February 08, 2020 3 min read

When your school is investing in audio equipment, you have a lot of factors to consider: the number of students you’re buying for, whether you’ll reuse the equipment each year, what devices they’ll be used with, and how the purchase will impact your budget. 

Another decision? The choice between headphones and earbuds. While the two products work similarly, there are pros and cons to each depending on your situation. Here are five things to consider as you weigh your options: 

Student Age

Most earbuds don’t fit comfortably in younger students’ ears. On top of that, earbuds can easily rise to volumes that aren’t safe for little ears. For these reasons, we always recommend choosing over-ear or on-ear headphones for kids third grade and below. 

Flex Phones are a great over-ear option that are designed specifically for kids. They’re practically indestructible, and their built-in volume control keeps noise levels safe for kids.



Cost is a priority for everyone buying learning headphones— whether it’s teachers supplying their own classrooms out-of-pocket, admins carefully watching the school’s budget, or parents checking off the school supply list. 

This is one area where earbuds usually win out over headphones. Since earbuds are smaller, they’re typically less expensive to produce and ship, making them less expensive for you.

school earbuds blue


However, if you’re hoping to use your audio equipment for years, sturdy headphones or headsets may end up being cheaper in the long run. Earbuds, though cheaper, typically don’t last as long and may need to be replaced more frequently. 

Sharing School Headphones or Earbuds

If students will be sharing the equipment, headphones are typically the better choice. While students aren’t likely to catch illnesses from either product, most people are understandably squeamish about sharing earbuds with others.

 For shared devices, we almost always recommend headphones over earbuds. If you strongly prefer earbuds, you can choose disposable earbuds and provide a fresh pair for each use or encourage students to keep the pair they use for as long as it works.

Disposable Earbuds at Learning Headphones

Finally, if you do end up sharing and reusing earbuds, always sanitize between each use and go with plastic or silicone ear cushions over foam ones as they’ll be easier to clean. The Califone E-3s have silicone tips, shatter-resistant plastic, and tangle-proof cords, making them easier to clean and more durable. 

Storage Space For School Headphones & Earbuds

With increasing class sizes, many classrooms already feel overcrowded. When space is tight, earbuds can save room in cramped classrooms. 

If you prefer headphones for their durability, though, you can choose slimmer models and get creative with your storage solutions. Our headphone storage hacks can help you keep your headphones organized and out of the way.

school headphone organization

School Headphones Usage Requirements

Consider how long, how frequently, and for what purposes your students will wear their classroom headphones or earbuds. Earbuds can get uncomfortable with several hours of wear and may not offer the same level of noise-cancelling as over ear headphones.

For intermittent classroom use for low-stakes activities, earbuds are typically a great choice. For higher-stakes activities that last more than an hour — like standardized testing — headphones tend to be more comfortable.

Learning Headphones Can Help

For more information on any of the products we offer, please contact our team. We can help you in the decision process. Be sure to check out our School Headphone Buying Guide email us now at customercare@learningheadphones.com

We’ll take the time to learn about your classroom needs and make custom product and package recommendations for your educators and students.

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