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Earbuds usually do not have cushions, although they can. They are meant to be held in place by the concha ridge at the center of your outer ear, rather than sitting inside the ear canal. They are often one-size-fits-all, which may not be comfortable to wear. Depending on the shape of your ear ridges, they may not fit securely and may fall out frequently. This can be annoying, especially if you are wearing them for sports and exercise. Some have wings or loops to tuck under the ridges of the ear to help keep them in place.

Earbuds allow in ambient noise so you can hear what is going on around you. You don't feel sealed off from your environment. That provides a small measure of safety for outdoor exercise such as running or walking while wearing earbuds.

Earbuds have generally not had the same performance as high-end headphones, often lacking bass and sounding tinny. If you're buying earbuds, the good news is they are often less expensive than earphones and in-ear headphones.

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