Are Over-Ear Headphones Good for Working Out (10 Reasons)

Working out can be seriously boring if you’re stuck using standard earbuds. But there’s no need to miss exercise’s benefits because of poor audio quality.

So, whether you’re looking for an alternative to traditional earbuds or want to enjoy your workout more, over-ear headphones are a perfect choice.

Over-ear headphones keep the sound in front of your ears. This means you won’t have to turn up the volume so high that you can’t hear what’s happening around you. They’re also good for listening to clear music while working out.

Regardless of your exercise routine, you can easily depend on over-ear headphones. There are a lot of different headphones on the market these days, and it can be tough to decide which ones to buy.

Here, we’ll explain why are over-ear headphones good for working out, from better sound quality to greater comfort.

Are Over Ear Headphones Good for Working Out

Why Are Over-Ear Headphones Good for Working Out?

I know what it’s like to buy different headphones for working out. I’ve tried a few styles, and I like the over-ear ones because they’re easier to start with.

Here are 10 reasons why you might want to workout with over-ear headphones.

1. Better Sound Quality

Sound quality often becomes paramount for many enthusiasts when diving into over-ear headphones. Several factors contribute to this enhanced sound quality:

  • Larger Drivers: Over-ear headphones typically have more space to accommodate larger drivers. Larger drivers translate to more power and a better audio response.
  • Enclosed Design: The design of over-ear headphones creates a closed environment, preventing sound leakage. This ensures that you hear the full sound spectrum and improves bass response.

Table: Comparing Driver Size and Sound Quality

Headphone TypeAverage Driver SizeSound Quality Remarks
Earbuds8mm – 15mmIt is adequate for casual listening and often lacks depth in bass.
On-Ear30mm – 40mmImproved bass and mids, clearer audio.
Over-Ear40mm – 50mmBest overall audio experience with deeper bass and clearer highs.

For those who are uncompromising about their music’s fidelity, over-ear headphones are often the go-to choice. The combination of large drivers and enclosed design brings out nuances in tracks that might be missed with smaller headphones.

2. Better Noise Cancellation

Stepping away from the bustling world into a sanctuary of sound is a remarkable experience, and over-ear headphones are exceptional in providing that through noise cancellation. Here’s why:

  • Physical Barrier: The very design of over-ear headphones provides a substantial physical barrier between external noises and your ears.
  • Active Noise Cancellation (ANC): Many high-end over-ear headphones come equipped with ANC. This technology actively counters external noises, often making you feel like you’re in a silent room.

Key Points:

  • The greater over-ear surface area allows for better distribution and placement of noise-cancelling microphones.
  • ANC is especially beneficial in noisy environments like planes, trains, or busy streets. The technology identifies and counters ambient noises, allowing an uninterrupted audio experience.
  • While some earbuds offer ANC, over-ear headphones tend to do it more effectively due to their design and space for technology.

3. More Comfortable Fit

Comfort is paramount for prolonged listening sessions; over-ear headphones often lead the pack. They envelop the ears, spreading pressure evenly and minimizing ear fatigue.

  • Cushioned Ear Cups provide a plush resting space for ears, ensuring minimal direct pressure.
  • Adjustable Headbands: This allows users to get the perfect fit, ensuring the headphones don’t feel too tight or loose.
  • Breathability: Over-ear designs are often more breathable, reducing the chance of ears getting too warm during extended usage.

Size Table: Over-Ear Headphone Dimensions and Comfort

Headphone DimensionsRemarks on Comfort
Small (Up to 170mm)Suitable for users with smaller heads or for children.
Medium (171mm – 200mm)Fits the majority of users and offers balanced weight and comfort.
Large (201mm & above)Great for users with larger heads, ensure ample cushioning to avoid excess pressure.

When selecting over-ear headphones, it’s crucial to consider the dimensions to ensure a snug yet comfortable fit. Too tight can cause headaches; too loose might mean they fall off easily. Your listening pleasure should always come with comfort!

4. Less Likely to Fall Out

One significant advantage of over-ear headphones that’s often overlooked is their innate ability to stay put. Unlike earbuds, which sometimes fall out with brisk movements, or on-ear headphones, which might slide off, over-ear headphones have a design advantage:

  • Encasing Design: Over-ear headphones wrap around the entirety of the ear. This natural encasing ensures they remain stable on your head, no matter the activity.
  • Headband Grip: The headbands on over-ear headphones are generally more robust and provide a firm yet comfortable grip on your head, further minimizing the chances of them falling off.

Table: Comparison of Fall-out Rate by Headphone Type

Headphone TypeLikelihood of Falling OutTypical Usage Scenario
EarbudsHighCasual walking, desk tasks
On-EarModerateDesk tasks, light movement
Over-EarLowActive movements, running, and more intensive activities

When you’re engrossed in an activity or workout, the last thing you want to deal with is readjusting your headphones. Over-ear headphones, with their secure fit, ensure that interruptions remain minimal.

5. Suitable for Light Workouts

While over-ear headphones may not be the first choice for vigorous physical activities, they’re perfect for light workouts. Their sound quality, noise cancellation, and comfort make them viable. Here’s why:

  • Stability: As mentioned, they’re less likely to fall out, ensuring your rhythm isn’t broken mid-exercise.
  • Motivation Boost: With the enhanced sound quality, every beat and rhythm is amplified, pushing you to keep going.

Table: Suggested Workouts with Over-Ear Headphones

Workout TypeSuitability for Over-Ear Headphones
WalkingHighly suitable
Light joggingSuitable
Yoga & PilatesHighly suitable
Strength trainingSuitable, but be wary of vigorous head movements
High-intensity interval training (HIIT)Less suitable due to excessive sweating and rapid movements

If your workout doesn’t involve excessive sweating or rapid movements, over-ear headphones can be a great addition to your routine.

6. Less Ear Pain and Wax Buildup

The health of our ears is paramount. One undeniable advantage of over-ear headphones is their potential to cause less ear pain and prevent wax buildup compared to their in-ear counterparts.

In-ear headphones sit directly within the ear canal. Over time, especially during extended listening sessions, this can cause discomfort or even pain due to the pressure exerted on the delicate inner structures of the ear.

Additionally, in-ear headphones can inadvertently push earwax further into the canal, leading to blockages.

Over-ear headphones, in contrast, rest around the ear. This design means there’s no direct pressure on the ear canal itself.

Because they don’t intrude into the ear, they also don’t interfere with the natural migration of earwax out of the ear.

7. Sweat-proof Design

For many audiophiles and fitness enthusiasts, a sweat-proof design is a must-have feature in headphones, particularly when they’re used during workouts.

Over-ear headphones are increasingly designed with this feature, making them suitable for light to moderate exercises.

  • Material Selection: Many modern over-ear headphones are crafted with materials that resist sweat absorption. This not only prolongs the life of the headphones but also ensures the audio quality remains unaffected.
  • Sealed Controls: Controls, whether touch-based or button-operated, are often sealed to prevent sweat or moisture infiltration, which could damage the electronic components.
  • Ventilation: Some over-ear headphones are designed with ventilation in mind, ensuring that while they are sweat-resistant, they also allow the ear to breathe, reducing overheating.

8. Long Battery Life

One of the significant advantages of over-ear headphones is the generously extended battery life they often boast. Their larger size allows for bigger batteries than what’s typically found in earbuds or on-ear designs.

This is a godsend for individuals who dislike constantly recharging their headphones or those on extended journeys. Many high-quality over-ear headphones can deliver anywhere from 20 to 30 hours of playback on a single charge, with some even reaching the 40-hour mark.

Moreover, advancements in battery technology and efficient designs mean that these headphones last longer, and many also offer fast charging features. In some models, a mere 10-15 minutes of charge can provide hours of playback.

9. Variety of Features

The real estate available on over-ear headphones has enabled manufacturers to incorporate many features that enhance the user experience. Here are some standout features:

  • Touch Controls: With intuitive gestures on the ear cups, users can play, pause, or skip tracks, adjust volume, and even activate voice assistants.
  • Voice Assistance Integration: Many models seamlessly integrate with voice assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa, allowing hands-free commands and queries.
  • Rotatable and Foldable Designs: Certain over-ear headphones can be rotated or folded for those always on the move, making them more compact for travel.
  • Ambient Sound Mode: While noise cancellation is fantastic, we must be aware of our surroundings sometimes. This mode allows external sounds in without removing the headphones.
  • Customizable Sound Profiles: Advanced models allow users to tweak the sound to their liking, ensuring a personalized listening experience.
  • Connectivity Options: From Bluetooth 5.0 to aptX support and even multipoint connections, over-ear headphones often pack in the latest connectivity tech.

With this variety of features, over-ear headphones are not just about immersive sound but also about versatility and adaptability to different user needs. Each feature adds convenience layers, making them a worthy investment for many.

10. Alternative to Earbuds and On-Ear Headphones

The world of headphones offers many choices, each tailored to different needs and preferences.

Over-ear headphones present an attractive alternative to the more compact earbuds and on-ear variants. They cater to users looking for a different balance of comfort, sound quality, and utility.

  • Sound Isolation: Due to their design, over-ear headphones naturally provide better passive sound isolation, ensuring external noise doesn’t interfere with your audio experience.
  • Comfort for Extended Use: The padding and design of over-ear headphones distribute pressure more evenly, making them more comfortable for prolonged listening sessions.
  • Durability: Their robust build generally ensures a longer lifespan, especially compared to the more delicate earbuds.

Table: Comparing Over-Ear Headphones with Earbuds and On-Ear

PortabilityHighModerateModerate to Low
Sound IsolationLow to ModerateModerateHigh
Sound QualityVariedVariedGenerally Superior

While earbuds and on-ear headphones have advantages, over-ear headphones are the go-to for many who prioritize sound quality, comfort, and durability.

11. Personal Style

Over-ear headphones aren’t just about sound – they’ve become fashion statements in their own right. The market is flooded with designs ranging from sleek and modern to retro-inspired looks.

Brands recognize that headphones, like watches or glasses, are personal accessories that reflect one’s style. They come in different styles and colors; you can choose what you want them to look like.

They also come in different types of ear cups. Wearing them is as much about expressing individuality as it is about enjoying music.

12. More Immersive Audio Experience

Over-ear headphones are hard to beat when delivering a deeply engaging audio experience. Here’s why:

  • Full Range Sound: Their larger drivers can produce a wider range of frequencies, from the deepest bass to the crispest highs.
  • Natural Soundstage: The design allows for a more natural soundstage, making it feel like you’re in the room with the musicians or inside the movie scene.
  • Noise Isolation and Cancellation: The ear cups’ design inherently isolates sound, and when combined with active noise-cancelling technology, it can lead to an unparalleled listening environment.
  • Consistent Sound Delivery: The positioning of over-ear headphones remains relatively consistent, ensuring that the sound is delivered to your ears as intended, without the variations you might experience with earbuds that aren’t seated perfectly.

For audiophiles, movie buffs, or just anyone looking for an enriched audio experience, over-ear headphones provide a soundscape that’s hard to match. The sensation of being enveloped in sound, where every note, voice, and instrument is distinctly heard, makes them a favorite choice for many.

Can You Wear Over-Ear Headphones for Every Working Out?

As a beginner, you might wonder if you can wear over-ear headphones for every type of workout. Based on my experience, the suitability of over-ear headphones varies depending on the specific activity.

I’ll discuss various movements and how over-ear headphones can help or hinder your exercise routine. I’ll also include a table summarizing the key points.

Table: Suitability of Over-Ear Headphones for Different Workouts

Workout TypeOver-Ear Headphones SuitabilityExplanation
Cardio (e.g., running, jumping rope)Less SuitablePotential for slippage, bulkiness, and excessive sweating.
Strength Training (e.g., weightlifting, resistance bands)SuitableSecure fit, limited head movement, immersive audio experience.
Yoga and StretchingSuitableComfortable fit, slow-paced movements, enhanced focus with noise isolation.
Low-Intensity Activities (e.g., walking, leisurely cycling)SuitableComfort and stability during slower movements, enjoyable audio experience.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)Less SuitableRapid movements may cause slippage. Bulkiness may be restrictive.

1. Cardio Workouts

When I do cardio workouts, such as running or jumping rope, over-ear headphones are less suitable due to the potential for slippage and excessive sweating.

You might also find the bulkiness of over-ear headphones uncomfortable during intense cardio sessions. In such cases, in-ear or on-ear headphones may be a better option.

2. Strength Training

During strength training workouts like weightlifting and resistance band exercises, I find over-ear headphones to be suitable.

With limited head movement during these activities, you can enjoy a secure fit and an immersive audio experience, which can help you stay focused and motivated.

3. Yoga and Stretching

For yoga and stretching exercises, over-ear headphones can be a suitable choice due to their comfort and slow-paced movements.

The noise isolation provided by over-ear headphones can help you maintain focus and concentration during these activities.

4. Low-Intensity Activities

I find over-ear headphones suitable when I engage in low-intensity activities like walking or leisurely cycling.

They provide comfort and stability during slower movements, combined with an enjoyable audio experience, making them an excellent choice for these workouts.

5. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Over-ear headphones are less suitable during high-intensity interval training (HIIT) due to the rapid movements involved.

The bulkiness of over-ear headphones can be restrictive, and the constant motion may cause them to slip during intense exercises. In this case, you might prefer in-ear or on-ear headphones.

Comparing Over-Ear Headphones with On-Ear and In-Ear Workout Headphones

As someone who has used various headphones during workouts, I can compare over-ear, on-ear, and in-ear workout headphones based on eight key points. I’ll discuss each point in detail and use a table to summarize the comparison.

Table: Comparing Over-Ear, On-Ear, and In-Ear Workout Headphones

Key PointOver-EarOn-EarIn-Ear
ComfortCushioned ear cups, adjustable headbandLighter, may press on earsLightweight, may cause ear canal discomfort
Sound QualitySuperior sound, immersive experienceGood sound quality, less immersiveGood sound quality, less immersive
Noise IsolationEffective noise isolationModerate noise isolationVariable noise isolation, depending on fit
StabilitySecure fit for most exercisesLess stable during intense workoutsDurable with the right fit, may require adjustment
PortabilityBulky, less portableCompact, more portableHighly mobile, easy to carry
Sweat ResistanceVaries by modelVaries by modelOften designed for workouts, more sweat-resistant
Ambient Noise AwarenessAvailable in some modelsLimited optionsAvailable in some models
Price RangeWide-range, higher-end models can be expensiveModerate to high rangeWide range, affordable to high-end options

1. Comfort

Over-ear headphones offer a high level of comfort with their cushioned ear cups and adjustable headband, providing a snug fit without putting pressure on the ears.

On-ear headphones are lighter and sit directly on the ears, which might cause discomfort for some users due to stress.

In-ear headphones are lightweight but can cause pain in the ear canal, especially during prolonged use.

2. Sound Quality

In my experience, over-ear headphones deliver superior sound quality and an immersive audio experience.

On-ear headphones also provide good sound quality, but the experience is less immersive.

In-ear headphones offer good sound quality, but the audio experience is less immersive than over-ear headphones.

3. Noise Isolation

Over-ear headphones excel at noise isolation due to their design, effectively blocking out external noise.

On-ear headphones provide moderate noise isolation, while in-ear headphones offer variable noise isolation depending on the fit and design of the ear tips.

4. Stability

Over-ear headphones generally provide a secure fit during most exercises. However, on-ear headphones can be less stable during intense workouts, while in-ear headphones can offer a regular fit if they are correctly adjusted and fitted to the user’s ears.

5. Portability

Over-ear headphones are bulkier and less portable compared to their counterparts. On-ear headphones are more compact and portable, while in-ear headphones are highly portable and easy to carry.

6. Sweat Resistance

Sweat resistance varies among over-ear and on-ear headphones, depending on the model. In-ear headphones, especially those designed specifically for workouts, tend to be more sweat-resistant.

7. Ambient Noise Awareness

Ambient noise awareness features are available in some over-ear and in-ear headphone models, allowing users to stay aware of their surroundings during workouts. On-ear headphones typically have limited options for ambient noise awareness.

8. Price Range

Over-ear headphones have a wide price range, with higher-end models potentially being expensive. On-ear headphones usually fall within a moderate to high price range. In-ear headphones offer various options, from affordable to high-end models.


Q. Is it okay to wear my over-ear headphones during aerobic exercise? 

Some studies have shown that wearing headphones during aerobic exercise can help you to focus on your workout and avoid distractions. However, it is still best to talk to a doctor before beginning any new workout routine. 

Q. What features are good when using over-ear headphones for working out?

Here are a few key features when choosing over-ear headphones for working out. 
1. Firstly, they should be comfortable to wear for long periods. 
2. Secondly, they should have a good seal around the ears to block out external noise. 
3. Thirdly, they should be durable and withstand sweat and moisture. 
4. Finally, they should have a good range of sound quality. 

Q. Do over-ear headphones offer a better listening experience when I’m working out? 

Over-ear headphones offer a better listening experience when working out. They provide a more secure fit, leading to a more sound-isolated workout experience. Moreover, over-ear headphones block ambient noise and allow them to focus on the audio quality. 

Q. Does sweat ruin over-ear headphones?

Sweat can ruin over-ear headphones if they get inside the headphone casing and rust the electronic components.
While most headphones are designed to be sweat-resistant, it’s still essential to clean them after each use to prevent sweat buildup.
To clean your headphones, use a soft, dry cloth to wipe down the exterior of the headphones and a cotton swab to clean the headphone openings.


Working out can be a great way to improve your fitness, but it can also be a pain. That’s where over-ear headphones come in – they’re perfect for those long, tough workouts.

Not only do they provide noise-blocking earbuds, but they have a variety of styles and colors to choose from, so you’re sure to find a pair that fits your active lifestyle. They also provide:

  • Greater comfort.
  • The sound quality that’s superior to earbuds.
  • Increased noise isolation makes it easier to work out in any environment.

In addition, over-ear headphones fit securely and reduce sweat levels, making them a perfect choice for athletes. So what are you waiting for? Start the workout with over-ear headphones today and experience the best activity of your life.