A Case for Over-ear Headphones

Have you ever seen one of those charts that shows Apple AirPods revenue as measured against other tech companies? If not, I’ve included one here:

See the source image

It’s amazing that AirPods do more revenue as a single product than companies like Adobe, Nvidia, AMD and Spotify do in their total revenues. Expand that figure out to all Bluetooth-enabled, in-ear headphones, and it’s even more astounding.

It makes sense, though. We’re constantly on our phones. Being at home means we’re multitasking more and moving from place to place. At work, open office noise often has employees using in ear headphones for calls or deep work. Our kids are on Zoom calls, watching YouTube and FaceTiming each other.

With phone screen time averaging between 3-4.5 hours a day on average, the prevalence of in-ear wireless headphones is naturally high.

In December, my daughter’s ear was hurting. It became painful enough for her to schedule a doctor’s appointment. The doctor didn’t want her to come into the office because of the current situation, so they did a telehealth appointment and she prescribed antibiotics over the phone.

A month later, her ears were still causing her pain. She scheduled another appointment and the doctor suggested a phone consult again. She declined and said she really needed to be seen. The doctor agreed and did the appointment in the parking lot, looking into her ears. Instead of finding an ear infection or sinus related issue, she found severely impacted ear wax blocking the ear canals.

What does this all have to do with AirPods? Well, my daughter wears them constantly for school, TikTok, FaceTime and watching movies and YouTube on her devices. As it turns out, air flow through the ear canal is extremely important to ear health, and constantly blocking the ear canal can lead to ear wax impaction.

See the source image

All of this makes a compelling case for over-ear headphones as an alternate to in-ear devices, especially for long periods of time. It’s best to use your AirPods for short-term activities that require light and mobile devices. For other tasks or activities like Zoom calls at a desk, online classes and watching videos, it seems extremely advantageous to have a secondary set of over-the-ear wireless headphones that allow your ears to breathe and stay healthy.

I’ll be getting some for my kids post haste.

What are your favorite over-ear headphones? I’d love your recommendations in the comments.