Why do streamers wear earbuds (instead of headsets)?

Long-time gamers are often astonished when they see streamers use earbuds instead of a headset. Headsets have long been a staple among gamers. And they still are. Easily 90% of Twitch streamers are headset-wearers. But now and then you may notice that streamers are wearing earbuds instead of headsets.

Why is this? What kind of gamer uses earbuds? Don’t they know about the benefits of surround sound? Don’t they realise that wearing a headset makes you a better gamer?

Why streamers use earbuds (instead of headsets)

Streamers use earbuds over headsets for a number of reasons.

Reasons why streamers use earbuds:

  • Earbuds look better than headsets
  • Headsets hurt after prolonged use
  • Earbuds are more comfortable
  • Earbuds are cheap
  • Earbuds don’t give you the hair dent
  • Some streamers wear earbuds to practice for LANs

Earbuds look better than headsets

The most obvious reason streamers use earbuds instead of headphones is simply preference. Earbuds are low-key and look better than headphones which are often oversized.

One such example is AceU. AceU never wears headphones and instead relies on his apple earbuds, even in Apex Legends and Valorant which some people would consider being games where you must have surround sound to get an advantage.

aceu using earbuds on his stream instead of a headset
screengrab: AceU on Twitch

Why does he do it? According to his chatbot, AceU uses apple earbuds because they don’t mess up his BTS haircut.

headsets hurt after prolonged use

headsets hurt after prolonged use which is why some streamers prefer earbuds instead

If you’ve ever done a 10 hours gaming session, you for sure have noticed that your headset starts to hurt. After a while, you can really feel it pressing down on your head. This can be uncomfortable and some streamers even get headaches because of it.

Headsets simply get heavy after a while. While they might be comfortable for your daily 2-hour gaming session, streamers often stream for much longer than that.

For this reason, many streamers resort to earbuds which are less likely to become uncomfortable or even induce a headache.

Earbuds are more comfortable

Some streamers find earbuds vastly more comfortable than headsets. If you have any experience with prolonged gaming sessions, you may have experienced that headphones tend to hurt.

Since streamers tend to stream for long hours (some streamers such as xQc stream for more than 10 hours per day) they use whatever is most comfortable to them.

Earbuds are cheap

Another reason streamers might wear earbuds as opposed to headsets is that they are much cheaper. Most gaming headsets have a price tag between $150 and $300. That’s a lot of money when you compare them to $30 earbuds. Many streamers are much better off investing that money in getting a proper microphone that will improve their stream instead of spending it on a headset to get a slight advantage in a video game.

Earbuds don’t give you the hair dent

myth showing a hair dent after taking off his headset on a twitch stream
pic via Myth of Twitch

It is common knowledge that headsets give you a headset dent when wearing them for hours on an end. This is annoying for anyone who cares about their appearance.

Nobody wants to go outside with a visible dent in their haircut as a result of headset wearing so many streamers choose to wear earbuds instead.

Some streamers use earbuds to practice for LANs

Some LAN events require their participants to wear heavy, noise-canceling headphones while they are competing. This is a rule to prevent the players from getting intel on the enemy team through the casters.

Due to this, participants are forced to wear earbuds underneath them. For this reason, some streamers prefer to wear earbuds while streaming so they get used to the stereo audio that regular earbuds provide. They are essentially using them to practice for LAN tournaments.

Twitch Streamers who prefer earbuds over headphones

Most streamers who prefer earbuds over headphones are streamers who play non FPS games such as League of Legends, OSRS, and others. Among the FPS category, Apex Legends and Fortnite are known to have many streamers use earbuds instead of headsets because headsets don’t provide the same extra benefits in those games.

  • Aceu
  • Sykkuno
  • TiffaJessi
  • iamBush
  • Apryze

Are earbuds just as good as headphones in video games?

Headsets have always been a staple for video games. But besides surround sound and often coming with a decent built-in microphone, they really don’t bring that much more to the table.

Earbuds are just as good as headsets in most video games with the exception of FPS games.

During FPS games such as Valorant and COD Warzone, you have an extra advantage with a headset thanks to surround sound. Regular earbuds use stereo audio which will roughly tell you where a sound is coming from (left or right) but it does leave you in the dark for the most part. Surround sound, on the other hand, provides audio in 360 degrees.

With a headset that uses surround sound, the audio queues are infinitely better. You will know exactly whether the enemy is above or underneath you. Whether they are close, or far away. It does make a difference.

Should you get a headset as a streamer (instead of earbuds)?

While the majority of streamers use a headset, they are not necessary. Many streamers were headset users long before they started streaming for reasons such as build in microphone, better audio, surround sound and so forth.

Having a headset is not going to give you an advantage as a streamer though. You are much better off buying cheap earbuds and spending your money on your streaming equipment instead.

Wrap up

It all comes down to personal preference. Most streamers use a headset when they stream but some streamers prefer to use earbuds instead. Earbuds have the advantage of being cheap, light, better looking, and are more comfortable to wear during long streaming sessions.

FPS streamers are more likely to wear headsets than non FPS streamers as headsets provide a real benefit during FPS games (with Apex Legends being the exception).

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