What Are Headphones Used For?

Audio technology is still extremely new in society, even if it has become very advanced. It’s hard to imagine that only 120 years ago, you had to listen to live music if you wanted to hear music at all. There were no recordings and no way of listening to your own personal playlist.

Now, new ways of capturing and distributing sound are being invented each year. Every audio device uses some form of speaker to transmit the music and sounds out from the central computerized mechanisms.

Headphones are essentially miniature speakers for your ears. They plug into a central audio device such as a smartphone, computer or MP3 player and then the sound travels up the wires and into each side of the headphones, thus transmitting the audio directly into your ear canals.

Private listening

The most popular use for headphones is to listen to audio privately. You might not realize this, but your ears are constantly picking up background sounds all day, every day. These sounds include the hum of appliances, a television in a nearby room, birds outside, voices, traffic, a phone ringing and even the sound of your own heart beat!

Your brain processes these sounds all day long as just part of daily living. Your brain is focusing on these various sounds at their respective decibel levels, and then letting you know which sound came from which source.

Headphones, especially advanced noise-canceling ones, remove these background sounds. This produces an immersive listening experience. You can enjoy this effect to its full extent when you close your eyes—it’s like being underwater.

When you have headphones on your brain is no longer processing ten sounds at once. It’s just processing the sound coming through your headphones. This creates a personal and private aural environment that’s perfect for focusing, studying and working. They’re also very useful on airplanes to help you relax or sleep as headphones help block out distracting background noise.


Another popular use for headphones is in a recording studio. Singers listen to themselves as they record songs and music producers also use advanced full spectrum headphones to listen to every nuanced note. These headphones are specifically designed to reduce a phenomenon called sound leakage, which refers to when sounds leak out of the headphones.

When singers and musicians are recording tracks it’s very important that headphones capture the music exactly as these creative people envisioned it.

Another type of musician, the DJ, also uses headphones. This is so they can drown out the noises from the crowd dancing around them in order to hear the tracks they’re playing. Specially designed DJ headphones are very large and are designed for supreme noise cancellation, for this very reason.


Many employers have discovered that their employees get more done and are less disruptive when they use headphones. Of course, call center employees use headsets to hear the person speaking on the other line.

Today headphones are allowed in more and more workplaces as the popularity of personal audio devices and smartphones has grown exponentially. Employees are able to tune out normal office distractions and get down to working on complicated projects. It certainly makes the time go faster at work when you’re wearing headphones!

Working out

Thousands of gym users and athletes can’t imagine doing their exercise routines without their headphones on with up-tempo music playing in their ears. At the Olympics, many competitors can be seen listening to music before their races start.

Music has a powerful effect on the brain and helps get athletes psyched up before competing. Headphones inspire and motivate people to get out and get moving. Taking your mind off the workout really helps you reach your fitness goals.

Learning with headphones

Since headphones offer privacy, they’re perfect learning tools. Many museums offer personal audio tours, and you can borrow headphones to listen to the tour. You can also take a foreign language class and use headphones to practice speaking the language out loud without bothering other learners.

Headphones are also an excellent addition to school. Classrooms can use headphones to help students focus and listen to the teacher. College students can listen to lecture recordings with headphones in a noisy study hall.

Headphones have become one of the most popular audio inventions and are used by millions of people worldwide.