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How do Headphones Work

Headphones are used in many different industries ranging from music production to echo sonar technology. Their primarily function is to relay and amplify sound. Headphones are essentially two speakers that are encased in circular modules that sit in or over a person’s ear. They are used to amplify sound directly into a person’s ear and allow for individual listening. Headphones can be connected to a variety of different sources of sound and can also be connected to other machinery to be used in telecommunication and radio broadcasting.

How do headphones work?
A set of headphones consist of a number of different components that allow them to work effectively. Whether they are fitted over the ear or placed into the ear each pair of headphones have a right and a left speaker. These two speakers are connected to a signal wire which are joined together further down the wires to make one sound cable that connects to a jack. This jack is then connected to signal source, such as a personal media player. The signal wires allow for the electrical energy or sound to be transferred from the signal source to the speakers in the ear pieces.

Once the electrical energy reaches the ear pieces or speakers, different parts of the speakers are used to transfer that energy into sound. Each speaker in a set of headphones contains a cone, usually made of thin transparent plastic, two metal wires, an iron coil and a permanent magnet. The speaker receives electrical energy from the signal source through one of the wires inside the speaker. This wire is attached to the iron coil and when the electrical energy passes through the iron coil it magnetises the coil turning the coil into a temporary magnet. This either attracts or repels the permanent magnet that is attached to the cone. As this occurs the cone is pulled and pushed backwards and forwards creating sound waves. The electrical energy exits the coil through the second wire in the speaker and is transferred back to the signal source. These vibrations allow us to hear different sounds and that is how we can hear the sounds coming from the signal source. The more intense the vibrations caused by the pull or push of the magnet the louder the sound through the headphones. The speed of the vibration determines the pitch of the sound. The slower the vibration of the cone the lower the sound will be. If the vibration of the cone is fast the sound it produces will be of a higher pitch.

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