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How Do I Choose the Best Disposable Headphones?

Alex Newth
Alex Newth

Museums, gyms, hospitals and other establishments use disposable headphones so customers can listen to audio presentations or devices without having to bring their own headphones. Disposable headphones are more about price than quality, so price is a major factor in getting the best headphones. Style is another factor, because the style has to be both comfortable and fit the establishment’s clientele. Size is important, because some headphones are one-size-fits-all and others are a standard size. The audio type — whether mono or stereo — also is usually a factor, because some audio devices are better with mono, while others are better with stereo.

When an establishment purchases disposable headphones, it needs the headphones to be cost-effective. This means price is often one of the largest factors in choosing a disposable headphone type. Prices are affected by style and by the overall amount of headphones being purchased. More headphones typically mean a lower price per headphone set.

Earbuds may be used as disposable headphones.
Earbuds may be used as disposable headphones.

Disposable headphones come in many different styles. They can be earbuds, they can sit on top of the head or wrap around it, they can wrap around the ear, and some can be folded. While the style is one of the determining factors in the headphones’ price, it also is important to get headphones that fit the establishment’s clientele. For example, gyms will benefit more from earbuds or other headphone types that remain secure, because these user are moving around a lot; museums and hospitals can use conservative headphones, because most users will be moving at a slow pace.

Disposable headphones might be used by joggers.
Disposable headphones might be used by joggers.

Consumers do not come with the same head size, so the sizing of disposable headphones can become an issue. Many headphones are adjustable, but some may only fit a certain size. If the establishment is going to buy headphones that cannot be adjusted, then it should check to ensure the size can fit most people. There are fewer parts in a non-adjustable headphone, so they are usually more rugged, but some customers may not be able to use them.

All headphones, whether they are disposable headphones or another type, come in either mono or stereo. Mono treats the sound equally between the two ears, while stereo will adjust the sound, so the majority of the sound will move from ear to-ear. If the headphones are used with a hospital TV or museum audio tour, then mono likely will be better. If the headphones are used for music or movie players, then stereo typically will be better.

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Discussion Comments


The internet cafe I go to uses disposable headphones. It's basically a cafe that has desktops on each table for people to use.

The disposable headphones they use have a noise-cancelling function which I think is great. The cafe gets pretty loud at peak hours because they have great coffee and people stop by for coffee and snacks even if they're not sitting down. So there is constant chatter, plus the sound of the coffee grinders on and off.

They used to have a different type of headphones last year without the noise-cancel and believe me, it was so annoying! You couldn't even hear anything from the computer! I'm so glad they made the switch, they have the coolest headphones now. I can watch videos or listen to music in that noise and it doesn't bother me at all.


@burcinc-- I actually prefer over the ear headphones over the earbuds because headphones with earbuds never fit my ears properly! Somehow they're always too big or too small.

I guess that's why when you buy earbud headphones, they come with different sized earbuds so that you can use the one that fits your ear. But disposable headphones never come with earbud options and you're stuck with the one that's on there.

I think it's better for any establishment to choose over the ear disposable headphones because they fit everyone's ear. And they can be adjusted according to head size. I've never had a problem with these.


Are the headphones on flights disposable? I imagine that they are since they always collect them at the end of the flight and bring new ones at the next flight.

I wish airlines would select more comfortable, in-ear earbuds instead of the traditional over the head ones that they use. They are so uncomfortable! Sometimes I don't use them at all because they hurt my ears really badly. I try and use my own headphones when I watch movies during the flight. But sometimes I don't have it with me and I have no choice but to use the disposable ones.

I know airlines can't get the best quality disposable headphones because it might cost them too much but headphones are getting more and more affordable these days. Just switching to disposable earbuds wouldn't be too bad, would it?

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    • Earbuds may be used as disposable headphones.
      By: knee0
      Earbuds may be used as disposable headphones.
    • Disposable headphones might be used by joggers.
      By: AntonioDiaz
      Disposable headphones might be used by joggers.