Earphones are a pair of small hearing devices that are designed to be fitted in a user's ears, facing the ear canal. They are electroacoustic transducers through which the electrical signal is converted into a corresponding sound. They are typically designed to enable a single user to listen to an audio privately, unlike the loudspeakers, which produces sound in open air, for anyone to hear nearby. Earphones are portable device and are convenient, however some people consider them uncomfortable and prone to falling out. The earphones consist of separate units that are plugged into the ear canal of the users. In the terms of telecommunication, a headset is a combination of earphone/headphone and microphone. They either connect directly to an audio amplifier, CD player, radio, portable media player, mobile phone, electronic musical instrument, video game consoles or use wireless bluetooth technology. Earphone consists of different audio imitation quality capabilities. The headsets used for telephone cannot reproduce sound with highly reliable expensive units that are designed for listening music.
Using earphones at a high volume level may lead to permanent or temporary hearing damage or deafness. The sound volume has to compete with nearby background noise, especially in places such as subway, railway stations, aircraft, as well as in large crowds. Some portable music devices manufacturers have tried to introduce safety circuits in order to limit the output volume and warn the user when the volume used is at dangerous level. However, this concept has been rejected by majority of public who favor their personal choice of volume.
Earphones exhibit high consumer adoption rate during workouts, travelling, etc. which has escalated their demand in the recent years. Other factors such as rising disposable income, products integrated with enhanced noise annulment capabilities may swell the earphones market demand during the forecast period. Further, earphone market is composed for high growth owing to its short replacement cycle, which is attributed to growing consumer needs, functionalities and loss or damage. The use of portable music systems, such as tablets, smartphones and handheld music players, is significantly growing in the market which in turn, is driving the market for earphones currently. In the recent years, various technological advancements in earphones have led to minimizing of the overall size and weight of earphones. The key developments in wireless technologies such as bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Infrared (IR) and SKAA are expected to further increase the growth of the earphone market. The demand for earphones is strong in corporate sector, mainly in the expanding call center industry. The growing adoption of VOIP services for video conferencing is also behind the increasing demand for earphones from the corporate sector. Proliferation of various e-commerce websites, along with competitive pricing is further anticipated to swell the sales of earphones via online store during the coming years.
The major participants in the global earphone market include companies such as JVC Corporation, Sony Corporation, Sennheiser Electronic GmbH & Co. KG, Bose Corporation, Apple Inc., Harman International Industries, GN Netcom A/S (Jabra), Plantronics Pty Ltd., Audio-Technica Corporation, and Philips Electronics Ltd.
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