To state it very straightforwardly, your earphone includes a bit of plastic that moves in accordance to the indicators received in the device it is connected to. The plastic moves due to a metallic coil that is attached to the magnet, which facilitates the plastic to create the sound waves that pass into your ear.
That is it, actually. It seems easy enough, but I could not have thought of it.
Jezen Thomas at eHow.com presents a further detailed clarification to us, he says that,
“Earphones consist of a speaker cone, an iron coil, a magnet and speaker cables. When earphones are plugged into a music-playing device like a stereo, electricity is sent along the speaker cables. The speaker cables feed this electrical current through the iron coil, which behaves as an electromagnet. The coil then attracts or repels the permanent magnet, depending on the electrical current sent by the music-playing device. This causes the coil to move, which subsequently pushes and pulls the speaker cone. As the speaker cone vibrates as a result of this movement, it creates sonic waves that resonate through the air and are transferred through small bones and membranes inside your ear”.
Evidently, there’s different types of headphones, but essentially, that is it.
Some earpieces, though, do include additional features. Noise canceling headsets, for instance, can produce a small field of white noise around the speaker itself, which acts as a bit of a vacuum and has the effect of disabling outside sound. These headphones are also better for the health of your inner ear than most other types. Sam Costello at About.com
“The noise around us can contribute to cause us to change how we listen to an iPod. If there’s a lot of noise nearby, it’s likely that we’ll turn up the iPod’s volume, thus increasing the chances of hearing loss. To cut down on, or eliminate, ambient noise, use noise-deadening or –cancelling headphones. They’re more expensive, but your ears will thank you”.
Chris Woodford, articles for ‘Explain That Stuff.com’, supplies an in depth portrayal of those main distinctions between earphones and speakers. Even with basically operating in the exact same method, you’ll find variations involving the two, it seems. He says,
“The biggest difference between loudspeakers and headphones is, of course, size. A loudspeaker needs to set all the air moving in a room so you can hear the sound it’s making, but the speaker in a headphone only has to move the volume of air inside your ear canal. That’s why it can be so much smaller and more discreet”.
If, even after all this tech talk, you are still considering seeing what’s happening to your headphones, the Youtube user Cayde Brown features a series of videos called ‘Take Apart’, which will probably be of interest. In one episode (which I’ll link HERE), Cayde takes a pair of headphones apart and shows us exactly how they work.