On Ear vs Over Ear Headphones

What’s the Difference Between over ear and on-ear headphones

When choosing headphones, you should decide what you want to get from them. Of course, there are many articles on this topic on the Internet, but audiophile headphones reviews will be the most informative.

Of course, sound quality is an important parameter for everyone, but for some, comfort and form factors are equally important. We agree that it is difficult to enjoy music when you feel physical discomfort.

This issue is worth approaching radically and studying the typology of headphones. However, we will not leave the topic and consider the differences between over-ear and on-ear headphones.

Over Ear Headphones


Over-ear headphones

These headphones can be both open and closed types. The term over-ear indicates how they cover their ears. Their ear cushions encircle the ear and form an enclosed space. These headphones are usually very comfortable; enclosed models provide isolation from environmental sounds and prevent sound loss.

Difference Between over ear and on ear headphones

Over-ear headphones provide a good immersion effect and a sense of the volume of sound space, effectively shield external noise. Usually, they are used in cases where you do not need to monitor what is happening in the external space: at home when listening to music or watching a movie, in the office, when you need to delve into work, or on the road in noisy environments (metro, train, plane).

Over-ear headphones are ideal for recording songs, and DJs are ideal for monitoring audio in a noisy environment.

On-ear headphones

Headphones of this type are close in design to over-ear but differ in that they do not wrap around the ear, but lie on it. Usually, these headphones are lighter, which means more comfortable. However, since they do not form an enclosed space like full-sized ones, on-ear headphones do not have the same sound insulation.

On ear headphones

Because on-ear headphones are located at a noticeable (by the standards of sound) distance from the ear canal, for their full sounding, a higher volume level is required. On-ear headphones can have a different type of mount: using the ear hook or using a headband.

Convenience and wearing comfort

When choosing full-sized headphones of a closed type, the larger the diameter of the cup, the better. As for the on-ear headphones – the smaller they are, the better, and the ear cups made of fabric or leather reduce pressure on the ear.

Weight is important for prolonged use, but in most cases, the lighter the headphones, the more comfortable it is to wear. Ideal for long-term use – super lightweight portable earphones with ear pads.

The headphone bow also affects wearing comfort. Most of the existing models come with a vertical arm, there are also models with a neck arch.

Rotating cups are another important factor affecting comfort. This is especially noticeable in full-size headphones. The cups of such headphones can be set in any convenient position.