Here is complete detail on how do headphones work

Headphones have become a gadget used almost all around the globe to listen to sound and enjoy your space. While working, exercising, or doing any work, you can connect headphones and listen to your favorite music. Ever wondered how do headphones work while you listen to them? Well here is your detailed answer on how your headphone works. If you are curious about how headphones work, you are in the right place; in this guide, we will discuss the complete working of headphones.

Parts And Working Of Headphones

To completely understand the principle of headphones working, you need to know the part’s purpose that plays the central part in generating sound. The driver unit is part that creates sound by converting the signals.

Conversion of Music Waves:

To know how do headphones work, you need to know that all the headphones covert the incoming signal into binary signals in the form of 0s and 1s.

They convert the electrical signal into sound by using the driver unit and magnet, then the magnet’s vibration creates sound. So the audio stored in your devices is digital in the form of 0s and 1s. They are converted into electrical signals when you play, converted into digital signals in the headset, and using the driver unit. It uses a magnet to generate sound depending on signals.

Wire headphones use digital to analog converter while other headphones use the respective technology to convert signals. However, all the headsets have a driver unit that generates the sound.

Driver Unit of Headphones:

All the electrical signals or Bluetooth signals make their way into their headphones and then reach the driver unit. These units are why your headphones make the right sound, and there are three types of driver units.

how do headphones work
Driver Units of Headphone
  • Dynamic Driver.
  • Planar magnetic driver.
  • Electrostatic driver.

Dynamic Driver:

Most headphones use a dynamic driver unit to generate sound, and it has three main parts:

  • A permanent magnet
  • Electromagnetic coils
  • A diaphragm.

So, there are two magnets present in this unit, and one is permanent while another is an electromagnet and these two magnets are the reason the sound is generated.

When the polarity of the electromagnetic changes, it attracts or repels against the permanent magnet and generates sound. These electromagnetic are connected with ‘diaphragm,’ which is thin, and when electromagnetic vibrates, the diaphragm vibrates with it developing the sound.

When the electromagnet vibrates faster, it produces a high tone, and when the electromagnet vibrates slower, it makes a low tone. So, depending upon the file you played, electronic signals are adjusted to produce the sound.

Planar Magnetic Driver Unit:

The Planar magnetic works the same as the dynamic driver unit. Instead of magnets, they use magnetic conductors and tiny wires coiled around the diaphragm to vibrate it. An array of magnets are installed behind the diaphragm, and when the electronic pulses are generated, they make a clear sound.

When the current passed through the magnetic conductors, the polarity changes causing the low and high notes, and then the diaphragm vibrates accordingly to the permanent magnet to generate sound.

Electrostatic Driver Unit:

All the expensive headphones have an electrostatic driver unit that uses the movement of the diaphragm instead of magnets to generate sound. In these headphones, the diaphragm is made up of a thin sheet of charged particles and is placed between two conductive plates, and when the current is passed through it, they vibrate.

One plate is positive while the other is negative, and depending on the received signals, they vibrate accordingly to generate the desired sound. This kind of headset provides the best sound quality but is relatively expensive.

Types Of Headphones

There are three types of headphones that are commonly available all over the globe and are used mainly. Each one works the same way but uses a different method of transmission.

  • Wired Headphones
  • Wireless Headphones
  • Earbuds
Here is complete detail on how do headphones work
Headphone Types

Wired Headphones:

Just by the name, you can tell those headsets require a wire to connect, and they have DAC that converts digital signals into analog.

The electric impulses are generated from the source from the 0s and 1s, and then when received by using DAC, they are turned into sound by the driver unit your headphone has.

Wireless Headphones:

These headphones use Bluetooth or IR technology to transmit the signals from the device into headsets, and other than that, all the functionality is the same.

There is a specific range from where you can connect to the device, and the driver unit will do the rest of the work.

In these headphones, there is no DAC; just the signals are sent through Bluetooth or IR. These are best for Gamings. To buy one, head our to list of Best Wireless Gaming Headsets


Earbuds are headphones but of smaller caliber and size; they come in both wired and wireless technology. They may not work as efficiently as the headphones, but they generate fair sound according to their cost.

Due to the smaller scale of technology, it can’t generate frequencies like the headphones, but they work perfectly.

Need to buy one? Here is our list of Top 12 Wireless Earbuds for you


In the modern era, technology is increasing as time passes, new inventions are coming into the light, headphones are one such invention. It helps you listen to songs, music, sound in your zone without disturbing the person sitting next to you.

The purpose of headphones is to generate sound and give you a private space to listen to it. In the end, all the headphones work under the same principle, but they may use different technology.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of headphones?

Headphones working is opposite to microphone; instead of recording, it plays sound by vibrating the diaphragm with the help of magnets or electronic impulses. You can listen to sounds without disturbing your surroundings.

How do wireless headphones work?

They work by transmitting signals by Bluetooth, IR, and depending upon the device, using their technology to connect. Once connected, it will transmit signals that signals will convert thanks to the driver unit, and you will hear the sound.

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