Are Noise Cancelling Headphones Worth It?

Whether you are on a noisy commute or just want to listen to music at its purest without background interference, only noise-canceling headphones can give you the noise-free audiophile experience. Although the technology is relatively new, many brands have mastered the innovation, giving the user a way of listening to their favorite music like no other. However, they are among the priciest types of headphones so before you part with your hard-earned cash, you want to be sure the purchase is worthwhile. Let’s take a look and consider whether you should bother.

What Are Noise Cancelling Headphones?

Although the name might seem self-explanatory, these headphones are not built only to block out the outside noise. Not all products block every noise, but the can stop ambient sound from impacting the quality and means you can listen to a playlist without having to turn the volume up so high. Passive headphones do not use technology to reduce noise instead they might use less effective soundproofing.

How Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Work?

The technology itself detects low frequencies via tiny microphones usually found on the earcup and creates an opposite waveform, mixing it into the audio that the user is listening to so it doesn’t make a sound. What you are left with is only the music. It is easier for the technology to pick up constant sounds such as an air conditioning unit or an airplane jet than sporadic sounds such as random parts of a conversation.

The active noise canceling technology can usually be turned on and off at the click of a button on the side of the headphones to preserve battery life.

What Are The Different Types of Noise Cancelling Headphones?


Regular headphones will not use any type of noise-canceling technology and focus on delivering sound into your ears rather than blocking anything else out. Because of the way the earbuds or cups are shaped, there is a limited amount of blocking the noise of the world but no distinct effort has been made to do more. This makes such options affordable.


The padding on over-ear headphones does a decent job of keeping noise out but only to a point. Typical in gaming headphones, you will often have to increase the volume a fair bit before you hear the music and not a lot else which can impact the sound quality and clarity. The size makes them less practical and they can become uncomfortable before too long.

Active Noise Cancelling

the best that modern technology has to offer, active noise-canceling headphones and noise-canceling earbuds use a button to activate the technology so you can switch it on and off when you feel necessary. Often via Bluetooth connection, these headphones reverse the soundwaves of ambient noise so you are the only left with the music in your ears.

The main benefit for a lot of people is being able to enjoy music at a lower volume and still get the clarity.

Are Noise Cancelling Headphones Expensive?

This depends on a lot of factors such as the brand and spec of the technology used but noise-canceling headphones are among the most expensive. Having said that you can purchase a quality product that cancells ambient noise and has a decent battery life for under $100. As with a lot of modern technology, the sky is the limit at the top end of the price scale.

When you hover around the $300 mark and aa little beyond you are starting to look at some of the best products in the niche.

Benefits of Noise Cancelling Headphones

Protects Your Hearing

Because you don’t have tot run the volume up so high to hear certain parts and instruments around the noise of the outside world, active noise-canceling headphones can be enjoyed with the volume down. The clarity you get is better so you can protect your hearing from dangerous volumes.

Ideal For Travelling

One of the worst parts about a commute or flight is the amount of ambient noise. From loud conversations, the rumbling of the train or jet engine can take a lot of the enjoyment out of your music. Noise-canceling headphones ensure the only sound you hear is whatever you are playing from your phone.

Allows You To Focus

If you are the type of person who works ina cafe at your laptop or from your seat on the train, other people’s conversations can be cause for distraction. Noise-canceling headphones eliminate unwanted noise that can break your concentration and cause your work to take longer than it should.

Easier Conversations

For a conference call or even a personal conversation over the phone or via video messaging, noise-canceling headphones make it easier to hear every word. This is vital for the workplace although they might be better suited to phone conversations than professional videos because of their size. Because they are wireless you can often move around the office or your home comfortably.

Richer Sound

Because you don’t need to crank the volume, the sound quality of noise-canceling headphones is often among the best available. Most products don’t rely on the technology to provide a true audio experience so expect true clarity and the perfect balance between the highs, mids, and lows.

Long Battery Life

Although you might not be able to find a product that plugs in, wireless headphones typically last a long time between recharges. Some products can last well over 24 hours before they need to be plugged in although expect the battery to last longer when the active noise canceling technology is not on.

Are Noise Cancelling Headphones Worth It?

If you struggle to make out certain sounds in your headphones because of the noise of your surroundings or want to be able to protect your ears with the volume day without compromising quality, they are certainly worth it.

However, it is important to say that just because these headphones have a higher price tag, it does not mean the sound quality is better than all other types of headphones. Research is still important when it comes to the best noise-canceling headphones as some models are known for their sound quality more than others.