4 Tips for Purchasing Earphones

Choosing a set of earphones gets overwhelming fast. With the number of features, fits, and prices available, narrowing down what you want can be a tough challenge. When you’re looking for a good pair of earphones, think about where you’re going to be using them and what features are most important to you.

Learn About the Different Types of Earphones
Many people use the term “earphones” to describe the type of headphone that fits in your ear, instead of completely covering your ear. But two distinct design styles exist under the umbrella term of earphones.

One type of earphone, usually known as “earbuds,” sits in the outer part of your ear and doesn’t create a seal with your ear canal to block out sound. The most common smartphone accessory earphones are earbuds. The other type, sometimes called “canalphones,” have a foam or silicon seal around the speaker. They’re designed to push farther into your ear; they create a comfortable seal and physically block out sound. Both styles are very lightweight and portable, but you’ll notice a difference in how loud you have to turn up the music, especially in noisy external environments.

Think About Fit
Your earphones should fit you well in order to be comfortable and produce the best sound. Figuring out how to choose a pair of earphones that are going to fit well when they’re encased in plastic or displayed online, however, is a bit difficult. Start with the material. Check whether the earphones come with foam or silicon speaker coverings. Then see how many different tips you get with them. Some manufacturers only offer one or two alternatives, while others offer five or six.

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If you’ve had a hard time in the past finding earphones that fit, get foam tips and make sure you’re getting a variety of options. Some companies, like Comply Foam Tips, manufacture just the tips for many earphone styles. The tips are designed for all sorts of activities and purposes, so if you’re having fit issues, try some custom tips.

Cancel External Sound
One criticism earphones have faced is that, because they don’t block external noise as well as over-the-ear headphones do, listeners have to turn up music louder to hear it, which can damage hearing over time. Noise-canceling earphones are the answer to that criticism.

If you’re concerned about your hearing, then invest in a pair of earphones that don’t just fit into your ear canal, but actively play frequencies to block out the ambient noise around you. They work best with consistent noises, like the hum of an airplane’s engine. Protect your hearing with sound-canceling earbuds from Sony, which allow you to play your music more quietly yet experience better listening quality.

Examine Other Conveniences
Your lifestyle will clue you in on what other features you want in a pair of earphones. Do you do most of your listening at the gym? Bluetooth earphones that clip over your ear will eliminate the annoying cord that connects you to your smartphone or iPod and will make working out a lot easier. If you spend a lot of time at the pool or the beach, waterproof earphones are the way to go.

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Remember that some of these extra conveniences, like Bluetooth and noise cancellation, require batteries. Also, engaging the Bluetooth on your smartphone will drain your device’s battery faster. If you travel frequently or are the kind of person who forgets to plug in your electronics until they’re at 5 percent battery life, get an Anker 2nd Gen Astro portable charger. Portable chargers are smaller than your smartphone and offer enough juice to boost your devices, keeping them from dying at the worst possible time. That way, you don’t have to shy away from a great pair of earphones just because they require a charge now and then.

If it helps, write down what you did or didn’t like about your last pair of earphones. Isolating specific features or problems will help you rule out certain styles and brands. Learning about sound quality is obvious, but remember to think about your lifestyle and fit preferences, too.