Background and Identification
On-ear headphones are a style of headphones that sit on the outside of the ear as opposed to over-ear headphones which fully surround the ear or in-ear headphones which fit inside the ear. For technicality’s sake, this design is also known as the “supra-aural” style.
On-ear headphones are generally lighter and smaller than over-ear headphones; thus, they can be more comfortable as long as the sides do not press too hard on your ears. Some on-ear headphones have flat sides and others use small earcups—the cushy ring that sits on your ears—to add padding.
The most common issues with over-ear headphones come from the cables (unless you have wireless headphones of course) and the earpads. Cables get caught and yanked and usually break long before the body of the headphones. If you can’t hear sound from one or both of the sides of your headphones, try replacing the cable first. The earcups also wear out as they rub against our sweaty, oily ears. If you want to optimize for repair and make your money last, look for headphones with replaceable cables and earpads.
Tip: most products with headphone jacks require a 3.5mm (1/8 inch) headphone connector. Some professional gear uses 6.35mm (1/4 inch) connectors, but if you’re not sure, it’s probably 3.5mm.
Phone connector on Wikipedia (for more information on 3.5mm vs. 6.35mm)