Headphones are a pair of small listening devices that are designed to be worn on or around the head over a users ears. The device which was developed in the 1800’s from telephone receivers for use by telephone operators, convert electric signal to a corresponding sound in the ear of the user.

Headphones are designed to allow a single user to listen to an audio source privately.Headphones are made in  range of different audio reproduction quality capabilities.


Headphone size can affect the balance between fidelity and portability.Most headphones are amplified by a headphone amplifier, either an integrated amplifier or a standalone unit.

Generally they can be divided into two:

Circumaural Headphones:

These are sometimes called full size earphones, they have circular or ellipsoid ear pads that encompass the ears. This type of headphones can be designed to fully seal against the head to attenuate external noise.

Supra-aural Headphones:

This type of headphones have Pads that press against the ears, rather than around the ears. They were commonly bundled with personal stereos during the 1800s. this form of headphones usually are smaller and lighter than the circumaural headphones, resulting in less attenuation of external noise.


Earphones (popularly called “earbuds” in recent years) are very small headphones that are fitted directly in the outer ear, facing but not inserted in the ear canal. Earphones are portable and convenient, but many people consider them to be uncomfortable. They are sold at times with foam pads for comfort.
There are also two different types and they are listed below:

Ear phones

They are popularly referred to as earbuds in recent years, they are very small headphones that are fitted directly in the outer ear,facing but not inserted in the ear canal. Earphones are portable and convenient, they hardly provide any noise isolation. This form of earphones allow the use to be aware for his/her surroundings.

 In-ear earphones

They are also known as in ear monitors{IEMs} or canal-phones are small headphones that are inserted in the ear canal itself. They are higher quality in ear headphones and are used by audio engineers and musicians as well as audiophiles.

They engage the ear canal so they are prone to sliding out.They also block much environmental noise. Generic or custom fitting ear canal plugs are made from silicone rubber, elastomer or foam. Custom in ear headphones use castings of the ear canal to create custom molded plugs that provide added comfort and noise isolation.

Advantages of headphones over earphones

  • Headphones have the ability to cover the outside of the ear and thus can seal out most if not all noise, lessening distractions compared to earphones which can be sometimes uncomfortable.
  • Headphones have a reduced amount of damage to the ears which is not the same with earphones which can damage the ear quick.
  • It helps those that have small ears as it can stay in place without falling off while in use as opposed to earphones which are better for individuals with larger ears.

Advantages of earphones over headphones.

  • Earphones are smaller by design, making it possible to be carried along anywhere.
  • The earphones are more affordable compared to headphones which usually are more expensive.
  • Earphones do not affect the hairstyle of individuals, glasses or earrings of users are is the case when using headphones.

General disadvantages of using Headphones/Earphones

Decibel Ranges

Decibels are the measurement of loudness. If you listen to music at a restrained volume, then you don’t have to worry. If you use earphones and listen at 85 decibels, you can get permanent  hearing loss  if you listen up to eight hours a day. At 88 decibels you can get the same result at four hours of listening time. If you decide to go up a notch at 100-105 decibels you can lose your hearing in just about 15 mins of hearing time.

Ear infections

For earphones which can be placed in the ear. Since it comes in two’s, its quite inevitable for individuals to share them. Continuous use of earphones can enhance the growth of harmful bacteria  and sharing or borrowing earphones may cause the transfer someones else’s bacteria to your ears.

Eardrum Pain

Its possible to experience pain when using earphones or headphones at a very loud volume. Due to the positioning within the eardrum.

Ways to protect yourself and still enjoy your Headphones/Earphones.

Its not forbidden to use headphones or earbuds, but individuals  should make use of them with moderation. These  devices are have direct contact with the ear and malicious usage would lead to damage of the organ.

When making use of earphones, users should ensure they are not pushing it into the ear so much. Volume control is also important, when users are trying to reduce noise form the environment, they should stick with headphones instead of having to turn up the volume of earbuds above normal.

Try not to share your earphones or headphones with another individual, this could be an avenue to spread bacteria to other individuals which in the long run will affect the health of the ear.