In-ear or half-in-ear earbuds: What is the difference?

There are two types of wireless earbuds: in-ear and half in-ear. In terms of sound, the fit of the bluetooth earphones provides a completely different experience. What is the difference? And which earbuds are suitable for me? In-ears or half in-ears? You will find out in this article.

In-ear & half in-ear earbuds: this is what they look like

The difference between in-ear and half-in-ear earbuds is in the part that makes contact with your ear or ear canal.

In ears vs. half in ears

In-ear earbuds

In-ear earbuds have a silicone ear tip. That part goes into your ear canal. The ear tips of in-ear earbuds are bendable and flexible. In-ear earbuds go deeper into your ear than half in-ear earbuds.

Half in-ear earbuds

The half in-ear earbuds (also called semi-in ear earphones) are already made in such a way that they fit in your ear. Half in-ear earbuds lie in your ear close to your ear canal. They are therefore harder (almost always plastic) and they do not have an extra silicone attachment that fits in your ear.

Advantages of in-ear

In ear

Whether in-ear earbuds or half in-ear earbuds suit you has to do with taste and habituation. There are a number of advantages and disadvantages per type. These are a few typical features of in-ear earbuds.

  • More bass (low tones)
  • Less ambient noise
  • Go deeper into your ear canal
  • Are slightly firmer

And that makes in-ear earbuds suitable for some and less suitable for others:

More suitable for: Less suitable for:
✔️Sound freaks
✔️Lover of lots of bass
✔️Concentrate with passive noise canceling
❌Participating in traffic
❌You cannot hear your own voice as well

The real sound freak often goes for in-ear Bluetooth earphones because they better accompany the low tones. That's because they are deeper in your ears. The ear tip goes deeper into your ear and closes better. The low tones can therefore be transferred much better.

Thus, less sound can 'dissipate' during transfer. The same goes the other way: hardly any sound enters your ears from the outside when you wear in-ear earphones. That is again because the silicone ear tips seal so well.

Not hearing ambient noise while wearing earbuds is called passive noise canceling. This allows you to close properly. In-ear earbuds are therefore useful during moments of concentration.

Do you cycle, walk, or run a lot with earphones? Realize that you do not hear much from your surroundings. That can be dangerous. A sound is often the first indicator of danger.

Also, calling can be more difficult because you cannot hear yourself properly. That makes talking more difficult. It takes some getting used to. Earbuds in higher price ranges (100 euros and higher) often have built-in techniques that allow you to hear your own voice amplified through the microphone. That fixes this problem.

Also, it can help enormously to foam ear tips >to use. These are the attachments of the earbuds that go in your ear only, and these attachments are made of foam. It is extremely comfortable and provides some more ambient noise. That makes calling a lot easier.

  • See the list of best budget in ear earbuds

Advantages of half in-ear

Half in ear oordopjes

With half in-ear earbuds, you can see that the part that goes into your ear is made of hard plastic. The half in-ear earphones hang in your ear, as it were, and do not sit in, but sit against your ear canal while wearing.

  • Less bass (low tones)
  • More ambient sound
  • Are a bit looser in your ear

Because a silicone funnel does not point into your ear with half-in ears, the sound cannot be guided easily into your ear canal. In particular, low tones disappear as a result. That is the reason that with half in-ears slightly less low tones can be heard.

Because the half in-ears with a hard housing are in your ear cup, there is still room for ambient noise. Ambient noise can be useful in some cases. For example when you are on the phone. In other cases (for example, if you want to concentrate) it is just awkward. So think carefully about what suits you best before buying earphones.

The half in-ear earbuds are in your ear and have a somewhat harder housing. In general, they are less clamped than in-ear earbuds. If you want to do sports while wearing an earbud, it is better to buy in-ear earbuds instead of half-in-ears. Even if you go to the gym (where uplifting music is often played), it is better to take in-ears.

More suitable for: Less suitable for:
✔️Participate in traffic
✔️Calling: you hear your own voice

❌Lovers of bass
❌Concentrate: you hear ambient noise
❌Quiet spaces: environment absorbs sound

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