This episode's vocabulary
- Earphones (plural noun) - an electrical device that fits over or in your ears, allowing you to listen to a radio or a device that plays music.
- Earbuds (plural noun) - a small headphone that fits inside the ear against the outer opening of the ear canal.
- Compact (adj.) - using very little space.
- Wireless (adj.) - using a system of radio signals rather than wires to connect computers, mobile phones, etc. to each other.
- Noise cancellation (noun) - the blocking of outside noise so you don’t hear it.
- Proactive (adj.) - taking action by causing change and not only reacting to change when it happens.
- Remotely (adverb) - from a distance.
- To resemble (verb.) - to look like or be like someone or something.
Questions and Answers
M: Do you use headphones?
R: I used to before earphones and earbuds were a thing. They're more compact and easier to carry around with you than a full set of headphones. But I think someone said the sound quality is better.
M: What type of headphones do you use?
R: Well, like I said, I use earbuds which are wireless and smaller. I actually don't think I've worn headphones in years, to be honest with you.
M: In what situations would you use headphones?
R: If I did use them, I suppose it would be when I need a lot of noise cancellation to hear things clearly. Like if I was on the metro or somewhere loud. Oh, we use headphones for recording the podcast when we're in the studio.
M: Do you usually use headphones when you listen to music?
R: No, I use earbuds when I'm listening to music.
M: In what situations would you not use headphones?
R: Well, that would be pretty much all the time now, because I almost never wear them. But if we expand the definition of headphones to include earbuds then I wouldn't use them when it's rude to like when I'm in a lecture or when someone's speaking to me. It's a bit impolite, isn't it?
M: How often do you buy headphones?
R: Oh God, only when I really need them to be honest with you. So it's more of a reaction than a proactive thing. The last time I bought anything remotely resembling headphones was last year when I bought my earbuds.
M: Thank you, Rory, for your answers!
M: So, headphones, earphones, earbuds, what's going on? So first of all, the topic in IELTS is called headphones. But we do have these earphones. Are they synonyms? Do they mean the same thing? Rory, tell us, tell the world.
R: Well, I think headphones are, they're sort of two things that cover your ears joined by a bridge. Those are the big bulky things. Earbuds are small wireless things that you can put in your ear. An earphones are similar but they have a wire. That's my understanding of it.
M: Yeah, true, like headphones or earphones can be used interchangeably to mean the same thing. But again, yeah, Rory is quite right. So headphones are designed to be worn around the head. And earphones or earbuds are inserted into your ear. Okay, I hate earbuds. I think you're raping your ear with like inserting this stuff into your ear. Yeah, I really don't like them. Anyway, so I think you can say headphones or earphones. It's like cell phone or a phone. Pretty much the same thing. Smartphone, cell phone, mobile. Yeah. Is there a kind of the difference? Yeah, the difference is like, headphones are worn over the ear. But people use them interchangeably.
R: But you can say like, if I did use them, I suppose it would be, so you can use a conditional sentence if you're totally clueless and you're just like, I'd never use these things. What are you talking about?
M: Yeah, but I think everybody uses headphones. I mean, okay, headphones, earphones, whatever device you're using. Everybody uses them these days, because it's like a boom of different brands and kinds and types of all sorts of headphones. What do you think?
R: I think so. You just say that I use this phrase interchangeably with other things, because it's a random topic to be honest with you.
M: Yeah. But again, if the examiner uses the word headphones, so then yeah, why not use the same word. Headphones. So you said that you used earphones. And you prefer compact and easy to carry around headphones. Yeah?
M: Compact. If something is compact it's like small and it's easy to carry it around with you. Compact. Then the question could be what type of headphones do you use? So dear listener, you should know the names of different types of headphones. Earbuds, right, that go into your ear inside your ear. Earbuds. You can also say over-ear headphones, over-ear headphones.
R: What, wait, hold on. What are those?
M: They look the same, so it's pretty much the thing with this bridge, right? Over-ear headphones are bigger. On-ear headphones, like on-ear headphones are smaller. But again there are more differences but I think this is the major one. Again, dear listener, if you are an expert on headphones, please forgive us because we are not really experts. So just we're giving you the words. Okay? So over-ear headphones - big ones, on-ear headphones - a bit smaller ones. Then you can mention wireless earphones or wired headphones. Yeah. Wired headphones are with a cable. So, Rory, which ones do you have? Do you use wireless or wired with a cable?
R: I use, while I try my best to use wireless ones.
M: But do you have those with a cable?
R: I use them when we're recording the podcast. But other than that, no.
M: Also guys, different people who enjoy gaming they have a special gaming headset. What is a headset?
R: Is a headset not... It's like earphones with a mouthpiece for you to speak into.
M: Yep, yeah. So if you're into gaming, you might have some special gaming headphones or special gaming headset. It's like a one word. Also, we have smart headphones, which are connected to your phone and then they know where you are, and then they track you or they have other features. Then you can mention noise-canceling headphones, so they cancel over noise. Noise-canceling headphones. Rory, would you like to have noise-canceling headphones to listen to music? Or listening to our podcast?
R: Well, I think doesn't everyone like noise-canceling things you don't really want to have interference, do you?
M: Yeah, especially when you listen to music and listening to music is your way of escaping from reality. You put your headphones on and you just hear only the music. So then your headphones could be water-resistant. So water-resistant headphones when you do some exercise. So many people prefer listening to music while exercising. So I have water-resistant headphones. Rory, do you have water-resistant headphones?
R: I don't know. I don't want to really find out. I think that they're, they're probably water-resistant to a certain degree. But I don't, like I say, I don't really want to find out because they were expensive.
M: Oh yeah, they can cost a fortune. That's true. And then you said that to hear things clearly, you would use headphones. Or on the metro, somewhere really loud you would put them on. You put on headphones, right? So you wear headphones. So you put on headphones, and then you wear them? Yeah?
R: Yes. Well, then you're wearing them. Or you could say I have my headphones on.
M: Oh, I have my headphones on all the time. Yeah. Or I have my headphones on when I listen to music. Or when I compose music. I always have my headphones on when I listen to IELTS Speaking for Success podcast. But they say that it's better to use headphones when you listen to music, to be able to hear all the sounds and all the sound effects.
R: Probably, I mean, if you can, if you're comfortable with having them on your head.
M: And then you can mention a pair of headphones. Like I have several pairs of headphones or have only one pair of headphones. Rory, how many pairs of headphones do you have?
R: That's a good question. I think I have two. I've got my ones with the wire and I have my wireless ones.
M: Hmm, yeah. I also have wireless earbuds and wired headphones with a cable. Also, dear listener, you can have AirPods. They're called AirPods.
R: Isn't that advertising for Apple?
M: I think so. Yeah. Apple people. So AirPods, sleek AirPods, or over-ear models that go like big over-ear models, like they're huge. Some headphones are massive. But again, if you are a person who is enthusiastic about high-fidelity sound reproduction, you are an audio file. So a person who is crazy about music and different headphones. Oh yeah. You do know the difference. So educate the examiner. Yes, you guys, so this in-ear fit. And you can choose earphones, which come with multiple ear tips. This is so specific vocabulary, you guys. Even Rory didn't know what to call this thingy that you put on your earbud. Oh gosh, yeah. You know, I have a question for you. Oh, what about earphones? So headphones or earphones? That's the same right? Earphones?
R: No, I think your phones are smaller than headphones.
M: Oh my god, this is so confusing.
R: But the good thing is because it's such a broad topic you can use to talk about anything.
M: Yeah, you can mention all the words and just make sure that you know what you're talking about. So Google headphones than Google earphones, and you can go to Amazon and look at different pictures and types of headphones. So to know special vocabulary to talk about your headphones or earphones. And then the question was, like, in what situations you would not use headphones?
R: Yeah, that's a weird one as well. Maybe just when you don't want to listen to things?
M: And you know what? I saw an idea. Headphones are a socially acceptable "I'm ignoring you" device. So when you put your headphones on, you just tell people okay, buzz off. I'm ignoring you. And it's socially acceptable. Would you agree?
R: Um, usually people don't speak to people when they're wearing earphones. I guess they would only talk to you if it was really urgent.
M: Yeah, that's why when you don't want people to talk to you just put your headphones on. And that's all, you know.
R: Yeah. But what if people keep talking to you.
M: Yeah, but people won't talk to you when they see you wearing headphones. So that means like headphones is just like a device to tell people that okay, like, don't talk to me. And this is okay. Like, it seems to be okay. Also, when you're working, for example, and you don't want to be disturbed by other people, you just put your headphones in. And okay, just, I don't want to talk to you guys. I'm focused, don't touch me. Dear listener, do you do something like that? Not to talk to people you put your headphones on, to escape from everybody to escape from reality? Oh, yeah, you can also talk about how headphones might be dangerous for your health. And just for your life, perhaps. It's like, it's too loud inside your head. And some people might have a hearing loss, or because like you are crossing the street and you have this car horns and you don't hear anything. And you don't hear people shouting at you, oh get out of the way. And that's why you can I don't know...
R: Oh, well, then that would be bad. But that's just not paying attention. That's not a side effect of earphones. That's a side effect of not paying attention, isn't it?
M: Yeah, but not paying attention to the sounds because when you're wearing headphones, you don't hear anything around you. You just hear only what you have in your headphones. And that's why you just don't know when people are talking to you, when, I don't know, cars approach you when trains approach you. They've been lots of accidents when people cross the train tracks in their headphones, and they just didn't hear that the train was approaching. It's just an interesting thing.
R: Well, it's logical isn't it?
M: So Rory, if you had a chance, would you buy super expensive headphones? Hmm?
R: No, I wouldn't. I like earbuds and that's okay.
M: Hmm. So you wouldn't invest into some, I don't know, Apple or Sony headphones for like, $500? No?
R: No, it wouldn't be the top priority. I don't think. However, I say that now. I don't have that kind of money to throw around on different things.
M: Yeah, dear listener, so if you want to donate some money for Rory to buy new headphones, for our recordings, feel free to join our premium episodes.
M: Yep. So in our premium, we talk about speaking part two and speaking part three. And this week, Roy is going to be talking about a cafe that he likes to visit. And in speaking part three, we're going to be talking about drinking coffee, cafes, and restaurants in general. So check out the sexy link in the description to this episode. Okay? Check out our premium episodes. We do hope that you are wearing headphones when you are listening to our podcast to catch all the tiny sound effects. Sorry if the sound quality is not perfect because we are recording at a distance now. Rory is in Scotland. I'm in the middle of the mountains in the south of Russia.
R: In the middle of nowhere.
M: In the middle of nowhere. Yeah, close to Sochi. So yeah, we do apologize for the sound. So bear with us. Thank you so much for listening and supporting us! Have a lovely day, night, morning, and life!
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