Are Wired Headphones Becoming Extinct Despite Better Sound?

I just noticed something. Of course, only a geek like me can truly notice the fact that no matter where I go, I rarely see somebody using wired headphones these days. I have to say that it’s noticeably different than it was one year ago. Here is what I see people wearing the most, especially at the gym:


Say what you want about the AirPods (I still think they’re great), but they are by far the most worn audio device. Everywhere you go, you see those white things hanging out of people’s ears. A couple of years ago, the hanging buds were considered weird. Now, they are the norm.
Bose SoundSport Free

I’m not to0 crazy about these (Sorry, Bose — I love your other products), but other people are. I see people wearing these all the time. While they do generally have better sound than the AirPods, the ease of using them is a whole other ballgame.


There are many wireless Beats headphones that I see people wear, but the PowerBeats3 seem to be the most popular among Dr. Dre’s brand, especially since they’re so portable and easy to pair. They seem to be substance over style, but only by a small fraction.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless

These are the most popular over-the-ear headphones on the market today — for a great reason. The sound quality is excellent, and the noise cancellation is so good it’s frightening.

Apple EarPods

Apple’s regular wired headphones are still somewhat popular. You still see some people at the gym with them, but you also know they are rapidly becoming outdated.


The fact is that wired earphones still sound better than wireless ones. Think about it: Sound from wired headphones flows without barely (if any) interruption, while sound from Bluetooth headphones needs to be compressed in order to travel — and there is still interruption. There is also a denigration of sound quality, although most of it won’t be detected by the human ear. Codecs such as aptX and AAC are supposed to decrease the denigration of the compressed sound.

Perhaps we need headphones to use the Wi-Fi spectrum instead of the Bluetooth wireless one. However, the battery life of Wi-Fi headphones would be a huge issue. As long as people are happy with their Bluetooth headphones, the industry won’t make any compromises. But audiophiles like me still notice a difference between wired and wireless sound quality.

About Daryl

Daryl Deino has been a technology enthusiast since 1995 and has written for several newspapers and technology sites. Please reach him at [email protected]
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