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AUDIO

Types

The type of headphones you buy depends mostly on your lifestyle and somewhat on your budget. Some people buy different types of headphones for specific uses, such as a pair to wear while exercising and another for listening to high-fidelity music.

On ear:

Also called supra-aural, these headphones are usually lighter than over-the-ear models and don’t press on the sides of your head, they press on the ears. Many wearers find them more comfortable for long listening sessions, but they can allow more ambient sound to enter. On-ear headphones, like over-the-ear, also come in open and closed versions. Most of these models use an adjustable strap that fits over, or behind, your head to hold them in place. Some can fold for storage and come with carrying pouches.

Over-the-ear, closed:

Also called circumaural, these models cup your ears, sealing in sound and muffling ambient noise. But they might also block out some things you want to hear, such as a doorbell or a child’s cry.

Over-the-ear, open:

These headphones have openings in the ear cups. You’ll be able to hear more external sounds, but sound can also escape, perhaps enough to disturb someone nearby.

Earbuds:

These earphones rest in the bowl of the ear, outside the ear canal, though a portion might extend into the canal. Earbuds are fairly common, as they typically come with iPods and other portable audio players.

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