5 Tips for Buying Noise Cancelling Headphones

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5 Tips for Buying Noise Cancelling Headphones

Noise-cancelling headphones are quite popular. They work by eliminating the frequency of ambient sound. They are an ideal choice for people who wish to block out background noise and chatter while listening to music or watching their favorite TV shows. Many people also use them just to enjoy some silence. Deciding on which noise-cancelling headphones to buy is not always easy. Before making a purchase, shoppers should learn five crucial tips for buying noise-cancelling headphones.


1. Decide on the Style of Headphones

Noise-cancelling headphones come in different forms and sizes. Although most of these perform the same function, their build and style allow for a versatile use in different ways.


Type of Headphones

Design Features



In-ear headphones

Worn in the opening or canal of the ear

Flexible, superior sound quality

Bose QuietComfort 20i

Circumaural headphones (around-ear headphones)

Worn around the ear, creating a seal

Block out more sound

Beats by Dr. Dre Studio

Supra-aural headphones (over-ear headphones)

Sit on the ear

Soft padding, flexible

Bose QuietComfort 3


The two most common types of noise-cancelling headphones are in-ear noise-cancelling headphones and over-ear noise-cancelling phones. In-ear headphones come with ear buds that fit into a user's ears, while over-ear headphones, such as those offered under the Beats by Dr. Dre line, come with a full-sized build that fits over a wearer's ears. Each of these form factors offers different benefits. For instance, over-ear headphones offer better noise-blocking properties but are not as portable as noise-cancelling ear buds.


2. Choose Active Headphones Over Passive Headphones

Passive noise-cancelling headphones work by blocking out noise through physical means. They achieve this by creating a seal between the headphones and the user's ears, essentially isolating the user from his or her environment. The downside to wearing noise-isolating headphones of this kind is that users are unable to hear any noise from their surroundings, which may be a hazard in certain environments. Active noise-cancelling headphones work with a different principle. Instead of isolating the user, active noise-cancelling headphones enlist digital signal processing to cancel out the surrounding sound. These headphones come with a processor and mic that constantly monitors ambient sounds and adjusts accordingly.


3. Check the Audio Quality

Simply buying a pair of noise-cancelling headphones does not necessarily guarantee good sound quality. Noise-cancelling technology limits surrounding sound; it does not affect the quality of the headphones. Instead, the audio quality relies on factors such as the materials used, headphone design, and the type of internal drivers. Audiophiles who wish to get great sounding noise-cancelling headphones need to search for brands that offer this option. Average noise-cancelling headphones are often enough to block out the background sounds in an office. However, for a rich musical experience, music enthusiasts may need to opt for headphones with more premium builds.


4. Check the Battery Life

Noise-cancelling headphones that feature active cancelling technology work with an audio processor that requires power. Before making a decision upon which headphones to purchase, shoppers should consider the battery life of the headphones they want to purchase. The last thing a buyer needs is to spend hundreds of dollars on headphones only to have them die after a few months. Some noise-cancelling headphones come with a built-in rechargeable unit while others work with replaceable batteries. For the latter, shoppers may want to stock up on batteries so they always have a handy replacement.


5. Have Realistic Expectations

Noise-cancelling headphones help to lower ambient sound. However, they do not completely block out everything. Even with the best noise-cancelling headphones, background noise may still seep through. A key factor that affects the effectiveness of noise cancellation is the intensity of the sound. Noise-cancelling headphones shut out the soft chatter in a room, but they cannot completely block loud and sharp noises, such as the engine of a jet or the sound of an airplane. They can, however, help soften these noises, making them more manageable. Before deciding upon a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, shoppers may want to familiarize themselves with the pros and cons of buying a pair.


How to Buy Noise-Cancelling Headphones on eBay

eBay's product selection includes a wide variety of noise-cancelling headphones. To assist buyers navigate through the large inventory of options, each eBay page comes with an intuitive search tool. Users can simply type in the name of a particular noise-cancelling headphone brand, such as "Sony noise-cancelling headphones" or "Bose headphones," which creates a shortlist of related options. You can also search for noise-cancelling headphones based on their unique features, such as over-the-ear or in-ear headphones. Then, simply navigate through the listings until you find a set of headphones that you would like to purchase and check the seller's feedback rating.


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