How to Use Headphones Over Hoodie Without Sacrificing Sound Quality

Man wearing headphones over hoodie (From: Betabrand)
Man wearing headphones over hoodie (From: Betabrand)

Wearing headphones and a hoodie sounds like an either/or situation. But does it have to be?

When the weather outside starts getting chilly, one way to stay warm while listening to music is to wear your headphones over your hoodie. However, if you do so, the music will be muffled no matter how amazing your headphones are.

On the other hand, wearing headphones underneath might make your head profile appear bulky and strange, or even leave you with unslightly headphone dents in your hair or scalp. It also creates an opening for cold air to enter the hoodie, making it uncomfortable for your ears.

So, if you can’t place your headphones over nor under your hoodie, what option do you have left?

Fret not! This article will provide you with expert tips on how to wear your headphones and hoodie at the same time. Read on to find out!

How Does Wearing Headphones Over Hoodie Affect Sound Quality

When worn properly, headphones can help seal unwanted background noise by cupping your ears. Unfortunately, placing a thick fabric (like a hoodie) between the headphones’ speakers and your ears breaks off this acoustic seal.

This lets in ambient noise and increases the chances of sound leakage, potentially allowing others around you to hear what you’re listening to.

Depending on its thickness, this fabric barrier also reduces the volume you hear by a couple of decibels (dB). Plus, it dampens the frequencies you can hear, ultimately losing the sub-bass (16 – 60 Hz), midrange (250Hz – 2k Hz), and treble (>2k Hz) frequencies.

As a result, the audio will not sound as rich or detailed as it should, making it an overall less immersive listening experience.

You can try using the sound equalizer to boost the affected frequencies. However, please note that forcing the drivers to produce sounds beyond their capacity may result in blowouts. Refer to our guide on the best equalizer settings to find out more.

How to Wear Headphones With Hoodie Without Affecting Sound Quality

Whether it’s a matter of style or functionality, if you still wish to use headphones over hoodie, you’ll have two options to preserve your headphones’ sound quality.

One is to replace your hoodie with those explicitly made for this purpose. And two is to repurpose your everyday hoodie. Here’s a quick guide on these two options:

Make a DIY hoodie for your headphones

Instead of shelling out a pretty penny for specialized hoodies that allow sound to pass through without losing quality, you can fashion your own DIY hoodie with a few simple materials.

Here are what you need to DIY your own hoodie headphones:

The speaker grill/mesh cloth is the commonly used fabric to refurbish old or worn-out speaker cups. This is necessary for this DIY project because it’s an acoustically transparent material.

Here’s the step-by-step guide on how to create your own hoodie headphones:

  1. Wear your hoodie with the hood up.
  2. With a pencil/marker, carefully mark the part of the hoodie that touches your ears.
  3. Take your headphones and place one earcup flat on a piece of paper.
    Tip: If your headphones have removable ear paddings, removing and placing them flat on the paper will make this process easier and more accurate.
  4. Trace the outline of the earcup onto the paper.
  5. Cut the paper pattern following the traced outline of the earcup – this will form the earcup pattern we will cut from the hood later.
  6. Put your hoodie on a flat surface and place this earcup pattern over the marking you had made earlier.
  7. Carefully cut the hood using the pattern as a guide – this will create a hole on the hoodie roughly the size of your headphones’ earcup.
  8. Using the same pattern, place it on top of a piece of speaker mesh cloth.
  9. Leaving around a ¼ inch of space around the sides for allowance, carefully cut the speaker mesh cloth following the shape of the pattern.
  10. Position the freshly cut speaker mesh cloth inside the hoodie, making sure it fits and covers the hole you had cut out earlier.
  11. Sew the speaker mesh cloth in place. We recommend using the invisible/ladder stitching method to make it more presentable.

Buy a specialized hoodie for headphones

Although they are a cheap solution, DIY hoodies aren’t exactly easy to make. What’s more, they can look and feel tacky with the modifications, especially if you’re not the crafty type.

For those who are willing to invest in a more specialized and well-designed hoodie, here are some products to consider:

Ninja’s Gamer Hoodie

Ninja's specially designed gamer hoodie with poly mesh holes that don't interfere with sound.
Ninja’s specially designed gamer hoodie with poly mesh holes that don’t interfere with sound.

Popular streamer and Twitch celebrity Tyler “Ninja” Blevins’ new gaming hoodie allows you to wear headphones over them and still enjoy your music or games uninterrupted.

Unlike regular hoodie fabric, which muffles any sound passing through them, Ninja’s Gamer Hoodie works by using polymesh ear holes on each side, which allows the sound from the headset to pass through unaffected.

Furthermore, the slim fit and fully customizable premium colors make it a dope streetwear garment whether you are gaming, listening to music, or going out.

Where to buy

Audio Engineer’s Hoodie

A look at the Audio Engineer's Hoodie with acoustically transparent speaker cloth hood panels.
A look at the Audio Engineer’s Hoodie with acoustically transparent speaker cloth hood panels.

The San Francisco clothing company, Betabrand, believes it has crowdfunded the perfect fashion accessory for the hoodie-wearing audiophile, deejay, or engineer.

Designed by audio engineer Nic Pope, the Audio Engineer’s Hoodie uses acoustically transparent speaker cloth hood panels that allow sound to pass through effectively.

However, unlike Ninja’s Gamer Hoodie, marketed as trendy fashion apparel, the Audio Engineer’s hoodie is designed with several innovative features for serious audio professionals.

For instance, it has a tool clip in the front pocket that allows pros to keep things like their flashlight and drum key handy. The right pocket’s internal headphone seam also keeps wires tucked away neatly, so they don’t get tangled up.

It even comes in matte black so deejays can remain inconspicuous while mixing on stage and still hear the sound clearly.

Where to buy

Conclusion

In a dream scenario, it’s easy to envision wearing your headphones over a regular hoodie with no issues.

In the real world, however, we know that will require tradeoffs in sound quality.

But now that you’ve learned of some excellent alternatives, you’re one step closer to your dream.

What did you think of the products we recommended? Were they helpful to you, or did you manage to find an even better alternative? Tell us in the comments below!

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