How Do Headphones Run?

13/07/13 5:19 AM

To put it incredibly simply, your earphone includes a bit of plastic that moves in accordance to the signals received out of your gadget it’s connected to. The plastic vibrates due to a metal curl that’s connected to the magnet, that facilitates the plastic to form the noise waves that pass into your ear.

That is it, in truth. It seems easy enough, but I could not have considered it.

Jezen Thomas at eHow.com offers a further thorough clarification to us, he states that,

“Earphones consist of a speaker cone, an iron coil, a magnet and speaker cables. When earphones are plugged into a music-playing device like a stereo, electricity is sent along the speaker cables. The speaker cables feed this electrical current through the iron coil, which behaves as an electromagnet. The coil then attracts or repels the permanent magnet, depending on the electrical current sent by the music-playing device. This causes the coil to move, which subsequently pushes and pulls the speaker cone. As the speaker cone vibrates as a result of this movement, it creates sonic waves that resonate through the air and are transferred through small bones and membranes inside your ear”.

Obviously, you can find different types of headphones, but basically, that is it.

Some earpieces, however, do present bonus functions. Noise reducing earpieces, as an example, can generate a small field of white sound around the speaker itself, which acts as something of a vacuum and has the effect of disabling exterior noise. These headsets are better for the health of the internal ear than most other sorts. Sam Costello at About.com

“The noise around us can contribute to cause us to change how we listen to an iPod. If there’s a lot of noise nearby, it’s likely that we’ll turn up the iPod’s volume, thus increasing the chances of hearing loss. To cut down on, or eliminate, ambient noise, use noise-deadening or –cancelling headphones. They’re more expensive, but your ears will thank you”. 

Chris Woodford, post for ‘Explain That Stuff.com’, supplies an in depth account of the core differences between earphones and speakers. Although essentially working in the same way, you’ll find variants involving the two, it appears. He states,

“The biggest difference between loudspeakers and headphones is, of course, size. A loudspeaker needs to set all the air moving in a room so you can hear the sound it’s making, but the speaker in a headphone only has to move the volume of air inside your ear canal. That’s why it can be so much smaller and more discreet”.

 If, even after all this technology discuss, you’re still considering considering what is happening to your headphones, the Youtube user Cayde Brown is known for a series of videos called ‘Take Apart’, which may be of significance. In one episode (which I’ll link HERE), Cayde takes a set of headsets apart and reveals to us exactly how they work.

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