Over-Ear vs In-Ear vs On-Ear Headphones: Explain with Example

By | June 19, 2022

None of the on-ear or over-ear headphones will be uncomfortable to wear if you are a sportsperson who also wears glasses. In that instance, in-ear headphones are a good option because they are light. Audio will be open and airy when worn over the ear with the back open. However, they will leak sound, so if you want to utilize them in a library, this is not a viable option.

Velvet on-ear headphones are comfy since they do not put pressure on the ears. If you anticipate you’ll be exposed to sweat or water, make sure your headphones are water-resistant. Closed back headphones are a wonderful choice for office use because they don’t leak sound. Some of the best headphones are made by Bose, SkullCandy, and JBL.

The price range, as well as the features, are radically different. Some headphones are particularly good at creating low frequencies. So, if you prefer a bass-heavy sound, these are the ones to go with. Most headphones come with a phone call feature. EQ, on the other hand, is a useful function that allows you to tune music to your preferences. Make sure the earphone can resist wear and tear if you plan to use it on the fly. Which is the better option: over-ear, in-ear, or on-ear headphones? Let’s have a look.

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Which Headphone Performs Better?

When comparing the performance of over-ear, on-ear, and in-ear headphones, over-ear outperforms the other two. They are capable of entirely isolating any outside noise and producing pure sound. When comparing the sound quality of over-ear vs in-ear headphones, in-ear refers to music that is played within your head or ear. It shows even the smallest details. Over-ear products, on the other hand, generate a spatial effect, allowing you to hear sound from all around you. In-ear headphones frequently lack a’soundstage,’ which gives you a 3D sensation.

In contrast to an over-ear headphone, they can represent more information. The in-noise ear’s isolation technology ensures superior imagery. Over-ear is excellent for low-ends. Another disadvantage of in-ear hearing aids is that they allow you to hear every sound, including chewing and swallowing. This isn’t something that everyone enjoys. After around 10 minutes of use, users using in-ear or IEM headphones complained of ear ache.

Other users who are prone to ear infections should avoid wearing IEM at all costs. In-ear headphones, on the other hand, will fit you if you prefer to use earbuds. When comparing on-ear vs. over-ear headphones, most consumers find that on-ear headphones perform just as well. So, who came out on top? There will be no victor based on headphone type; instead, it will be determined by driver size, engineering, and model design. Nonetheless, we make an effort to expound on what the majority of users feel, hear, and think.

Can it block noise completely?

We’ve already established that wearing in-ear headphones can be painful at times. But why do they exist in the first place? Outside noise isolation is best achieved using in-ear headphones. The benefit of placing the earphone into the ear canal is this. Earcups are found on both over-ear and on-ear headphones, however on-ear earcups are smaller and do not seal the ear to provide adequate noise isolation.

In this situation, over-ear headphones outperform on-ear headphones. The huge earcups completely surround the ear and block out unwanted noise.

Does it leak sound outside?

It will be really frustrating if your headphone leaks or shows some of your music to outside people while you are at work or in the library. When comparing in-ear vs. over-ear vs. on-ear headphones, over-ear headphones leak sound at a high volume into the environment. As a result, headphones will no longer be suitable for ‘private listening.’ Over-ear headphones have huge drivers, and if the headphone model has an open back, sound will leak out.

On-ears leak as well as over-ears, but not as much. In-ear headphones have a small driver and don’t leak a lot of sound outside of the headset.

Which one is more comfortable  to wear?

Physically, headphones must be pleasant to wear. You should not have ear pain or irritation as a result of listening for longer periods of time. Padding that is adequate is one technique to improve comfort. When comparing over-ear vs. on-ear headphones, over-ear headphones are the more comfortable. It is usually highly padded and does not exert too much pressure on the ear or head.

In-ear headphones, often known as IEMs, are headphones that fit directly into the ear canal. It varies greatly from user to user as to whether it is comfortable or painful after only a few uses. The majority of customers stated that it is difficult to wear for long periods of time.

How easy is it to carry?

The weight and size of the headphone determine whether it is portable. Some headphones are huge, but they can be folded. Between over-ear and in-ear, over-ear is larger and bulkier, making it more difficult to transport. The size and portability of on-ear headphones varies per model. They are less cumbersome to transport than over-ear headphones.

In-ear headphones are the most convenient to transport because they are light and tiny. You can take it with you when you travel by car, bus, or aircraft. Put them in your pocket and you’re done.

Best Over Ear Headphones:

Master & Dynamic Award Winning MH40 Closed Back Over Ear Headphones Review:

  • Bluetooth v5.0 40mm drivers are included in the specifications.
  • Battery life: 18 hours Charging time: 10 hours
  • 32 ohms Impedance
  • 276g in weight

Two microphones on the Master and Dynamic over-ear headphones help to block out additional noise from the environment. The microphone employs a Beamforming Noise Reduction Mic Array. When receiving phone calls, this over-ear Bluetooth headphone will come in handy. It allows you to connect two devices at the same time, such as your phone and laptop.

You can use these headphones at work to listen to music. However, because of the leakage issue, listen at a modest volume level. Despite the fact that they are a little hefty, you may still carry them in the provided pouch to keep them safe. The sound quality of these over-ear closed-back headphones is quite good. The treble range is crisp and precise. The bass is present and punchy. The audio is presented in its natural state.

It is made of high-quality materials and has a premium feel to it. It’s made of coated canvas, anodized aluminum, and real lambskin leather. The earpads are composed of Wrapped Memory Foam and contain replaceable Lambskin. The headphones include a big circumaural cup that seals the ear and fits comfortably. These are some of the most comfy headphones you can wear for extended periods of time.

The power or pairing button, as well as the USB-C port, are located on the right earpad. There’s an LED that tells you when you’ve been paired and displays the remaining battery life (red means low). For charging and passive audio, use USB-C. There are also volume + and – buttons, as well as a button that may be used to play/pause, answer/end calls, skip forward, and backward. To activate the mobile’s voice assistant, keep pressing the same button for a long time.

The thick and tightly-sealed earcups will aid a lot, even though there is no noise cancellation option. To link the headphones, switch them on and look for the name in the Bluetooth list on your phone. If you want to link numerous devices, start with the first one. Then go back to pairing mode and disconnect the first device. Then switch off the headphone and pair with the second device. It will link two devices when you turn it on again.

Sony WH-1000XM4 Over-Ear Headphone Review:

Specs

  • 40mm dome type driver (CCAW Voice coil)
  • 4Hz-40,000Hz frequency response
  • 105dB / mW Sensitivity (1kHz)
  • Time to charge: 3 hours
  • Maximum battery life: 30 hours (NC ON), 200 hours (NC OFF) (NC OFF)

Sony’s WH-1000XM4 noise-canceling over-ear headphones. The two earcups each include two microphones with dual noise cancellation technology. These will detect ambient sound and send it to the HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1, where it will be processed and noise removed. Ambient Noise Control can be adjusted using the Sony | Headphones Connect app.

As a result, you can still hear crucial items like announcements while reducing noise. Placing your palm over the left earcup lowers the music volume so you can hear what’s going on around you. The mobile app also offers an EQ tool, allowing you to modify settings and get the sound you want. You may use the app to access voice assistants and the speak to chat feature, which detects when you’re chatting and pauses the music.

The neodymium magnet and aluminum coated LCP make up this over-ear earphone with mic. Charging is accomplished with the use of a USB cable. If you’re in a rush, use an extra AC converter and charge it for 10 minutes to acquire a 5-hour battery. Sony’s Edge AI conducts compressed file upscaling. Adaptive Sound Control is a smart feature that knows where the user is and what they’re doing, and then adjusts the audio and ambient noise accordingly.

Sony has a plethora of intelligent features. This incorporates a proximity sensor built into the headphones that can detect whether or not you are wearing them. If you turn them on, the song starts, and if you turn them off, the song pauses automatically. These are quite comfy and may be worn for an extended period of time. The earpads are made of a foamed urethane that is incredibly soft.

It weighs roughly 272 grams and comes with a protective case. They can also be folded and stored in your bag. So, while these are not as portable as in-ear headphones, they have a longer battery life and may be worn on extended journeys in public transportation. Cushioned earpads let you to wear them for long periods of time without becoming fatigued. It also includes a wire, giving you the option of going wired or wifi.

It can connect up to two Bluetooth devices, just like the previous headphone. Both devices should utilize the AAC Bluetooth codec in this situation. It can also determine which device a phone call is coming from and receive the call on that device automatically. Precise Voice Pickup Technology improves the clarity of phone calls. Inside the headset, there are a total of five microphones with powerful audio signal processing.

The control buttons are very simple to operate. Overall, the audio profile is bass-heavy, but the mids and highs are true. It’s one of the best over-ear ANC headphones thanks to its premium design, several smart features, and ease of usage.

Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR Open-Back Headphone Review:

Specs:

  • 30 Ohm Impedance
  • 50 mm driver
  • 100 dB @ 1mW sensitivity
  • 5 – 40,000 Hz is the frequency range.
  • 390g in weight

Unlike the previous two headphones, the X2HR features an open rear. This is well recognized for allowing the diagram to move about easily. Layered Motion Control (LMC) drivers provide a multilayered polymer diagram with a flat frequency response. The audio profile as a result is neutral. The construction is solid and has a premium feel about it.

While most over-ear headphones are noted for their comfort, this one features 15-degree slanted drivers. The headset is tilted to follow the contour of the ear and fit perfectly. Use the airy hammock to increase your fitness and adjust as needed. The earpads are constructed of premium memory foam and velour.

These headphones have a lot of airflow. The earpads, on the other hand, are prone to attracting hairs. For wired connection, a specialized cable is included. But don’t be concerned about tangled cables; simply use the cable management clip provided. Despite the fact that it possesses articulate bass, it may appear to be missing. However, this is a regular occurrence with open-back headphones.

Throughout the frequency spectrum, the audio remains consistent. Higher frequencies are acceptable, but they could be improved. Overall, the sound is well-balanced, and prolonged listening will not induce weariness. The soundstage is broad and airy, with exceptional stereo image, thanks to the open-back design. The Philips Fidelo X2HR is the greatest home headphone. Outside sounds will not be blocked because the rear side of each earcup is open.

People adjacent to you may be able to hear the song you’re playing, even at a moderate volume. This wired over-ear open-back headset lacks a microphone, battery life, and a mobile app. These headphones can be used to connect to a PS5 or Xbox X for audio only. Because wearing them for hours on end isn’t a problem. It also works well with music and movies.

Best On-Ear Headphones:

Sennheiser Momentum HD1 On-Ear Wired Headphone Review:

  • Specs:
  • 16Hz – 22000Hz frequency response
  • 112dB (1 kHz/1 Vrms) SPL
  • Back is closed

Headphones aren’t just for listening to music; they’re also for looking good. Sennheiser Momentum 2 on-ear headphones are available in six different colors to accommodate this. It contains foam padding that is coated with Alcantara. Alcantara is a soft material that has a high-end appearance and feel. In addition, metal gantries and high-quality plastic are employed in the construction.

The metal headband is strong and covered in a tough faux cloth. Some people may find it uncomfortable after a long period of use. You can easily take it in your backpack thanks to the included case and the fact that these headphones fold conveniently. The inline cable contains volume controls and a multifunctional button in the centre. Use it to make phone calls and to play, stop, and skip music files.

It is one of the best wired on-ear headphones in terms of audio quality. The audio has a lot of depth to it, and it’s quite rich and detailed. It features a rich, warm, and well-balanced sonic character. As a result, you can listen to it for hours on end. The soundstage is average, the image is good, and the bass is punchy. These supra-aural on-ear headphones may feel a little snug around the ears at first, but you’ll get used to it and won’t experience any pain or discomfort.

The fit and comfort, however, may vary from person to person. The Sennheiser Momentum on-ear wired earphone’s noise isolation isn’t particularly great. As a result, if you use it outside, the outside noise will annoy you. However, you can simply use it for a walk if you want to be aware of automobile horns or dog barking.

Audio leakage is also apparent. The headphone jack will interlock as you connect it, preventing it from becoming loose with unexpected force. It’s the greatest on-ear headphones for phone calls because it has built-in mics. The calls are crystal clear, and the controls are simple to operate. There is no app for control or EQ tweaks because these are on-ear wired headphones that do not allow Bluetooth.

Skullcandy Uproar Wireless On-Ear Headphone Review:

Specs:

  • Up to 10 hours of battery life
  • Passive Noise Isolation
  • Driver 40mm in diameter, 123g in weight

Skullcandy offers four color options for their on-ear Bluetooth headphones. The white hue with the skull motif on the headset was our favorite. It offers soft, perforated earpads with enough padding. The headband is durable and lightweight; if it feels too tight, simply adjust and relax it. Volume up, down, and the Main function button are all located on the headphone.

Play/pause, pair, power on/off, and answer or stop calls may all be done with the MFB. Press volume up or down to advance to the next or previous track, respectively. To catch your attention, the LED on the Skullcandy wireless on-ear headphones will shine red and create a sound four times. A day’s worth of battery life is 10 hours.

In terms of performance, you’ll notice that the bass has been increased. Another feature of these on-ear wireless headphones that we like is that you can turn up the volume and still hear clear audio. Overall, the sound will be clean and clear. You won’t find any extras like a pouch or a 3.5mm wire. It’s one of the best wireless on-ear headphones for the money. So, just because you’re on a budget, doesn’t mean you can’t acquire a great pair of shoes.

Without giving a poor review, keep in mind that these are low-cost on-ear headphones with no ANC or other fancy features. The introduction of a phone call feature at such a low cost astounds us. The Bluetooth connection is still stable. It remembers any paired device, making re-pairing a breeze.

JBL Tune 510BT On-Ear Headphones Review:

Specs:

  • Bluetooth version 5.0
  • 32mm driver
  • Sensitivity of the driver: 103.5 dB
  • 20Hz – 20kHz dynamic frequency response
  • 32 ohms input impedance

The JBL Tune on-ear Bluetooth headphone sports a small earcup and a plastic headband, but just in the centre. The earpads are soft, and the headphone is well-fitting, so you won’t have any discomfort or soreness after a long period of use. The build quality isn’t exceptional, but it’s adequate. The padding is lined with synthetic leather, as you can see.

Although it isn’t particularly portable, it can be folded and carried on the move at a weight of 158g. JBL on-ear headphones wireless style charge in two hours through USB-C and have a 40-hour battery life. You also have the option of charging for 2 hours in 5 minutes. It enables multipoint connections, allowing you to connect two devices for playback.

You can also take a call on the first device and then switch to another call on the second. To contact Google or Siri, press the multifunction button. It’s one of the most affordable on-ear headphones on the market. It doesn’t have a noise-cancelling capability, so you can hear what’s going on outside. While it may annoy audiophiles, it is ideal for outdoor use, where you can listen to music while keeping an eye out for potential accidents.

This is one of the best inexpensive Bluetooth on-ear headphones, with good performance and ease of use. The buttons for controlling the device are on the right earpad. To skip forward and backward, use the volume buttons. To play/pause or answer/end phone calls, use the middle button. Because this is a multi-purpose button, you can also use it to talk to voice assistants if you double-press it.

This wireless earphones on-ear kind has crisp and precise mids and highs. The low-ends are typical. While the image is adequate, the soundstage isn’t very impressive. Indoors, you may easily hear them, especially in an office with substantial leakage. People sitting next to you may hear a portion of the song you’re playing at medium loud levels.

Best In-Ear Headphones:

Beats Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds:

Specs:

  • Bluetooth Class 1 via Apple’s H1 chip;
  • a single charge can last up to 9 hours;
  • 1.5 hours on a 5-minute charge
  • Li-ion rechargeable battery;
  • Sweat and water resistance certified IPX4.

The Powerbeats Pro in-ear headphones are one of the best portable in-ear headphones available, meant to accompany you everywhere you go. The earhooks are adjustable to fit a variety of ear shapes. Because it can survive both rain and perspiration, you can walk in the rain or jog/run furiously while using this headphone. One of the best sweat-proof in-ear headphones is the Powerbeats Pro.

This wire-free headphone offers excellent stability, ensuring that it stays in your ears, making it the ultimate in-ear sport headphone. The earhooks include silicone tips, and three more tips in small, medium, and large sizes are included. It’s compatible with Siri as well as other voice assistants. Each earbud has the same controls.

Blindly search your fingers for a B button, which can be used for play/pause, next/previous track, and talking to the voice assistant with a long press. Volume is controlled by a dedicated button. You may listen to music with one earphone while charging the other. Rather than being bass-heavy, the headphones provide a balanced sound profile. It may not provide perfect noise cancellation, but it does provide noise isolation.

Traffic noise can be heard outside. If you want ANC, the Airpods Pro in-ear headphones are a good option. Calls are clear and easy to comprehend. With the charging case, the battery life is extended. The headphones are easily capable of lasting more than 24 hours. Two beam-forming microphones are included, as well as a motion and speech accelerometer.

This guarantees that noise levels in the surrounding area are reduced. It’s incredibly simple to connect and set up. Automatic Ear Detection, which can be found in the Bluetooth settings, will automatically play music when you put them on. It only weights 20.3g, making it one of the lightest on-ear wireless headphones available. From one headset to the next, you can transfer audio or podcasts.

So you may share it from your Powerbeats Pro to another Beats model or AirPod that supports audio sharing. It’ll work with Android, and you’ll be able to use apps on iOS as well. If your headphones are lost, use the Find my app on iOS to find and track them.

Mi In-Ear Pro HD Headphones Review:

Specs:

  • 17g in weight
  • 32 ohms speaker impedance
  • 98 decibels of sensitivity
  • 20 – 40,000 Hz is the frequency response range.

Two dynamic and balanced armature drivers with graphene circuitry are used in the Mi dual driver in-ear headphones. Each driver concentrates on and works on various frequencies, resulting in a well-balanced sound. This in-ear headset has a circular form and sits inside the ear at a 45° angle. This has been meticulously and thoughtfully crafted to fit any ear precisely.

It can eliminate outside sounds because it enters the ear ergonomically. The earbuds come in four sizes: XS, S, M, and L. The metallic gloss on the metal headphone body adds durability. The headphone is durable and scratch-resistant. It has a 6-layer anodized anodized anodized anodized anodized anodized anodized anodized anodized anodized anodized anod

The mid- and low-ends are crisp and pleasing, and the sound is rich and full overall. The audio quality is excellent, with no obvious distortion. It’s one of the greatest in-ear headphones for audiophiles thanks to scientific acoustic tuning. The control buttons are simple to use and similar to those seen on other phones. Because the headset has moderate noise leakage, other people may be able to hear you if you dial up the volume.

For clear and loud phone calls, use the mic. In-ear headphones are convenient to carry about with you. Their key selling point is their light weight, and durability is always an issue. They’re also highly cost-effective.

Bose SoundSport In-Ear Headphones Review:

Specs:

  • 18g in weight
  • Three ear suggestions
  • Headphones with a cord

The sound profile of the Bose in-ear headphones is rich and neutral. StayHear tips are made to fit the contour of your ear. There are three different sizes of tips: large, medium, and small. The headphones stay in place using ear tips, allowing you to run or jog while wearing them. Use the carrying case to travel with them while keeping them safe. Exercise will not harm them because they are shielded from sweat and water.

Comfort is a strong suit for Bose wired in-ear headphones. It is extremely light, portable, and fits comfortably without putting any pressure on the ear canal. It’s highly breathable, so the earbuds won’t get hot after a long time of use. The cable is sturdy, and the overall construction quality is satisfactory. It contains an in-line microphone and three control buttons, and it is of comparable quality to other headphones. Play/pause, answer/end phone calls, and pick next and previous tracks can all be done with the mid button.

Use the headphone cable to connect to phones and plug it into the 3.5mm socket on the phone. The Bose in-ear headphone instructions recommends trying an eartip and talking; if your voice is muffled, that is the one for you. It’s made for sports, as the name suggests. You will, however, hear car horns and other noises, allowing you to be aware of them.

This also means that it will not be suitable for use in noisy conditions. The sound quality is decent and adequate, and it will be suitable for sporting activities. It features a balanced audio profile and is open. Because there isn’t much sound leaking, it can even be utilized in an office or library. There are also low-cost options. It will fit most people unless you want to analyze every aspect.

Parting Words: In-Ear or Over- Ear or On-Ear Headphones:

There is no apparent winner when comparing over-ear, on-ear, and in-ear headphones. This is due to the fact that audio is subjective. It is highly dependent on the user’s musical preferences. It also varies greatly depending on the application scenario. In-ear headphones, for example, are ideal if you like lightweight and portable headphones with decent sound.

If you want a wide soundfield with accurate bass, go for over-ear headphones. In headphones, users frequently seek comfort. In that scenario, sticking something into your ear may not be the best option because it might be rather unpleasant. When comparing on-ear and over-ear headphones, on-ear headphones have smaller ear cuffs. If you plan to wear them for an extended amount of time, ensure sure they have enough padding in both the earcups and the band.

They should also be very breathable. Check whether you prefer wired or wireless headphones when selecting the finest headset for you. Outdoors, wireless is easier to use because it does not become tangled. Finally, audio is still a big deal, and in this instance, driver size and engineering will make all the difference.

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FAQ:

Are headphones bad for you?

Despite the fact that headphones aren’t designed to harm your ears, they may have an impact on your hearing. Hearing loss or tinnitus can be caused by a poor fit or continuous use with no breaks. Because it is placed into the ear canal, in-ear headphones are frequently accused of being the most problematic of the three headphone varieties. This isn’t to say that headphones are dangerous, but they must be used with caution.

How to avoid hearing loss while using headphones?

When we mention “prolonged use,” we’re referring to volume. When listened to at higher volumes for long periods of time, it can be detrimental. Simply buy a noise canceling headset if you think you’re turning up the volume owing to background noise. Simply lower the level and use over-ear or on-ear headphones if possible.

Which is more comfortable on-ear or over-ear headphones?

Typically, over-ear headphones are the most comfortable. They’re comfortable to wear, usually have plenty of padding, and don’t put as much strain on your head as on-ear models do.

Do over-ear headphones cause earwax?

Dirt and bacteria are carried by earphones and transferred directly to your ears. You could have an allergic response, a rash, or an infection. If you use earbuds frequently, you’re more prone to accumulate ear wax since they prevent wax from normally exiting the ear canals, resulting in a wax blockage.

Why do gamers go bald?

Sleep deprivation is common in competitive online gaming, especially when individuals are playing the same game in different time zones. Hair loss can be caused by a combination of poor food, bad sleeping habits, and stress.

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