Why Do Earphones Have Different Length Cords?

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Earphones have become more popular over the years, surpassing headphones as the preferred way of listening to audio. As earphones have risen to fame, they have undergone many modifications. One of the most noticeable differences in current earphones is the different cord lengths for the left and right earbuds.

So, why do earphones have different length cords? The different cord lengths for the left and right earbuds are made to make the earphone wires fit comfortably behind the neck instead of hanging in front of the body.

You may actually be wearing your earphones the wrong way! Read on to learn how to properly wear your earphones and how to figure out the best earphones for you.

Different Cords for Left and Right Ears

Some earphone manufacturers have begun to make their earphones with different cord lengths for the left and right ears. This is in an effort to get the cords out of your way when you are enjoying audio.

Earphones with different length cords for left and right ears are worn like this:

  • The longer cord is for the right ear. You will reach the cord behind your neck and place the earbud into your right ear.
  • The shorter cord is for the left ear. Simply place its earbud into your left ear.
  • The cord should hang on the left of the body, out of the way.

Additionally, you can reverse the earbuds if you need the cord to lay on your right side. Just bring the long cord around the back of your neck and place the earbud into your left ear. It will leave the smaller cord for the right ear and allow the cord to fall onto your right side.

Earphone Cord FAQ

There are many different kinds of earphones – even wireless ones! Corded earphones have different lengths, use different conductive metals, and some are even made to be tangle-free.

What is the best metal conductor to have in your earphones?

Earphone cords are typically made with two metal conductors surrounded by an insulator. They are made to be flexible and durable. The most common metals used in earphones are copper, silver, gold, and rhodium. However, copper is most often used as the wire conductor.

Normally, there are strands of extremely thin copper wires that are twisted together that form the wire conductors. Copper is more flexible and more resistant to damage from twisting and moving than the other metals. OFC, or Oxygen Free Copper, is used in most earphone cords.

There is a copper variant called C10100 copper that is a more refined and expensive copper that premium audio cables use. This copper only boasts a 1% higher conductivity rate than OFC, so some earphone users cannot even tell the difference between OFC wires and C10100 wires.

How long should my earphone cord be?

Basic earphone cables are usually 1.2 meters, or 3.9 feet, long. There are cord extenders sold that can make the length up to 2 or 3 meters. However, longer cords tend to get in the way if you are using your earphones to listen to tunes on your phone or another device that is close to you.

Generally, cord extenders and earphones or headphones with long cords are used by people like DJs who need lots of mobility while wearing the earphones. If you are wanting to listen to something far away with your earphones, like your television, a longer cable is needed as well.

Does the length of my earphone cable affect my sound quality?

When it comes to earphones, you don’t really have to worry about sound quality being compromised by cord length. Usually, sound quality isn’t in danger of being affected unless the cable is over three meters long, and most earphone cables are not that long.

How can I prevent my earphones from tangling?

One of the biggest issues with earphones is that the cords tangle so easily! Luckily, there are tips for preventing tangling, and manufacturers have started making better earphone cables that are less likely to tangle.

  • Use binder clips to wrap your earphones and secure them, so they do not tangle.
  • Purchase earphones with thick cords. The thicker cords are less likely to tangle.
  • Purchase earphones with flat cables. These flat cables are made to not tangle. However, there is a downside to flat cables – since they are made to not tangle, they are a bit more difficult to store. They want to remain flat and unwound.
  • Purchase earphones with fabric-covered cables. These are great for resisting tangling and are also easily able to be stored because they don’t resist as much as flat cables.
  • Wrap your earphone cords with sewing thread! This is another DIY way to help prevent tangling.
  • Use tie wraps to secure your earphones once you wrap them up to prevent tangling.

How to Choose the Right Earphones for You

There are many factors to consider when you are choosing earphones. Earphones offer portability and are extremely light-weight and easy to bring along anywhere. 

Other factors to consider when choosing earphones are:

  • Do you want noise-cancelling earphones?
  • What kind of earbud fits best in your ear?
  • How much does durability matter to you?
  • What type of cable is best for what you need?

Earphone and Cable Accessories

There are many accessories that can be used to enhance your earphone experience – from making your basic earphones wireless to make sure they don’t get tangled!

Bluetooth Transmitter

Bluetooth headphones can be expensive, but you can purchase a Bluetooth transmitter to turn your earphones wireless. One popular transmitter you can try is the BlueAnt Ribbon that is available on Amazon for only $19.99 with free shipping.


If you want better output and quality of your earphones, you can purchase an amplifier to amp up even the most basic of headphones. One great amplifier to try is the FiiO A3 Portable Headphone Amplifier that is available on Amazon for $58.99 and free shipping.


Splitters are an amazing accessory for your earphones because they allow you to share what you’re listening to with other people. You simply all plug into the same splitter. Try the Belkin Rockstar 5-Jack Multi Headphone Audio Splitter to share what you’re listening to with 4 friends for only $12.99 on Amazon.

Extension Cords

For those who need a longer cable for their earphones, extension cords are able to be purchased to add the extra mobility you need. If this is something you need, you can try the AmazonBasics 3.5mm Male to Female Stereo Audio Extension Adapter Cable that is only $5.99 on Amazon.

Silicone Earbuds

Having extra silicon pieces for your earbuds on your earphones is always a good idea. You can get 8 pairs of silicone eartips on Amazon for only $5.99!

Earphone Organizer

You’re already aware of how easily your earphone cords can tangle, and earphone organizers can prevent that. Try the ELFRhino Silicone Earphone Organizer from Amazon for only $4.99. It allows you to wrap your earphones safely and securely and then keeps them organized and untangled for you.

In Conclusion…

Earphones provide comfort and convenience in a portable and lightweight product. At a time where our music, news, and even movies can be held in our hands, it is important to have great earphones to be able to enjoy our entertainment in style and with ease. 

Having earphones that are designed to keep the cord out of your way is helpful, especially when you are trying to listen to tunes while you study or listen to a podcast while folding laundry. Wireless headphones are not for everyone, so an out-of-the-way wired earphone option is perfect!

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