earphone vs Headphone

If you’re also a music lover, then it’s probably time to look for a way that helps you jam to your favorite beats while you work, relax, or even go on a long drive.

Using an earphone or headphones for your audio needs might just be the best option for you. But which one is better, and what’s the difference?

In this blog, we will compare earphones vs. headphones and see which one is better for your ears and experience.

Headphones Vs Earphones: A Quick Answer

Depending on the brand you use, both headphones and earphones can provide high-quality audio. However, headphones win the race as they are more comfortable, have a comparatively longer battery life, and they are also considered safer because of their design. 

Now, let’s have a detailed difference between headphones and earphones to know which one is better. 

What are Headphones?


Well, they are just two low-powered speakers connected by a curved rod. They are made in such a way that the speakers sit over your ears and the rod goes over the top of your head.

They pretty much allow you to listen to your favorite music privately. 

This means that you can jam to Taylor Swift on full volume in the subway and the person sitting next will be oblivious to what you’re hearing.

And, although you can find many and unique designs on the market, their overall makeup is still the same. They are usually available in two different styles, the first on-ear or over-ear and another one is open-back and closed-back.

What are Earphones?


Well, these are the ones you wear by putting them in your ears. They are designed just the same way as the headphones but with a difference.

They are meant to go in your ear. To make this possible, they have a smaller speaker module and are simply connected by a string of wires.

Today, you can find both wired and wireless options available on the market for both earphones and headphones.

More than 43% of headphone wearers use headphones to communicate that they want to be left alone, and around 20% use them to avoid distractions while working.

What’s the Difference Between Headphones and Earphones?

Headphones and earphones are pretty similar in design, but aside from their differences in how they are worn, there are pretty huge differences between them.

Sound Quality

The sound quality is one of the major things to think about when deciding between earphones and headphones.

Everyone wants to have audio that is clear and of higher quality. 

It’s not very easy to compare these two, as they both have options available that are easily better than the other.

But on average, headphones give a better quality sound than earphones.


Portability can be pretty annoying and depending on your lifestyle you need to pick an option that is tiny and light.

You can use earphones for a better experience if you want something to carry along and fits in your pocket.

Noise Cancellation

Both earphones and headphones have options for good noise isolation.

This means that with good noise isolation, you won’t be able to anything from outside your earphones or headphones.

For example, Earphones and on-ear Headphones are not that good at canceling a lot of noises, since they don’t seal your ears to block any noise.

Which Is Better Headphones Or Earphones?

While both earphones and headphones present the risk of high decibel levels and long exposure, earphones are more likely to cause damage.

Since earphones sit right inside your ear and are very close to the ear canal, they naturally increase the volume by around 9 decibels. 

Headphones sit outside the ear, so there is less natural amplification.

Headphones also block more of the background sounds. 

With earphones, distracting sounds aren’t dulled, so we often reach for the volume control and turn it up to dangerous levels. 

Finally, it’s much easier to find cheaply made earphones at any convenience store or shopping center. 

These poor-quality earphones distort sounds or play at uneven volume levels, making us turn up the volume even more.

These days, I expect most people to own a smartphone that they use to listen to music. 

The advent of streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music makes enjoying your favorite music incredibly easy to do.’

Unfortunately, if you’re careless, it’s also a surefire way to raise your risk for noise-induced hearing loss.

Bigger Driver

Compared to earphones, headphones use a bigger driver, which can go up to 40 mm or even 70 mm. The bigger driver of the headphones means that they can provide a better base, which eventually makes the sound quality much better.

However, one catch here is the quality. For some companies, the bigger driver just means a heavier sound, which can be harmful to the ears.

Better Sound Quality

Headphones have a better sound quality than regular earphones.

For starters, earphones have a smaller driver, which does not provide a good quality. Explain that stuff explains how headphones are a set of enclosed small loudspeakers around the ears which gives them a freer hand of being better in quality.

The size of the headphones also gives it a free hand to make the system more effective and better than earphones.

These features mean that headphones are better than earphones.

More Comfortable

Headphones are not something seemingly operational that you have to insert inside your ear. 

They are worn over the ear and can set their comfort level. There are many ways to make headphones better than earphones.

A few of these ways include having the option to change the ear cup shape, size, softness, and even depth according to your comfort levels. Headbands and other forms of cushioning can also make them more comfortable.

Better For Gaming

Gamers know how important the sounds are to them. Therefore, they need to have the right equipment for listening.

Different sounds and frequencies are a very significant matter that can be provided by headphones only.

Home Listening

One of the best things about headphones is that they are not very fragile. It can be used for homely purposes and usages.

There can simply be one pair of headphones and share them around the house for multiple purposes without having to worry about ruining the sounds because of the various frequencies used.

Headphones are also easy to share with all kinds and sizes of ears. They do not have to be set inside the ear.

Avoid Hearing Loss

Headphones are much better than earphones in terms of saving your eardrums. Earphones are inserted more than safety recommends inside the ears. 

This allows them to be louder and much easier to affect the eardrums in a greater way. The system inside them is also not usually as balanced, which is why they cause a lot of problems.

Headphones, on the other hand, have equalizers that help save the ear from being impacted by loud sounds.

Noise Cancellation

One of the distracting things, while you are working on music and wearing a sound device, is the external noise.

Earphones do not have noise cancellation options, which is why they are unsuitable for people who need serious work done by listening.

Noise cancellation additionally helps prevent contamination from outside, as the ears are entirely sealed with these headphones. This makes them much more sanitary and healthy in comparison to earphones.

More Durable

One of the best things about headphones is that they are longer lasting. Since they use bigger drivers and a more complex system, they do not use small and fragile wires in their system.

This makes them better lasting since earphones are small with fragile wires and even if you twist them the wrong way you can break them. 

While earphones take up less space, headphones can be fit into your bag without easily breaking, which makes them a great option.


One of the annoying things that earphone users face, especially while working out, is that they tend to slip off easily. 

Since there are different ear sizes and earphones usually do not come in different sizes, they tend to slip off after being worn for a short while only.

This creates a problem for most of the people who like to listen to music while working out, which makes it difficult to concentrate on the chore.

Low Maintenance

As mentioned earlier, the use of earphones means being exposed to several infections and sanitation hazards. 

Hence, if you want to continue to use them, you will need to make sure that they are maintained and cleaned after every use.

You will need to make sure of this for headphones as well, but a lot less than for earphones.

Average Earphone and Headphone Usage 

Average Headphone and Earphone Usage Per Week By Age Groups

A Few Facts About Hearing and Listening:

  • The human ear can safely listen to sounds up to 70 decibels (dB)
  • Normal conversation averages 60 dB. 
  • Sounds above 70 dB for a prolonged period can cause hearing damage.
  • Sounds above 85 dB can result in permanent hearing damage.
  • Headphones are capable of emitting a maximum sound level of 85 to 110 dB,

Fortunately, most apps and devices include some sort of warning once your volume reaches harmful levels.

But unfortunately, most of us tend to ignore the warning. To take hearing protection seriously, keep your headphones at no more than 60 percent of their maximum volume.

The right headphones can also make a difference. Although earphones are popular now, I’d caution against using them too excessively, for a few reasons.

First, because they deliver sound directly into the ear canal, there’s a much greater risk of damaging your ears if the volume gets too loud. 

There’s nothing between your ears and the sound to protect you. Earphones can also push earwax deeper into the ears, causing blockages that affect your hearing, making you raise the volume even more.

Over-the-ear headphones are a much better choice. 

Not only do you not have to worry about funneling sound directly into your eardrums, but most over-the-ear headphones are also, as a general rule, more comfortable to wear than earphones. 

Better yet, higher-end headphones often have noise-canceling functionality, further reducing your need to crank up the volume. 

Problems Caused to Our Ears Through Earphones and Headphones

Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Both earphones and headphones can damage your hearing. Common sense tells us that volume level and length of exposure are more important than the listening device. 

Noise-induced hearing loss has become an increasingly major issue, with many damaging sounds around us like sirens, heavy equipment, traffic, and music concerts.

Unlike exposure to loud noises at work or on the street, which are often unavoidable, another leading cause of noise-induced hearing loss is inappropriate use of personal listening devices with earphones or headphones blasting loud sounds right into your ears.

Noise can cause hearing loss

Experts say it’s beginning to seem clear that your hearing can be affected even within your own home— and not just from noise pollution while commuting, or being up against the speaker at a rock concert. 

But that doesn’t mean you should pull the plug just yet.

We talked to experts about how your earphone usage might be altering your overall ear health. What the best headphones for volume control are and what precautions can you take to save yourself from some long-term ear problems if you have to use your buds a little more often now?

Note: we’re not medical experts, so if you’re experiencing sudden-onset hearing loss or intense ear pain, consider seeing a medical professional such as an ENT or an audiologist for an evaluation.

Can Headphones Cause Hearing Loss?

Can wearing headphones or earphones lead to hearing loss? 

Yes, headphones cause hearing loss. It depends on a variety of factors after you put in your earphones.

“Headphones and earphones have the potential to cause harm as they can generate very loud volumes for potentially extended periods, and they are very close to your ears,” says Elliott D. Kozin. MD, a Neurologist and Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery at Massachusetts Eye and Ear at Harvard Medical School.

“Hearing damage from noise is due to three factors,” he explains: “loudness of the sound, duration of listening, and distance from your ears. 

The combination of these factors,” Kozin says, “creates the potential risk of hearing loss.”

Part of why headphones can cause hearing loss these days, is that portable music devices have updated over the years to adapt to the higher qualities of digitized sound, says Voigt. 

“With old auditory devices, when the sound got too loud, the music didn’t sound very good. 

The bass would be distorted, and it wouldn’t sound right, so you would naturally lower the volume. 

But now, with all the digitized sound, you can go up on the volume, and it’s so high-quality it doesn’t distort the sound.”

Earphones Can Cause Hearing Loss?

The advancement in earphone technology is also partially to blame for potential hearing loss, claims Voigt. 

Earphones, unlike headphones, strongly focus the sound energy directly into the eardrums. 

“If the volume’s loud, the sound energy can be much louder at the eardrum than if you’re using over-the-ear headphones, or just by listening to ambient sound in a room,” he explains. 

“Sudden loud noises we know can cause hearing damage, as well as prolonged loud noise.”


In the comparison of earphones vs headphones, we have come to the end that headphones are quite better than headphones in many terms. They are more durable, have good sound quality, are better for gaming, and provide noise cancellation. On the other hand, earphones are less expensive, and low maintenance but have slip-offs and low sound quality issues.

We have explained the difference between earphones and headphones in-depth and provided an overall comparison between the two. Not only that, this blog points out the potential risks of hearing accessories and facts about them. While it’s your choice to choose them, it is essential to limit their usage to prevent damage to your ears.


Ans: While it completely depends on the brand you opt for since over-ears cover your entire ear, they provide better PNC than on-ear headphones.

Ans: Both headphones and earphones have their own benefits and consequences, but headphones block external noises, which lets you listen at a lower volume. Therefore, headphones are safer.

Ans: When it comes to durability, headphones last longer than earphones as they are wireless and earphones have wires that can be broken. That’s why headphones are more durable and comfortable to use.

Ans: Earphones are tiny speakers to wear inside the ear. They are very useful for low-volume usage. But, can cause ear infections, bacteria growth, or even hearing loss if not used in a limit.