Headphones Buying Guide

An annoying co-worker eating crisps , a noisy bus or airplane , or just plain reality.  Whatever the reason, headphones give us an immediate escape from whatever we don't feel like listening to.  This is such a simple concept, yet technology makes headphone selection difficult.  No bother, use this guide to pick out a set of headphones for yourself and continue to drown out your everyday nuisances.

Headphone Types

Full-sized headphones completely cover your ears with comfort.

Maximum outside noise filtering.

Recommended Use:

  • Airplanes
  • In-Home (with stereo)

Earbud headphones fit inside your ear.

Moderate outside noise filtering.

Recommended Use:

  • Excercise/Walking
  • MP3 Players

Standard headphones offer simple sound enjoymen.

Minimal/moderate outside noise filtering.

Recommended Use:

  • Universal
  • Economical sound solution

Activity-Specific Headphones

Gaming Headphones

Online gamers need headphones that are still comfortable to wear after hours of play and have microphone capabilities (for trash-talking).  Here are a few headphone models designed specifically for gaming:

Plantronics GameCom Pro Digital Stereo PC Gaming Headset 

  • USB plug-and-play.
  • In-line volume/mute controls.
  • Noise cancelling microphone.

Turtle Beach Ear Force X1 Gaming Headphones 

  • Eliminates voice-chat interference.
  • Amplified for optimal sound detail.
  • Budget-friendly.

Razer HP-1 Barracuda 8-Channel Gaming Headphones 

  • Eight discrete audio drivers for pinpoint positional accuracy.
  • Advanced noise cancellation technology.
  • 5.1 audio.

Sports Headphones

Much like earbud headphones, sports headphones are designed to stay put during excessive movement.

Sony Street Style Headphones 

  • Fit securely behind neck.
  • Ultra light-weight.
  • Full-sounding bass with Sony Acoustic Turbo circuit.

Sennheiser MX75 Sport Headphones 

  • Secure fit and comfort guaranteed.
  • Water-resistant.
  • Twist-to-fit system ensures best possible fit for anyone.

Phillips Sports In-Ear Headphones 

  • Comfortable and secure around-ear fit.
  • Extremely durable.
  • Optimized for extra bass response.

Headphone Safety

  • Never wear headphones while driving or operating heavy equipment.
  • Use the volume limit function on your MP3 player if available.
  • Don't wear headphones if jogging near traffic.

Avoid Hearing Loss

It is usually not practical to measure the decibel levels of the sounds that you hear, and accurate measurement usually requires a trained professional. However, you can follow these simple rules to identify hazardous levels and avoid hearing damage:

  • Avoid sound that drowns out normal speech. If you need to shout to talk with someone a few feet away, then the level can cause hearing damage. This applies to all sound, including sound from your headphones. Use hearing protection, move to a quieter area, or turn down the volume.
  • When using headphones, keep the volume low. To safely use personal music players with no time limit, keep the volume low enough that people do not have to shout for you to hear them. Some sealed or noise-cancelling headphones block out nearby conversation even with the music off. With these, set the volume so you would be able to hear people talking if you were using regular headphones.
  • Do not turn up the volume on your headphones to drown out outside noise. If you want to use a personal music player in a noisy area, use sealed or noise-canceling headphones that reduce outside noise so that you don't have to turn up the volume. The combination of outside noise and sound from your headphones can damage your hearing.
  • Reset the volume when using replacement headphones. Some headphones are louder than other headphones, even if the volume control setting is the same. When you change headphones, always reset the volume starting from a low level.

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