How to Find a Great Pair of Noise Blocking Headphones

noise blocking headphones

Decide which type of noise blocking headphones is best for you

These days it seems everyone owns a portable music player of some sort.  Having a great pair of noise blocking headphones is essential if you really want to enjoy your music in peace.  From traffic noise, train noise and general noise outside a great pair of noise blocking headphones is a must have.  There are two main types of noise blocking headphones and finding the one that best suites your needs depends on how and where you’ll actually use it.  Read on to learn about the different types of noise blocking headphones available and what features you’ll encounter when your out shopping for one.

What types of noise blocking headphones are there?

Well, there are two types of noise blocking headphones; active and passive.  Let’s take a closer look at the differences.

  • Passive noise blocking headphones are low technology, they simply surround the ear with soundproof material, thus blocking out the sound.  Low tech but possible the best one if your particular usage situation requires it.
  • Active noise blocking headphones however are quite high tech.  They have a microphone that detects outside noise, then the headphones will produce an equal, but opposite noise that effectively cancels out the outside noise.  These are bulkier but have a specific usage scenario that we’ll cover later

Which noise blocking headphone should I get?

This will depend on the situation and also the background noise itself.  Let’s look more closely at the physical differences and also the limitations of each design.

Passive noise blocking headphones are, like I said, low tech.  They are also less bulky and require no power supply.  They don’t ‘react’ to the outside noise they just look to block it out.  These are a great choice if you mostly encounter constantly changing outside noise, like traffic, conversation or music.  These are also the most comfortable to wear over long periods of time.

Active noise blocking headphones on the other hand absolutely do require a power source and also are bulkier and heavier.  These are great if you encounter a steady outside noise, such as on a train or plane.  They have no limitation when it comes to the volume of the outside noise.  These can become uncomfortable over long periods of time though.

What kind of noise blocking headphones should I get?

Now that we understand the underlying technology and what each type is good at we can look at some different situations and which noise blocking headphones are best.

If you’re at home playing a computer game or listening to music while there is conversation, music or TV in the next room passive noise blocking headphones are for you.  Why?  You’ll be there for a while so you’ll appreciate that they are more comfortable.  In addition the passive type doesn’t have to respond to constantly changing sound so it’ll be more effective blocking out the noise.

If you’re outside walking/jogging/biking etc.. and there is street noise such as traffic or music once again the passive noise blocking headphones are best.  The outside noise is constantly changing and also you’ll want a lighter more comfortable headphone.

Now, if you’re commuting on a train, or on a plane or in a car the active would be best.  Since your ‘trip’ should be short the heavier active type won’t be too uncomfortable and also, since the noise is relatively constant the active should be able to cancel just about all of the outside noise.

There are of course other situations that you’ll have to deal with.  I should say that just about all active noise blocking headphones will have some soundproofing material so it’ll act like a passive as well.  To find the best one for your situation you really have to understand where and how you’ll be using the headphones and also for how long.  I can tell you from experience that an active headphone can get unbearable uncomfortable, even downright painful to me after about an hour.

What other considerations are there when shopping for noise blocking headphones?

Well just one really when it comes to sound quality.  If you value the quality of the sound you hear then you really want to find a pair with great frequency response.  In fact this is what sets apart good headphones from great ones.

When you’re ready to go out to your favorite store or website I suggest you also read some noise canceling headphone reviews on sites like Consumer Reports, Consumer Search and especially on Amazon.  These sites feature noise canceling headphone reviews that can help you find the best noise blocking headphones for the money.

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About the Author

Hi there!, My name is Norm. I am a college grad, a veteran, a pet owner and a family man. I started writing articles both to make a little extra money, and to share my knowledge with others. I currently work in the IT department of a major NY hospital.
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