Hipster in the LibraryIn our society, almost everyone has a smartphone. If you are among the millions of people with a smartphone, you most likely also own earbuds. Unless you’ve lost them, thrown them away, or ruined them by putting them through the washer and dryer (which I often do), you may still have the earbuds that came with your smartphone. What am I trying to say? Earbuds are everywhere. They dominate the world. Especially for the teenage market, you’ll regularly see young adults with earbuds glued to them wherever they go. This strikes a question – are headphones better than earbuds? Is there any advantage? Which is best?

Short Answer: They’re Different

The short answer is, I use both headphones and earbuds, each for a different use. Let’s break it down!

Convenience and Durability

For convenience and durability, I have to give it to earbuds. Earbuds are highly convenient. They can be stashed in any pocket or purse, and you can whip them out in seconds and have some tunes. Earbuds can also take a beating, and are more durable than headphones. Another thing to mention in the realm of durability would be sweatproofing. Many earbuds are actually sweatproof, so even if you sweat like a pig, your earbuds will not suffer. This is a more difficult challenge for headphones to tackle.

Sound Quality, Style, and Health

For sound quality, I have to hand it to headphones. They’re simply hard to beat. While some higher end earbuds from Bose and Jaybird try to compete, nothing beats the full, superior sound of headphones. In addition, headphones are stylish. Some headphones, *cough* Beats, are even built for style over sound. There’s one more rather interesting fact about headphones. They’re better for your hearing. What? Yes. According to a Medical Daily article, “To preserve your hearing, doctors recommend headphones, which sit on your head like earmuffs, rather than earbuds, which fit inside your ear.” What can we learn from this? If you’re concerned about your hearing, headphones are better for your ears.

There Are Uses For Each One

I can think of several scenarios where the different types of speakers would come in handy.

If you’re out and about and you suddenly want to listen to some jams, if you’re in an intense work out and you need a sweatproof solution, or if you’re just listening to a quick video, earbuds are for you.

If you want superior sound, high comfort, and the best thing for your hearing, headphones are for you.

Why Do Teens Love Earbuds?

There are several reasons why teenagers tend to choose earbuds over headphones. They’re cheap, durable, they sound decent, and they’re low profile. Many teens listen to music when they most likely shouldn’t – often while in school. Earbuds offer a low profile solution, which makes for a lower chance of getting caught. Most teens aren’t concerned about hearing either, so earbuds are perfect for them.

Headphones Are Sort Of Nerdy


I’m gonna be honest, we live in a society where headphones are sort of nerdy. We use earbuds for everything, so when you come across someone in public who’s wearing headphones, it can almost make you giggle. Seeing some Beats headphones is one thing, but seeing someone wear some Audio Technica ATH-m50x can make for a humorous experience. Headphones areclunky! For that reason, only dedicated audiophiles tend to wear them.


Whether you’re a headphone lover, or an earbud lover, both will make for a great audio experience. Both have different uses where they stand out, but in the end, they will both serve the same purpose – to bring music to your ears!


Kevin Nether