What do cramped airplanes, crowded subways, long car rides and your noisy desk have work have in common? They are all places where a good pair of headphones can mean the difference between a soothing, controlled environment and noisy, stressful situation. The right music can even have a positive impact on your mind!
While some may be content with the stock headphones that comes with the iPhone or mp3 player, there are other options available to make your listening experience nothing short of symphonic. When purchasing headphones, it is important to consider a few styles and decide which fits your needs the best.
Your Ear Gives Hugs to Earbuds
Earbuds are one of the most common styles of headphones. These fit snugly inside your ear and pump the tunes directly into your eardrums. This is great if you plan on being active, including running workouts and scurrying from work to your favorite coffee joint at lunch. They are also very portable, and can be put inside your pocket when not in use. However, when you choose portability and size, you give up some sound quality. They are often uncomfortable, as the inside of your ear can vary in shape and size. Extended use of these can also damage your eardrums, since earbuds will block out less outside noise and sit close to your inner ear. No use in going deaf listening to “All the Small Things” by blink-182 for the 400th time in a row.
No Fear with On-Ear Headphones
The next style of headphones is the on-ear. This style sits right on top of your ear and is capable of delivering a much better sound. They also do a better job than earbuds when it comes to blocking outside noise. If you plan on wearing headphones for an extended period of time, this style will be more comfortable in the long run. Some downsides include wearing these if you have glasses or earrings; the wires and pads may interfere. These also won’t totally block out the surrounding noise, and can leak out your own sound to those around you, which can be bad if your guilty listening pleasure is “Best Song Ever” by One Direction.
This style of headphones is considered top of the line. They fit over your entire ear, acting as a seal that keeps your music in and blocking outside sounds. They have lots of padding for added comfort and can offer a full sound with increased bass and maximum noise levels. However, the sheer size makes them hard to transport and can also interfere with your glasses and jewelry. Since the headphones are so big and powerful, they can occasionally deliver “hot ear” after extended use. And nobody wants to have hot ears while listening to “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver.
Extra Features for Human Creatures
Now that you know the basic headphone styles, check out a few features to improve your listening experience. The most popular feature is noise cancellation, where a small microphone in the headphones captures the noise around you, and plays an inverted version of that sound into your ears, essentially cancelling all outside noise. You thought physics class was a waste of time! Of course these require a power source, so they can only be used with batteries. Wireless headphones will free you from that pesky cord using Bluetooth technology. Once again, these rely totally on a battery, so have extras around if you don’t want to have silence midway through “Boyfriend” by Justin Bieber.
These are just some suggestions when buying headphones. If you plan on purchasing a high-end style, ask to test it out beforehand. You may be surprised at what you are missing. For example, did you know that there is a piano player in Rage Against the Machine? You’ll never know if you don’t give a great pair of headphones a try. Don’t forget to use your new listening device with some great music! Check out a few streaming suggestions from our Zing Blog.
Do you have any headphone suggestions? Share in the comments below!