Understanding What is Over Ear Headphones: Features and Benefits Explained

Table of Contents


Over ear headphones, as their name suggests, are a type of headphones designed to envelop the entire ear, offering unparalleled levels of audio immersion, comfort, and sound quality. Given the wide variety of headphone types available on the market, it’s crucial to understand their differences to ensure that you choose the most suitable option for your audio needs.

What are Over Ear Headphones?

A. Definition and Characteristics

Over ear headphones, also known as circumaural headphones, are characterized by large pads that fit entirely around the ears, providing a comfortable and secure fit. This design feature allows for excellent sound isolation, as the headphones create a barrier between the listener’s ears and their external environment. As a result, over ear headphones are favored by audiophiles, gamers, and those looking to escape the distractions of the outside world.

B. Types of Over Ear Headphones

There are several types of over ear headphones available, including:

1. Wired Over Ear Headphones: These headphones connect to devices using an audio cable. Although this limits mobility, wired headphones are known for their reliable sound quality and latency-free audio transmission.

2. Wireless Over Ear Headphones: Connecting to devices via Bluetooth, these headphones offer enhanced versatility and freedom of movement. They typically require periodic charging but are increasingly favored for their convenience and tangle-free design.

3. Noise-Cancelling Over Ear Headphones: Typically featuring active noise-cancelling technology, these headphones use built-in microphones to detect ambient noise and generate an opposite sound wave to cancel it out. This allows for a quieter and more immersive listening experience.

Over Ear Headphones vs. Other Headphone Types

A. Over Ear Headphones vs. On Ear Headphones

On ear headphones, or supra-aural headphones, have smaller pads that rest on top of the wearer’s ears. When comparing comfort, over ear headphones generally have the advantage, as they distribute pressure more evenly and don’t press directly on the ears. Moreover, over ear headphones typically have better sound quality and noise isolation due to their larger size and coverage.

B. Over Ear Headphones vs. Earbuds

Earbuds, also known as in-ear headphones, sit inside the listener’s ear canal. In terms of hearing safety, over ear headphones are generally considered less damaging, as they deliver sound from a greater distance and don’t generate the same level of pressure inside the ear canal. Furthermore, over ear headphones generally offer superior audio quality, particularly in terms of bass response and soundstage, due to their larger drivers and greater separation between the listener’s ears and the audio source.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Over Ear Headphones

A. Sound Quality

When evaluating over ear headphones, consider the following key aspects of sound quality:

– Bass response and frequency range: A wider frequency range typically translates to a more versatile audio performance, while a strong bass response heightens the listener’s sense of immersion.

– Dynamic range: This refers to the contrast between the loudest and softest sounds that the headphones can reproduce. A greater dynamic range allows for a more accurate audio representation.

B. Comfort and Fit

To ensure maximum user comfort, evaluate the following elements:

– Ear pad material and size: Over ear headphones with larger, cushioned, and breathable pads are more comfortable, particularly for extended listening sessions.

– Headband adjustability: An adjustable headband ensures a secure yet comfortable fit that accommodates different head shapes and sizes.

C. Connectivity

Consider how you plan to connect the headphones to your devices and whether you value convenience, mobility, or sound quality more:

– Wired vs. wireless options: Weigh the benefits of wired and wireless over ear headphones depending on your individual preferences and usage patterns.

– Bluetooth compatibility: If opting for wireless over ear headphones, verify their compatibility with your devices and check their supported Bluetooth codecs to ensure good audio quality.


Understanding what over ear headphones are and their differences from other headphone types is essential to make informed decisions when choosing the ideal audio equipment. By evaluating sound quality, comfort, fit, and connectivity options, you can select the best over ear headphones tailored to your individual needs and preferences.


1. Are over ear headphones better than on ear headphones?

Over ear headphones generally offer better sound quality, noise isolation, and comfort compared to on ear headphones. However, on ear headphones may be more portable and lightweight, making them suitable for certain usage scenarios.

2. Are over ear headphones safe for my hearing?

Over ear headphones are generally considered safer for your hearing than earbuds, as they deliver sound from a greater distance and don’t create the same level of pressure inside the ear canal. However, it’s important to listen at moderate volume levels and take breaks to protect your hearing.

3. What is noise-cancelling technology in over ear headphones?

Noise-cancelling technology in over ear headphones uses built-in microphones to detect ambient noise and generate an opposite sound wave to cancel it out. This reduces the external sound heard by the listener and provides a more immersive audio experience.

4. Can over ear headphones be used for phone calls?

Many over ear headphones come with built-in microphones and can be used to make phone calls, particularly wireless models with Bluetooth connectivity.

5. How do I clean my over ear headphones?

To clean over ear headphones, remove the ear pads and gently wipe them with a damp cloth and mild soap. Allow them to air dry before reattaching them to the headphones. For the headphone body, use a dry cloth to wipe away dust and debris.