What Are The Different Types Of Earphones?

types of earphones

Headphones have become a necessity in our fast-paced lives. Different types of earphones with different features and styles, from several brands, are available on the market today.

Each type of headphones is designed for a specific type of person who wants to get a particular quality of sound from the device. And it is important to learn everything about earphones before purchasing it. This article helps buyers to understand the different types of headphones available on the market as well as the pros and cons of each. Let’s check it out!

Types of Headphones

Circumaural Headphones

Circumaural headphones are also called over-earphones because it goes over the ears and encompasses it. They have circular or ellipsoid earpads which can cover the ears completely.

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Musicians and sound engineers usually use this kind of headphones as the sound quality is perfect. circumaural headphones are designed in such a way that sound waves are trapped within the space between the ear and the ear pad, making the headphone almost like a soundproof room to attenuate external noise.

Pros and Cons

  • Comfortable padding
  • Bulky and heavy
  • Spacious sound quality
  • Not portable
  • Great bass
  • Long use can affect ears

Supra-Aural Headphones

Supra-Aural headphones are also known as on-earphones which have pads that press on the ears rather than covering the ears completely.

This type of headphone generally tends to be smaller and lighter than circumaural headphones, resulting in less attenuation of external noise.

Pros and Cons

  • Less noise isolation
  • Lighter and portable
  • Sound loss
  • Comfortable to use


Earbuds are very popular, the most convenient and inexpensive earphones available on the market today. They are fitted directly in the outer ear, but not inserted into the ear canal.

The earbud is designed in a way that it sits directly outside the ear canal. Like the other headphones, the sound effects may not be good. They provide hardly any acoustic isolation and leave room for ambient noise to seep in; users may turn up the volume dangerously high to compensate, at the risk of causing ear damage.

Pros and Cons

  • Portable
  • They don’t produce crisp sound
  • Easy to use while travelling etc
  • Can damage ears
  • Offer some isolation from external noise

Canal phones/ In-ear Headphones

In-ear headphones are also known as in-ear monitors (IEMs) or canal phones. They are small headphones which are similar to earbuds that are inserted in the canal itself. These can be considered as the most popular maong the different types of earphones.

They are higher-quality in-ear headphones and are used by audio engineers and musicians as well as audiophiles. The Sennheiser CX 180 Street II is a popular example.

Sennheiser CX 180 Street II Review
The outer part of canal phones is made up of a variety of materials, such as plastic, aluminium, ceramic and other metal alloys. Because in- earphones engage the ear canal, they can be prone to sliding out and they block out much of the environmental noise. These earphones are great for athletes to use while running or to use when exercising.

Pros and Cons

  • Comfortable to use while walking, running
  • Lack of sound from the environment can be a problem when sound is a necessary cue for safety or other reasons, as when walking, driving, or riding near or in vehicular traffic.
  • Sound quality is good
  • Overuse can cause ear damage
  • Bass is good

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