Different Types of Headphones Explained

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Headphones come in various shapes, forms, types, and degrees of sophistication. In order to make the most informed purchase decision, you want to know the different types of headphones and what each of them implies. This is the role we have intervened to solve.

Selecting headphones can be a confusing process since there are many different things to think about. In this article, we will share the main purchase factors that should be considered and the different categories of headphones that you can buy. It is a complete guide and you will notice that all angles have been covered.

The purchase of headphones is a more pleasant process when you understand the main aspects to consider. Over the years, the technology of headphones has improved, which gives you more options than ever.

8 Types of Headphones

Closed-Back headphones

These are headphones whose backs are completely sealed. This arrangement allows the sound output to be channeled exclusively to that point where they can easily reach the ear. For this reason, they emit music and sounds that may not be very natural.

On the other hand, they block sufficient amounts of background noise which in turn leads to greater sound clarity. An important disadvantage of these headphones is that they isolate you from the environment. As such, he loses contact with reality and may even be involved in an accident. They are not safe to use while driving.

2. Open-Back headphones

Open-back headphones are the exact opposite of closed-back equivalents. In these headphones, the back is open since there are no barriers between the controllers and the outside world. In fact, on some models, you can see directly between the outside and the inside of the headphones.

They have a wider sound stage, that is, they basically allow you to listen to music and ambient sounds at the same time. They are also less bulky and easy to handle at the same time. However, it’s sound quality is quite poor. This is due to the fact that the real-world sound is mixed with the audio output. In addition, due to the loss of sound, there is no confidentiality and, therefore, they are not suitable for use in noise-sensitive installations.

See: Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming

In-Ear Headphones

Internal headphones are also called channel phones or internal monitors (IEM). They are called that because their tips are inserted instead of over or around the ears. They channel the sounds directly into the eardrums and, as such, are quite effective. These types of headphones are compact in size and, therefore, are suitable for use anywhere.

If you intend to share the headphones, this type of device is discouraged. This is because they easily collect dirt in the ears and, therefore, can spread germs easily. Its sound output is also not as good compared to the other alternatives.

On-ear headphones

Also called supra-aural, these are special headphones that are designed to cover the entire ear. They are much larger than standard headphones. However, they are smaller and more compact compared to the equivalents that are placed over the ear.

When worn on the ears, they completely immerse you in the sound output and minimize leakage. This leads to minimal interference with those around you and, therefore, is ideal for use in public places. Because of their large size, they are larger and bulky to handle. You will find them quite uncomfortable when you use them for a long time.

Over-ear headphones

Headphones over the ear are also called circus-aural. This means that they go over and around the ears and lock them tightly. With this arrangement in mind, they have some excellent bass responses. Not to mention that they also have the biggest sound stage.

These are the headphones to use if you intend to listen to music for an extended period of time. They have a serious inconvenience since they predispose their ears to sweat and some discomfort if an improper filling is used to compensate them. Because of their best form, they are more expensive and may even require some amplifiers to work well.


The headphones are very small “headphones” that are inserted into the ears. They are often wireless in nature and are used to listen non-invasively to sound and audio output. Generally speaking, they are smaller and therefore occupy less space. For this reason, they are suitable for mobile applications and circumstances of use.

Like their counterparts in the ear, they are not as hygienic to use, as they transmit germs easily when shared from one person to another. They may also present some damage to the eardrums when they are used and used for a longer time. You have to use them moderately.

Noise-Cancelling Headphones

As the name implies, noise-canceling headphones are those that are designed to filter out background noise to deliver crisp, clear quality foreground sounds. To do this, they employ many techniques for soundproofing and blocking of lost noises. The end result is deeply immersive and clear sounds.

Although these headphones are great, they can make you lose contact with reality and even get involved in accidents. This is because they completely exclude it from what happens in their environment. You want to avoid them while traveling.

Bluetooth Headphones

These are special types of headphones that obtain signals from the source only through Bluetooth connectivity instead of cables. This wireless nature reduces clutter and decreases the likelihood of stumbling or falling over the course of use. They are also more convenient to use in general compared to their cable counterparts.

However, their main drawback is the fact that they are prone to the risks of signal interference. This is especially when many other wireless networks are used in their surroundings at the same time. The quality of the sound output can also be compromised.


This guide on how to buy headphones should provide you with enough information to make a decision that matches your requirements. As you have seen, there is much to think about, since the technology of the headphones has advanced a lot in recent years.

When trying to find out the right product, consider the configuration in which you will use them and the main features that will be useful. This should reduce your search to the most relevant category.

As with any purchase, the final decision will be based on trying to get the most value for your given budget. We hope that by paying attention to the advice in this buying guide, you have a clear idea of what to buy.