Headphones vs. Earbuds: A Matter of Preference


Since coming to college, I have become an owner of a pair of over ear headphones.  My black headphones go over my ears and transport me into a very far off world compared to what typically fills the Bucknell campus: silence.  My headphones can cancel out my environment and lock me into a world where homework enters and Moodle submissions leave.  At the same time, I absolutely love my earbuds, but for totally different purposes.  So, the question is… which is better: headphones vs earbuds? The first part of this decision is where you plan on using them. I absolutely recommend headphones for studying and listening to music in your dorm. They are safer for your ears than earbuds and are a more immersive auditory experience.  In the library it comes down to whether you would like to be disturbed or not.  Headphones, while both good and bad, give off a very “don’t talk to me” vibe. This can be really helpful while getting work done but also can be something you may not be comfortable with.

In the gym, earbuds are the way to go.  They are more comfortable while exercising.  They also can be ripped off easier in the scenario that they get caught on a machine or a piece of equipment. This is a serious headphone hazard—the machines have so many moving parts that the cord is bound to get caught.  When the cord gets caught, it rips the headphones off violently.  Earbuds simply fall off while headphones may shatter.

Another very important question in the debate of earbuds verse headphones is whether earbuds even fit in your ears.  Headphones will fit all ears, that’s how they’re designed.  However, I have had very poor luck with getting earbuds I ordered online or bought in the store to actually fit in my ears.  The kind where the bud actually goes into your ear has no chance of fitting in mine, while the kind where it sort of rests on your ear (like the generic iPod earbuds) can often fit in my ear.  But just because it fits does not mean it is comfortable.

If you have the money, I would recommend getting one pair of each. Otherwise, you need to compare products online and using my guide to see which kind is best for you. Here are some of my favorites, and by the way, Beats by Dre are the most overpriced thing ever. They are terrible for the price you pay.