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The Pros and Cons of using Headphones

Audiophiles love getting in to big arguments over the use of headphones or regular speakers. In reality, both methods of listening to music have pros and cons. Headphones are certainly quite capable in certain circumstances, and less desirable in others. There are many pros and cons of using headphones. Let’s take a look at a few.

Sound quality

There is little doubt that a good set of headphones can easily provide the best sound quality possible. Headphones can block out surrounding noises, isolating the sound being put out by the headphone speaker. Headphones are the best way to control the listening environment. Regular speakers rely on proper placement and the acoustics of the room you are in for best sound management. Headphones don’t have these limitations.


Let’s face it – you aren’t likely going to want to drag a four foot tall, 300 pound speaker stack around with you. Even small desktop speakers aren’t in the slightest bit portable. Headphones are really the only choice if you want to listen to anything outside of your living room or bedroom.


Headphones, particularly earbuds and close-backed full-size cans, are the best way to listen to music (or anything else) without having to project that sound around the room. In some circumstances, this is an essential feature of headphones. Libraries, coffee shops, subways, parks – all of these are places that you are going to need headphones if you want to listen to anything in public.


This is one of the cons of using headphones. Even the most expensive, comfortable headphones are not going to be as comfortable as not having anything on you head at all. In ear earbuds can get very uncomfortable after a few hours use. Even full size, over the ear cans can rub in the wrong places after a while. Tolerance for wearing headphones varies depending on the person and the particular headphones being worn – but make no mistake, they will eventually become a pain.

Hard to share

This is sort of the opposite of privacy. Headphones aren’t a good choice is you need a lot of people to hear something all at the same time. Sort of obvious, but it bears mentioning.


With a few exceptions, if you are wearing headphones, you are going to be tethered to your music source. Sure, there are wireless headphones, but in general, they aren’t very good or easy to use. Depending on where you are, a wire may or may not be a pain. Just bear in mind that headphones mean chords.

So there you are – a few of the pros and cons of using headphones. Of course, others may have their own lists. There are just some of the issues I’ve come across while using headphones over the years.