How to buy headphones

It’s important to buy the right pair of headphones to suit your needs.

How to buy headphones

There are a number of reasons to buy yourself a pair of headphones. You may wish to listen to music on the go. If you have a tablet or laptop, headphones can make watching a movie whilst travelling easier. For those having trouble with their hearing, wearing headphones to watch television can help you to hear what’s being said on your favourite program, without having to turn the volume up full blast.

Whatever your reason, it’s important to buy the right pair of headphones to suit your needs.

The first thing you need to think about is: what do I find most comfortable? Some people find in-ear headphones (the small buds which sit inside the outer end of your ear canal) uncomfortable, whilst others find big, over-ear headphones to be clunky. Most headphones specialty shops (there are a few in the big cities), as well as larger technology retailers, such as JB Hi-Fi, will allow you to try the over-ear headphones on, which can be a great way to determine which ones fit most comfortably.

The second thing to consider is how you will be using them. If you wish to travel light, a small set of ear buds (another name for in-ear headphones) can easily be stowed away in your pocket or bag. If you will be using them somewhere noisy, such as on an aeroplane, an over-ear headset can help to block out the sounds around you.

The third thing to consider is sound quality. The best music to listen to when testing a set of headphones is classical, as the range of different instruments will really test how well your headphones respond to different pitches and types of sound. Bring some music with you on an mp3 player, iPod, iPhone, Walkman or portable CD player, or ask the shop staff to play a classical track through the tester headphones. Sound quality is a matter of taste – if you like the way it sounds, then the sound quality is good. It doesn’t matter how many fancy components a pair of headphones has, at the end of the day you’re the one listening through them, so be sure to test out a few different brands and models to find the headphones which sound the best to you.

Special features can also factor in. Noise cancelling headphones block out the noise around you by playing a white noise to cover the sounds of your environment. Noise isolating headphones create a physical seal around your ears to help keep the music in and the other sounds out. Wireless headphones do not have a cord, and can be useful when you are sitting a long way from whatever you are listening to, such as headphones for watching television.

It is also important to check whether your product comes with a warranty, especially if you are thinking of making a more costly purchase.

Do you have any tips for those purchasing new headphones? Have you had any successes? Are there any styles of which you would steer-clear?


    To make a comment, please register or login
    1st Nov 2013
    As my wife is hard of hearing I bought some Philips headphones this week from Dick Smith (SHC5100/79) for $99.98. When I connected them to the headphones socket on my TV, via the transmitter, the headphones worked OK but the sound from the TV speakers was dead. Dick Smith then sold ne a Stereo Plug to 2 RCA Plugs cable to plug into the red and white sockets and it works like a charm. Couldn't be more pleased.
    Chris Mayor, Bendigo

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