Are headphones and earbuds the same thing?


Earphones and earbuds are the same things.

To be more specific, one is a subset of the other. Earphones are defined as having no external parts that protrude from the casing, whereas earbuds have at least two separate pieces for each speaker: one that sits inside your ear canal, known as “noise isolation” or “passive noise cancellation” earbuds, and another outside them that connects to your audio source (this piece is called an “ear hook”). So, in this case, if it goes into your ear without needing something attached to it to hold it in place then it’s an earbud even if one part is missing.

That being said there are still some differences between headphones and earbuds. A proper “earbud” is designed to sit partially in the ear canal while still being outside it enough to allow sound to travel through them without issue. By contrast, an on-ear headphone grasps your entire outer ear and presses against it or cups around it instead of sitting in your ear canal as a true bud would. There are also over-the-ear headphones that go over the top of your entire ear much like their on-ear counterparts but do so with full enclosures instead of just padding so you don’t feel pinched. Then there are in-ear monitors (IEMs) which are almost exactly opposite from their not-at-all named cousins: they fit all the way into the inner part of your ear canal, making them sound almost custom-made.

In the end, it’s all about what you personally prefer. If you want something that sits mostly outside of your ear and doesn’t get in the way when wearing a hat or putting your hair up then an earbud is probably for you. But if you’d rather have a nice snug fit to keep from losing them, don’t mind paying more and absolutely must have noise-canceling and/or extra bass then go with over-the-ear or on-ears. And if you just like to jam out while walking down the street and don’t care much about comfort while doing so then perhaps some IEMs might be best for you The bottom line is this: “earbud” is always a subset of “earphone”, and the same applies to headphones.

So now that you know that you can freely say “I’m looking for some earphones” or “my new headphones are awesome!” without ever having to worry about which word to use – for now anyway! It’s bound to change in the future with all these specifications around. If it becomes common practice one day I’ll update this article accordingly but until then you can just assume they’re interchangeable unless told otherwise. If anyone has any more info on this topic please share in the comments section below! Thank frickin’ god that’s over with, my fingers were hurting from all that typing :P

Can you use earbuds to talk on the phone?

If you’re talking about the earbuds that came with your phone, then yes. If you’re talking about earbuds that have a microphone and control button to answer calls then yes those should work as well. Though the sound quality may not be as nice. (:

What is the difference between earphones and headphones?

Headphones and earphones are the same things minus one piece of important information: headphones go over the top of your ears while earphones sit inside them or on them. Otherwise, they both use speakers to produce a sound which would then travel through an audio cable into either an amplifier or directly into your audio source. The main difference is what’s sitting against your head, outside or inside your ear. You can use any of them to listen to music or make phone calls, but the headphone’s size and design is best used for all-around purposes while earphones are mostly meant for personal (i.e., non public) listening like plugging into your MP3 player or iPhone when you want to switch off from screaming children on public transport or keep your conversations private in an open space. The other thing that has changed with headphones is noise cancellation which can be found in over-the-ear ones as well as some of the older styles of on-ears headphones, though this comes at a price usually attached to quality so it really depends on what you’re after if you care about sound quality versus silence.

Can I use earphones as headphones?

Yes, but not all of them. Because of the difference in their design (the fact that headphones go over your ears rather than inside them), you can’t use regular earbud headphones (ones that come with most mobile phones and MP3 players and fit into the outer part of your ear canal like a snug plug) unless they’re specifically advertised as “can be used as headphones” or “folds up to wear around the neck when not using”. And even then you’ll likely notice a difference in sound quality because there’s no padding wrapped around your head, so there’s an increased chance the sound will escape the gap between the earphone/in-ear headphone body and your ears which could result in poor noise isolation or simply no noise isolation at all.

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