What Are Noise-Cancelling Headphones?

Noise-cancelling headphones are a type of headphones that can eliminate unwanted external sounds by creating a sound wave that is the exact opposite of the ambient noise. They work by using tiny microphones to pick up the surrounding sound waves and then creating a signal that is 180 degrees out of phase with the original sound wave. This signal cancels out the unwanted noise, leaving the listener with a much clearer and quieter listening experience.

How Do Noise-Cancelling Headphones Work?

Noise-cancelling headphones use two different types of noise-cancellation: passive and active.

Passive Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Passive noise-cancelling headphones work by physically blocking out external sounds. They use materials such as foam or silicone to create a seal around the ear, preventing sound waves from entering the ear canal. These headphones are typically less expensive than active noise-cancelling headphones but are less effective at blocking out noise.

Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Active noise-cancelling headphones, on the other hand, use electronic circuitry to create a sound wave that cancels out external sounds. They use small microphones to pick up external sounds and then produce a sound wave that is the exact opposite of the ambient noise. This results in a much quieter listening experience.

Types of Noise-Cancelling Headphones

There are two main types of noise-cancelling headphones: in-ear and over-ear.

In-Ear Noise-Cancelling Headphones

In-ear noise-cancelling headphones are smaller and more compact than over-ear headphones. They fit snugly into the ear canal and use silicone or foam tips to create a seal that blocks out external sounds. In-ear headphones are typically less expensive than over-ear headphones but may not be as effective at blocking out noise.

Over-Ear Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Over-ear noise-cancelling headphones are larger and cover the entire ear. They use padding to create a seal around the ear, preventing external sounds from entering the ear canal. Over-ear headphones are typically more expensive than in-ear headphones but are more effective at blocking out noise.

Benefits of Noise-Cancelling Headphones

There are several benefits to using noise-cancelling headphones, including:

  1. Improved sound quality: Noise-cancelling headphones allow you to hear your music more clearly by eliminating external sounds that can interfere with your listening experience.
  2. Reduced stress and fatigue: By blocking out external noise, noise-cancelling headphones can help reduce stress and fatigue, allowing you to relax and enjoy your music more.
  3. Increased productivity: Noise-cancelling headphones can help you focus by eliminating distractions in your environment.
  4. Improved travel experience: Noise-cancelling headphones are especially beneficial during air travel, where the constant hum of the plane’s engines can be a major distraction.
  5. Comfort: Noise-cancelling headphones are often designed with comfort in mind, with features like soft padding and adjustable headbands to provide a comfortable listening experience.
  6. Hearing protection: By reducing the need to turn up the volume to hear your music, noise-cancelling headphones can help protect your hearing.

Drawbacks of Noise-Cancelling Headphones

While there are many benefits to using noise-cancelling headphones, there are also some drawbacks to consider:

  1. Price: Noise-cancelling headphones can be expensive, especially compared to traditional headphones.
  2. Battery life: Active noise-cancelling headphones require power to work, which means they need to be charged or have a battery replaced regularly.
  3. Sound quality: While noise-cancelling headphones can improve the sound quality of your music, some people feel that they can also reduce the overall audio quality by filtering out some of the higher frequencies.
  4. Bulkiness: Over-ear noise-cancelling headphones can be bulky and heavy, making them less portable than in-ear headphones.

Buying Guide for Noise-Cancelling Headphones

If you’re in the market for noise-cancelling headphones, there are several factors to consider:

Considerations When Choosing Noise-Cancelling Headphones

  1. Type: Determine whether you prefer in-ear or over-ear headphones.
  2. Noise-cancelling technology: Look for headphones with active noise-cancellation technology, as it is generally more effective than passive noise-cancellation.
  3. Sound quality: Make sure the headphones deliver high-quality audio with a wide frequency range.
  4. Comfort: Look for headphones with comfortable ear pads and an adjustable headband.
  5. Battery life: Check the battery life of the headphones to make sure they can last through long listening sessions.

Top Noise-Cancelling Headphone Brands

  1. Bose: Bose is a well-known brand in the audio industry and is known for its high-quality noise-cancelling headphones.
  2. Sony: Sony also produces high-quality noise-cancelling headphones, with some models offering advanced features like touch controls and voice assistants.
  3. Sennheiser: Sennheiser is a German audio company that produces a range of high-end headphones, including noise-cancelling models.
  4. Beats: Beats is a popular brand of headphones that offers a range of noise-cancelling models, with some designed specifically for use during exercise.

How to Use Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Using noise-cancelling headphones is easy:

  1. Charge the headphones if necessary.
  2. Put on the headphones and turn on the noise-cancelling feature.
  3. Adjust the volume to a comfortable level.
  4. Enjoy your music or audio without the distraction of external sounds.

Maintenance and Care for Noise-Cancelling Headphones

To keep your noise-cancelling headphones in good condition:

  1. Clean the ear pads and headband regularly.
  2. Store the headphones in a protective case when not in use.
  3. Avoid exposing the headphones to moisture or extreme temperatures.
  4. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging and battery replacement.


Noise-cancelling headphones are a popular and effective way to block out unwanted external sounds and enjoy high-quality audio. With a range of options to choose from and factors to consider, it’s important to do your research and choose the headphones that best meet your needs.


  1. Can noise-cancelling headphones damage your hearing?

No, noise-cancelling headphones are designed to protect your hearing by reducing the need to turn up the volume to hear your music.

  1. Are noise-cancelling headphones good for studying?

Yes, noise-cancelling headphones can be beneficial for studying by reducing distractions and helping you focus.

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