What are Headphones?


Headphones are listening devices that are placed over, on, or in the ears of a user depending on the type at use. Headphones allow a user to listen to the desired sound that the user wants to hear such as music, a tape recording. etc. Unlike headsets, which have a microphone attached to them, headphones contain only speakers, which allows a user to hear sound output, but do not have microphones, so no recording is possible with headphones.

Headphones come chiefly in three type of packages:
Circumaural headphones- Circumaural headphones are headphones that have large earcups that completely fit over the entire ears of a user. Being that they enclose completely over the ears, they isolate the ears from outside sound and, thus, have great noise cancellation of outside ambient noise. Thus, a user can listen to his or her music with hearing only a minimal external noise. The drawback of circumaural headphones is that they are very large and cumbersome, being that they are have to large enough to completely enclose over a user's head.
Supra-aural headphones- Supra-aural headphones are headphones that rest on the ears. They are smaller than circumaural headphones so they are easier to carry around and make for a more portable headphones. However, because they don't completely enclose over the ears, they allow a great deal more noise to come into the headphones; thus, their noise cancellation isn't great.
Earbud headphones- Earbud headphones are headphones that go inside the ears. They are the smallest of all headphones and are the greatest for portability purposes, being able to fit practically anywhere. Just like supra-aural headphones, the drawback of earbud headphones is their noise cancellation ability. Being that they don't enclose over the ears, they allow a great deal of ambient noise to enter into the earcups.

The other distinctions that differentiate headphones are whether they have mono speaker output or stereo speaker output. Stereo headphones allow play out sounds from two independent channels and thus can play back distinct sounds from the two speakers. Mono headphones only plays back sound from one channel, so if a user is listening to a two-speaker mono headphones, the same exact sound will come out of both speakers. The majority of headphones today are stereo, because only stereo headphones can play back music with the original sound, since music and many other type of recordings are produced in stereo, having left and right channels.

To learn more about headphones, see Headphones Technical Specifications- Explained. This explains all the major tech specs which normally come with headphones.

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