In-ear monitors, commonly known as “earphones”, are smaller versions of headphones and are known to be their more portable substitutes. Some people think they are inferior versions of their bigger and bulkier brother, but this is not always the case. Here are some of the common misconceptions people have about in-ear monitors.

All In-Ear Monitors are flimsier than Headphones

In-ear monitors, being smaller, are often mistaken to be easily damaged compared to headphones. This is not all true. This is a very common misconception. Some in-ear monitors are designed to outlast headphones. Headphones are usually built in a way to emphasize style, sometimes compromising durability. In-ear monitors, on the other hand, are more compact, therefore making them more durable in some cases. They are able to withstand the stress and pressure of getting rolled over when being used when sleeping. They can usually go toe-to-toe with the best headphones for sleeping that are listed here:

In-Ear Monitors have worse sound quality than Headphones

Headphones are bigger, therefore they sound better, right? Well..not always. Most in-ear monitors may have lower frequency responses than headphones, but that doesn’t mean they’re worse. It all comes down to its sound signature and how its frequency response correspond with each other. In-ear earphones usually have enough frequency response to hit the sweet spots in the sound levels to give you a quality music experience. An example of a company that makes in-ear monitors that can compete with headphones when it comes to sound quality is Shure. Some earphones made by Shure have quad HD drivers and customizable frequency responses, which a lot of consumer headphones don’t have.

In-Ear Monitors damage your hearing

One of the most common misconceptions. Some people claim that in-ear monitors damage hearing due to their small nature and them covering your ear canals, trapping the music. There are claims related to closed-back headphones as well. Most of these claims are always connected to people having small ears, saying they are more susceptible to hearing damage. While these claims do have sense into them, the best earbuds for small ears have tame levels of volume, usually not having no more than 120 dB, which is the loudest volume that human ears can handle without being harmful. So in-ear monitors are not the reason for hearing damage. It’s easy to shift the blame to them, but in the end, it’s up to the listener to adjust volumes to safe levels to avoid damage to their hearing.

In-Ear Monitors have horrible noise cancellation

In-ear monitors, compared to headphones, don’t cover your entire ear. This is the reason why people believe in-ear monitors have bad noise cancellation. Though it’s reasonable to believe this, it’s another misconception. In-ear monitors actually offer a lot because they cover your entire ear canal. It’s pretty much the same as headphones, considering they both cover your ear canals. Headphones covering your entire ear means they offer a bigger sound stage than in-ear monitors, but when it comes to noise-cancellation both are almost equal. Some in-ear monitors have active noise-cancellation, which adapts noise-cancellation depending on the noise levels in your surroundings. Bose is one example of a company that makes high-quality in-ear monitors with active noise-cancellation.

In-Ear Monitors aren’t worth their price

With headphones having obviously larger sizes than in-ear monitors, people tend to raise their eyebrows when they see in-ear monitor prices come close to headphones prices. Most people overlook the features and quality that make them cost that much in the first place. In-ear-monitors are usually used by stage performers and musicians due to in-ear headphones not having any feedback and their control over their sound levels. Monitor engineers’ are often limited by their speaker systems. They need to consider the power amplifier sizes and how monitors will affect the performers, trying to balance sound levels to assist them. With in-ear monitors, performers can hear themselves clearly without the need of wedges.

With all the benefits provided by in-ear monitors that were mentioned previously, it’s clear that they do pack a punch in such small packages. Even if their prices sometimes come close or sometimes considerably lower than headphones prices, it doesn’t mean that they’re not worth buying if you can just buy headphones in the first place. Aside from these features, they’re also way more portable than headphones.


While in-ear monitors appear to be lesser versions of headphones, they have qualities in them that are not present in most headphones. If you’re gonna buy in-ear monitors consider checking its specifications first and see if it fits your needs and ignore the common misconceptions. All-in-all, in-ear monitors have enough features and advantages that make them stand as good, or in some cases, better than headphones.