Difference Between Headphone and Earphone (With Table)

To keep yourself away from the chaos of the world, you need to keep your ears shut. Modern technologies have many gadgets for this. Earphones, headphones, and earbuds. Whether you are in a metro or jogging in the park, earphones or headphones enable you to turn away from the crowd. 

Headphone vs Earphone

The main difference between headphones and earphones is that the former do not have a band or any arrangement to fit over the head because earphones fit into the inner side of the ear while headphones are large and fit over the ear.

Headphones are a pair of small speakers that are more expensive than earphones. Headphones are costly but provide good quality sound in low and mid-range, whereas earphones don’t provide good quality sound in the low range.

Earphones consist of a device inserted into the ears that produce sound. Hearing earphones at a high volume for a large amount of time can cause difficulties in the ear. That’s why headphones are considered better because they are over the ear and not in the ear.

Comparison Table Between Headphone and Earphone

Parameter of ComparisonHeadphoneEarphone
Cost Headphones are low-prices Earphones are high-priced
Sound Quality Not good in low-range Superior in low and mid-range
Noise CancellationDesirable noise cancellation It has noise cancellation
Airflow It has little to no airflow It has less airflow
Performance Low but has a mic High but doesn’t have a mic

What is Headphone?

Headphones are a pair of small loudspeaker drivers worn on or around the head over a user’s ear. It converts the electrical signal to sound and lets the user listen privately. 

When in 1878, the beginning of the loudspeaker was marked, it did not take long for people to realize that one’s entertainment became a nuisance for the other one. To look at an earphone-type design, let’s get back to the invention of the radio headset by Baldwin. Next, in 1924, headphones – the DT 48 were brought by Engan. By 1970 some headphones could be heard in the HiFi quality, and others won’t even be disturbed.

Often some of the other products top the gadget rank. Why? It’s just because of the characteristics of the products.

The product loaded with excellent qualities will outperform. Some of the aspects which should be kept in mind while buying headphones is –

  • Water-Resistant
  • Voice Assistant 
  • Bone Conduction
  • Sound Amplification
  • Noise Cancellation
  • Good combo of Bass and Treble 

Headphones ranging from Closed-back Headphones, Open-back Headphones,

Over-ear Headphones, On-ear Headphones, In-ear Headphones, Bluetooth Headphones, Noise Cancelling Headphones, Circumaural Headphones, Supra-aural Headphones, Bone Conduction Headphones are available in the market.

What is Earphone?

These are tiny speakers that are inserted in our ears to dive into the magic of music. They allow us to silent the world for the time it’s in our ear and enjoys our own company.

Hearing them at a Higher volume can cause damage to the ears. They can be as harmful as the sound produced by bikes. Although they are so small, the high volume can create tension in our ears. The bike produces around 100db sound, which can be dangerous even if continuously heard for an hour. When we hear the music with earphones on at 70 or 80%, it is almost 85db. This can be harmful to the ears if listened to for more hours. 

How Should It be Used?

  1. Many doctors suggest the 60% for a 60-minute rule, that is, to use earphones at 60% volume and that also for 60 minutes. Then, let the ears rest for a few hours.
  2. Don’t let the volume be so high that people near you easily hear the music which you are listening to in your ears.
  3. Don’t put in earphones while you are walking on the road where there are vehicles because it can lead to accidents.

Parts of Earphones

  • Outer Earbud Shell
  • Magnet
  • Diaphragm
  • Coil
  • Earphone cords 

 Thin cords, small speakers, miniature earbuds about an inch, but this tiny arrangement produces an incredibly high volume of sound to the length.

How does Earphone Work?

  • Meta coil that is getting charged by the electrical current flows through the wire of earphones.
  • This charge produces a magnetic effect that moves back and forth and meanwhile stretches the diaphragm.
  • Now, rapid movement is built, which travels through holes in front of Earbuds to the ear canal directly.
  • Quicker the vibration by diaphragm higher the pitch detection by earbuds and vice versa.
  • Volume is determined by the speed of vibration of the diaphragm with the force of sound waves.

Main Differences Between Headphone and Earphone

  1. Headphones cover the outer ear of the listener where the earphone is inside the ear, which can be harmful, whereas earphones are mostly internally harmful, which is a thing of concern.
  2. Headphones are at a little lower risk because they don’t go inside the ear while earphones are put in our ear canal, and they put our ears at risk because the sound there increases from 6-9 decibels.
  3. Headphones don’t need the volumes to be put too high because they can be heard easily at low volumes without outside noise disturbing as they are having a property of better noise cancellation, whereas earphones do not have this quality.
  4. Headphones are less convenient, whereas earphones have a mic and are more convenient. 
  5. Headphones are categorized into on-ear headphones, circumaural headphones, headset headphones, whereas earphones are categorized as in-ear headphones, earbud earphones, sports earphones, Bluetooth earphones.


Headphones and earphones differ in their characteristics, performance, and sound quality. These devices are built to produce fine sound and give a superior experience to the consumer. Earphones are lightweight and simple to use. They can be worn when driving, working, exercising, or walking. The sound quality suffers as a result of the lack of noise cancellation. Headphones are bulkier and, as a result, less portable. Because of their size, they aren’t ideal for use on the go.

 As a rule of thumb, MP3 devices should be used at levels up to 60% of maximum volume for a total of 60 minutes a day. Modern civilization focuses on boosting the comfort of people in all areas of life. All the companies start to get the compatibility level of clients because that is what is in demand right now.


  1. https://journals.lww.com/ear-hearing/Fulltext/2007/06000/Output_Levels_of_Commercially_Available_Portable.00002.aspx
  2. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9780080496177-19/headphones-poldy

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Editorial Staff at Ask Any Difference is a team of experts in the field of "Difference Between" topics and led by Sandeep Bhandari, Piyush Yadav and Chara Yadav. Trusted by over 1.5 million readers worldwide
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