Noise Cancelling Headphones

Noise cancelling headphones use battery-powered electronics to cancel out or attenuate external ambient noises. They are specifically designed to block steady lower-frequency sounds and are excellent for use in planes, trains and automobiles. Noise-cancelling headphones are ideal for travel and will claw back some musical peace of mind during your hectic journeys.

For the consummate road warrior,  noise cancelling headphones can provide a peaceful musical oasis from the chaos and commotion of frequent travel.
  • Noise cancelling (NC) headphones provide approximately -15dB to -25dB of isolation, mainly within the lower frequencies.
  • NC circuitry excels at filtering out low-pitched, constant sounds like airplane cabin noise and train rumble but do not attenuate much noise over 1,500 kHz, so higher pitched street traffic, loud talking or the hollering kid behind you may still penetrate your blissful listening cocoon.
  • NC headphones typically employ a noise-cancelling switch and are battery-powered. Most have AAA batteries that can be easily replaced on the road.  
  • Many upper-tier NC models offer very high-quality construction and a precise fit and finish with close attention paid to wearing comfort and luxurious accessories such as carrying cases and plug adapters for use in different countries or with varying player sources.
  • A downside is that noise-cancelling electronics adds a premium to the cost. Also, all those on-board NC electronics can bring along some degradation of overall sound quality performance.

Bottom line?  We recommend noise cancelling headphones specifically for airline, train or bus travel. However for lots of other noisy listening environments, a good closed headphone or specially an in-ear headphone can likely block out more ambient sound while also delivering better overall sound quality at roughly similar or lower prices.