Why do so many still choose wired earbuds or headphones?

While teens on social media are adopting wired headphones as a “vintage” trend, there are many reasons why many people are still opting for wired earbuds and headphones as opposed to wireless and bluetooth listening devices.

Airpods first hit the market in 2016, and since then, millions have ditched the long-standing wired earbuds and made the switch to the new modern craze, which generated Apple Inc. $38.3 billion in net sales from September 2020 to September 2021. Celebrities like Bella Hadid, Lily-Rose Depp, Zoë Kravitz have been photographed in their sleek streetwear styles, rocking a pair of good old fashioned wired headphones, prompting fans and followers worldwide to recreate this new “vintage” trend themselves.

However, there are several reasons why many believe wired is the way to go, as you will discover upon reading further in this article.

 

Because it’s trendy

Bluetooth earbuds and wireless headphones were the hot trend for a while due to how new and modern and unique they were but eventually they became something that everybody had, which led to people, particularly teens, not wanting to appear “basic.” There is nothing more common than the wish to be remarkable.

"In short, AirPods have become too widespread to be cool," wrote the Wall Street Journal. "So, perhaps inevitably, contrarian trendsetters are reviving some ancient technology: corded headphones."

Thousands of videos on TikTok have shown various “trend forecasters” explaining why this “vintage” trend is coming back, as well as fashion professionals adding to the analysis. Lisa Z. Morgan, head of the apparel design department at the Rhode Island School of Design, said that a sense of nostalgia is part of what's fueling the revival.

"There's a very wistful look back to times that appear to be simpler, there's no doubt about it," Morgan said. "There's a sense of nostalgia [from teens] for a time that I don't think they've even experienced, which is quite curious ... I think they see these photographs and images from magazines and music and culture."

 

Because of the sound quality

Despite all the discourse around wired earbuds making a comeback due to the latest fashion trend, there are other reasons why people opt for wired earphones. Many highly regard the quality of the craftsmanship of something that plugs in directly to your device versus having to stream the sound via bluetooth. It is true that wireless earbuds are very convenient in not having to deal with a cable, but their evolution towards good sound quality is yet to be on par with wired headphones.

Using wired headphones, which are directly attached to your device, mitigates any potential connectivity or Bluetooth issue that you may experience with wireless headphones. Analog signals are used in wired headphones to deliver excellent sound quality, which can handle more data than digital signals like Bluetooth. The audio won’t have to go through so much processing to reach you, making for a much cleaner, crisper audio in its full resolution.

Because wired earbud and headphone manufacturers won't have to spend as much money on creating wireless technologies, they'll be able to concentrate their efforts (and resources) on what counts most: sound quality. The analog signals used in wired headphones can handle more data than Bluetooth signals, avoiding any risk of audio compression and making for a much clearer sound.

 

Because of the price

Wired earbuds are generally cheaper because it is much more costly to make wireless earbuds than its corded counterpart. Manufacturers inflate their bill of materials for wireless buds, which in turn makes the product more expensive.

 

They don’t require charging

Having another device to charge periodically is a big inconvenience in this day and age, where almost every product comes with a battery. With wired earbuds, you won’t have to worry about losing your music or your podcast halfway through your flight. You can just plug and play without any care in the way.

 

They are less likely to be lost

Many Bluetooth earbud devices come with a little charger/carrying case. Not only is it tiny and easy to misplace, but the earbuds themselves are miniscule little pieces that could easily fall out of your ear while sleeping on a plane, or sweating during an intense exercise. The risk of getting your Airpods stolen is much higher than wired headphones because not only of its small, portable size, but also because they have been a hot commodity since their release in 2016, despite current trends changing the norm.

 

In general they are a better investment

People are sporting AirPods everywhere you go. Some are listening to music, others to the hottest new podcasts, while others are simply wearing them to avoid having to chat to strangers. They've become as much a part of our daily lives as the original iPod earphones did 20 years ago.

Despite the inconvenience of cables getting in the way, in the end, wired earbuds and headphones are a greater investment because not only are they cheaper, but they have better sound quality, are less likely to be lost or stolen, don’t require charging, and, of course, you can keep up with the latest trend of bringing “vintage” back.

By Claire Barnett

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