Looking for high quality gift options? Check out My recommended headphones here! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Oversized Headphones (Socially Acceptable or Not?)

by Josh Koop | Last Updated:   3 weeks ago
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I focus and believe in being fully transparent and so I am disclosing that some links on my site can earn me a commission. My goal is to help you make good decisions on what you choose to purchase, however, you won't be charged any more money for this to happen. It's a win-win for both of us!

Whether or not oversized headphones are socially acceptable is a heated debate. On one hand, many say that people wearing big headphones in public are being disrespectful to other people around them because their music cannot be heard by those passing by. Others argue that the wearer of the headphone should have the right to do something they enjoy without interference from others.

In an informal setting, or somewhere you are not closely acquainted with the people around, it should be fine. Though in social situations like being in a store or trying to talk it can come across as rude and that you aren’t focused on the conversation.

If you’re looking for an answer as to whether or not oversized headphones are socially acceptable, this blog post will discuss all sides of the issue and give you an opinionated stance on if it’s appropriate or not.

When Is It OK To Wear Headphones In Public?

For many, wearing headphones in public is a way to escape into their own world, whether it be just for a few minutes or hours at a time.

While wearing headphones in public or on public transport does come with some social hoops that one must jump through, such as not allowing your music to bother those around you and being respectful of the people who are trying to talk to you.

There is nothing inherently wrong about wearing headphones in public, as long as you are respectful to those around.

Why Do People Wear Big Headphones In Public?

People wear headphones for a number of reasons. Some people enjoy putting on their favorite album or playlist and letting the music take them away from reality for a little while.

Others may be wearing these types of headphone because they want to block out the world, along with random people, around them.

Whether it be because they are trying to focus on a project at work, or simply enjoy being in their own little bubble and away from other people’s noise.

Wearing Headphones to Avoid Interaction

For many, wearing headphones in public is a way to avoid having people attempt to talk with them.

Whether they are not interested in talking or have some other reason for wanting to be left alone, many will put on their headphone and ignore anyone who approaches them so that they can focus on what’s going on around them.

I have done this when I am going to shop at places where they have pressure based salespeople. I don’t want to be bothered when looking at items in the store so putting my headphones in helps me block them out and they avoid me back, a win win.

People wearing big head phones are usually doing it because they either enjoy listening to their music or just need to avoid social interaction with other people around them for a few moments.

Is it Rude to Shop With Headphones In?

While many wear them is it considered rude to shop with headphones in? For some yes, for others no

It all comes down to being respectful of those around you and not allowing your music or other audio entertainment bother the people who are shopping near you.

If someone is trying to talk to you while you have them on, it’s polite just take them off so that they can say their piece and you can respond.

Is it weird to walk with headphones on?

While I don’t think walking with headphones is weird, I know some people who do.

It’s all about the context of where you are and what type of headphone you’re wearing, why you have them on in this instance will help sway others to whether it be weird or not for them to see someone walking with their music playing through headphones.

Is it OK for kids to wear big head phones?

Kids wearing big headphones is perfectly fine, but it all comes down to the type of headphone they are wearing and what their reasons for having them on in public actually are.

If you’re child is listening to music or an audio book while out with friends at the park then no one should have a problem with that.

However if your child has their headphones in at the park while they are just sitting there, staring off into space then that might be a sign to take them out and encourage your child to interact with others.

Is It OK To Wear Oversized Headphones?

Now the big headphones like Beats and Airpods Max are a whole other story, they are still headphones that can be used to listen to music or an audio book and you should be respectful of those around you while wearing them.

However if someone is walking down the street with these types of head phone on then it might look a little odd to people who are older and haven’t grown up with them.

They are simply oversized headphones that people enjoy wearing because they like how they look and fit.

Are you too embarrassed to wear your big headphones outside?

For some people the visual look of their outfit or the disdain from others for their choice of gaudy headphones will stop them from wearing it for others they may consider them to be a fashion accessory.

However, if you enjoy your big headphones and they make you happy then why should someone else’s look or opinion about what type of headphone is acceptable for public use bother you?

It all comes down to being comfortable in your own skin and not worrying too much about the opinions of others.

Oversized over ear headphones are a growing trend and they don’t seem to be going anywhere. As long as you enjoy wearing the pair of headphones and their sound quality, don’t let those who aren’t wear theirs dictate how you dress or what type of headphone is acceptable for public use.

Best of Both Worlds – Using Bone Conduction

If you want to wear headphones and listen while outside you can actually hide your use by using bone conduction headphones or earbuds.

These options allow you to wear your headphones and listen to music or an audio book while still being able to hear the outside world.

Bone conduction headphones hide under your hair and are out of the way, they work in a completely different way as instead of going through your eardrums, they go from the cheekbones directly to your inner ear bypassing the ear canal.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Bone conduction headphones allow you to listen, but still be able to hear everything around unlike headphones and regular earbuds do.

There is no risk of missing an emergency vehicle because the sounds are heard through your inner ears and not directly into them.

Final Thoughts on Wearing Big Headphones in Public

It’s important to remember that while the opinions of others should never be taken too seriously, wearing big headphones in public is not appropriate for everyone.

If you’re looking for a way to listen on-the-go without being completely cut off from your surroundings, bone conduction headphones are an excellent option.

Bone conduction technology transmits sound waves through the cheekbones and directly into the inner ear canal instead of using traditional eardrums – so there’s no risk of missing out on any emergency vehicle sounds or other auditory cues.

This type of headphone will also allow you to stay connected with people around you because they won’t have anything covering their ears at all!

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on: