I don't get why my friends can hear my music when I have my earphones in but when I take them out they can't hear them.

It is so confusing so I need help on how to make them not hear my music when I have headphones in.

  • 1
    So what have you tried already? Did headphones not seem to be an obvious solution?
    – RedSonja
    Oct 24, 2018 at 12:04

2 Answers 2


Headphones come in two varieties - closed and open

With open headphones there is a hole somewhere in the headphone body that allows sound from the back side of the speaker to exit the headphones into the world. They allegedly give better sound and they allow sounds from the world (like a car horn as you jaywalk) to be heard more easily

Closed headphones don't have this - the speaker inside the headphone is sealed so sound from the back side of it cannot escape the body of the headphones

Further more, headphones come in varieties that either form a tight seal to your ear canal/head or they don't. Both in ear and over ear headphones exist in varieties that plug into the ear/mold to your head shape or rest in your ear opening/rest on the outer parts of the ear flap

Ultimately, to be most considerate to the people around you, you should choose closed back headphones that are either plug type (they have a rubber blob that you stick in your ear hole, if your ear hole is too big/small you pull the blob off and stick another one on of a suitable size) or around-the-ear (circumaural) type with a soft foam ring that squashes to the shape of your head and seals the headphone against your head so sound doesn't escape

For cost effectiveness, discretion and ease of carrying I'd recommend this type:

enter image description here

They're about the size of the last segment of your little finger, the rubber plug seals into your ear hole. I wouldn't necessarily advocate sennheiser because while they sound great that's a subjective opinion not an objective fact, and they're also ridiculously expensive - quality earbuds can be had for around 10 to 20 dollars. I picked this image though, because it helpfully also demonstrates how the rubber plug comes off so you can exchange it for a larger or smaller one to better fit your ear. Take care with this kind of earbud when inserting or removing, especially if your ears are wet (shower/rain/swimming) because it's not particularly pleasant, possibly even painful to quickly insert or remove something that makes a tight seal to your ear - it puts a lot of pressure on your ear drum. If you do end up with them pretty well sealed to your ear push them sideways against the side wall of your ear canal, breaking the seal before you pull them outwards

To test if they're a closed type, take them out of the box in the shop and plug them into your phone, play music loudly and stick your fingers over the hole that lets the sound into your ear. If you can still hear clearly a high pitched noise, they might well be open type

In the true spirit of lifehacks, if you already have a pair of these but they behave this way (they're open type) have a go at finding the other hole the sound is escaping from and plugging it with something - that squashy sticky stuff used to stick posters to walls might be good. It will have an effect on the sound but not necessarily a detrimental one, and you can always remove it if you want to go back to annoying your friends :)

The most irritating type of headphones are those that just rest in the big hole above your ear lobe, and are sealed to neither your ear nor the surrounding world. To someone sitting next to you, those type of headphone turn every song into "tiss tiss tiss tiss tiss tiss..."

More info: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headphones


You can use earmuffs (like the ones they use at construction sites) together with your phones to make diy noise cancelling head phones. But this is only if you can't afford to buy headphones/headset (as RedSonja mentioned) or phones with rubber earbuds.

  • Id make a guess that a good pair of ear defenders would probably cost as much as a good pair of ear buds, and look decidedly odd?!
    – Caius Jard
    Nov 2, 2018 at 5:47

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