With smartphones, tablets, and all sorts of other mini technology at our fingertips, it’s never been easier to listen to music, the radio, or a podcast while on the go. But what headphones should you be plugging into? Should you go for in-ear ones or an over-ear pair? What about noise-canceling headphones? How much will they cost? There are all sorts of things to think about why buying a new pair.
A big range
Headphones come in all shapes and sizes and for all budgets. One pair might be great for when you’re sat on your sofa at home, with little disruption around you; another pair might be better if you’re going to be using them on a packed commuter train. Some have noise cancelation, while some have wireless connectivity.
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You should be looking for a pair that does the job you want them to do and will not wear out after a few months. They range in price, from just a few dollars to hundreds of dollars – so think about your budget when deciding on your new pair.
may also come into your decision too. There are all sorts of colors and designs on the market, including chrome-effect headphones – a feature which companies like specialize in producing.
In-ear, on-ear, or over-ear?
If you’re fussy about the sound in your ears, then listen up. Getting the best headphone experience comes down to choosing the right type for you. Earbud-type headphones – the ones you tend to get with your smartphone or MP3 player – are usually at the cheaper end of the spectrum. While they go into your ear, they don’t completely block out other noise, and they can be uncomfortable to wear for long periods. You also run the risk of them falling out. The sound quality can be relatively poor too.
Then there are in-ear headphones, which are also at the cheaper end of the scale. They’re light and fit tightly into your ear to minimize external sound around you. But, like with the earbud-type, the overall audio quality is comparatively poor when you test them out against the on-ear and over-ear versions. If you’re looking at on-ear headphones, those which sit on your ears with some sort of pad for your comforts, they can give you a good middle-of-the-road sound compromise. For good sound quality and comfort if you intend to wear a lot, think about the bigger over-ear headphones – which cover your entire ear. They’re big and bulky, though, so you probably wouldn’t want to drag them around with you while you’re on the go.
Wireless means exactly what it says on the tin. Wireless headphones give you the freedom to listen to audio without being hitched up to a device. This is ideal if you’re running on the treadmill in the gym, for example. This kind of headphone tends to use Bluetooth.
Keeping your ears healthy
Using headphones can pose a risk to hearing health if not used sensibly. Most modern devices will warn you if you’re turning up the volume too much – alerting you to the dangers. If you’re buying a pair of headphones for a child, lookout for a pair with a noise limiter.