10 Pros and Cons of Using Noise-Cancelling Headphones

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10 Pros and Cons of Using Noise-Cancelling Headphones

While the world is full of its own natural sounds to enjoy, it is also full of other sounds that are simply not as enjoyable. Some people find that it is often necessary to block it all out. Certain travel situations, such as commuter trains and long airline flights, are just too noisy for some people to find peace. Many people have work or study situations where the constant noise of the environment makes it all but impossible to concentrate.

These are just some of the situations that have consumers wondering where they can turn for help to get the quiet they need to study, work, sleep, or just peacefully reflect on the day. People who consider using noise cancelling headphones may wonder if they will really mute the outside world so they can focus on what is important. It is important to understand the pros and cons of noise-cancelling headphones before making a purchase so that consumers know exactly what to expect from these devices.
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Pros of Using Noise-Cancelling Headphones

There is a lot going on in today's world. It is hard at times to escape the noise of it all. The good news is that for many of the noisy situations people find themselves in noise-cancelling headphones can offer a measure of peace and quiet. The following are five positive features of noise-cancelling headphones.

1. Noise-Cancelling Headphones Block Most Sounds

Many consumers are happy to discover that, yes, these headphones do block out the majority of external sounds. There are some limitation to what they block out, and some other issues of comfort to consider, but, generally speaking, noise-cancelling headphones do what they say they will do.

2. Music Volume Does Not Need to Be High

For decades, people have been turning up the volume on their music to extreme levels, often not because they actually prefer it at that level, although, some do. Many listeners only crank up the volume in an effort to drown out the external world and listen to music in peace.

The nice thing about noise-cancelling headphones is that much of the external sound is blocked without having to replace it with even louder sounds. This means that the volume level on the music can be turned down to a more enjoyable and comfortable level and still be heard over loud noises produced by the surrounding environment. This is good news for people wishing to preserve their ear health.

3. Lower Music Volumes Provides a Richer Listening Experience

Some music is, indeed, intended to be listened to at a high volume. Most music, however, is much richer and fuller when played at a more natural volume. Noise-cancelling headphones allow users to turn the volume down and hear the intended richness and the variations in the music that disappear when the volume is pushed to the limits.

4. Noise-Canceling Headphones Are Great for Traveling

For people who often travel on commuter trains or airplanes, there is a great need to block out the outside noise during these times in order to sleep, read, study, or work. These people-filled environments can be noisy and very distracting, especially when combined with the noise produced by the plane, train, or bus itself.

For some people, travel accounts for a rather large percentage of their precious time, and they want to utilize it productively. Noise-cancelling headphones allow these commuters to use their time well, even if that just means sleeping on an airplane.

5. Noise-Canceling Headphones Are Ideal for Studying

Many students find it hard to concentrate, especially when sounds are distracting them at all times. Using noise-cancelling headphones helps students to block out the external world and concentrate on what they need to learn.

Students who have been in the habit of turning up the volume in order to focus find that they can study even better when their music at lower volumes and when outside distractions are gone. While it is possible to turn the music off and only use the noise-cancelling effects of the headphones, many students find the humming effect that can result from music headphones to be even more distracting.

Cons of Using Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Drowning out all that outside noise and finally being able to focus or find peace is all that many people are concerned about. However, here are a few negative aspects of buying and using noise-cancelling headphones that many consumers may want to consider before purchasing a pair.

6. Cost of Noise-Canceling Headphones

For many people, the biggest disadvantage of noise-cancelling headphones is the relative cost difference between noise-cancelling headphones and their alternatives. A decent set of regular headphones can be purchased for a reasonable price, and their design and volume levels can help the user drown out the majority of outside sounds. A set of noise-cancelling headphones, on the other hand, costs around 10 times as much as these alternative sets.

Quite a bit of research has gone into the design and technology of noise-cancelling headphones. These sets have inner components that produce specific tones that cancel out the external sound. They are also structured in a way that their fit allows only a minimum of the outside noise in. All of this accounts for the higher price tag on these items. Other headphones do not have these internal components and have not required the same kind of research and technology, so they naturally do not produce as sophisticated a noise-cancelling effect.

7. High Power Usage of Noise-Canceling Headphones

The internal components of a set of noise-cancelling headphones use a considerable amount of power. Some of the sets get this power from internal batteries, and some of those are rechargeable. These sets are generally a bit heavier than headphones that do not carry their own power supply.

Other sets use power from the device they are plugged into. This makes them lighter for the the wearer, which can add to comfort; however, it can also be quite a drain on the device, causing battery levels to drop quickly if it is a battery powered device. Having a backup method for charging the device when traveling is important when using one of these sets.

8. Quality of Sound When Using Noise-Canceling Headphones

Unfortunately, there is a bit of a compromise with using noise-cancelling headphones when it comes to the sound quality of the music played through them. Some people are rather sensitive to this difference and complain that the music has a tinny, mechanical quality to it. This is probably due to the way the headphones process the music. Many users do not notice the quality difference, however, and technology is still developing that aims to decrease how noticable any such effect is.

9. Not All Sounds Are Blocked by Noise-Canceling Headphones

For those who are after complete silence, noise-cancelling headphones will not quite achieve that. Most sounds are blocked or cancelled by the design and technology of these headphones, but some sounds do still get through. The technology is based on research done in an effort to keep the extremely loud engine noises of jetliners or loud manufacturing plants from injuring the hearing of those who have to work in or around them.

Because of that, the technology focuses on cancelling continuous sound at low or intermediate decibels. This means that intermittent noises, especially loud ones, may still be heard, as well as any high-pitched sounds that are above what the technology was designed to cancel out. For most users, however, in most situations, the amount of sound that is kept out is plenty to create the "silence" they are looking for.

10. Comfort Concerns While Wearing Noise-Canceling Headphones

The noise-cancelling effect of these headphones is achieved by creating a sound wave that breaks down the sound waves approaching it. This requires a sound, and some people complain about a hearing a humming sound when wearing them. The sound, which is actually barely perceivable, also causes some people to feel pressure on their eardrum when wearing them. Those who are sensitive to this may want to limit their use, at least until they adjust to it.

These headphones work by not only cancelling the external sounds, but also by blocking them as much as possible. This is achieved by a close fit that many users find uncomfortable. If the consumer is sensitive to tight-fitting headgear or prone to pressure-induced headaches, it is advisable to research what brand and type may offer the most comfort before purchasing.

Where to Buy Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Almost all electronic stores, warehouse stores, and general merchandise retailers sell at least one or more models of noise-cancelling headphones. The comfort and quality of these range vastly from manufacturer to manufacturer, so the consumer is advised to research the different currrent models before purchasing.

Once the research is done, the Internet is a great place to find a good selection of the best models. The Internet offers more variety, especially on auctions sites, such as eBay. On these sites, not only is there a greater number of noise-cancelling headphones than can generally be found at most stores, there are also better bargains available.

Buying Noise-Cancelling Headphones on eBay

It is easy to locate all the different types of noise-cancelling headphones that are listed on eBay. Most of them are listed in the Headphones section of the TV , Audio & Surveillance category. On the sidebar of the search results page, find the Features option, and choose the Noise Cancellation filter. You can then narrow the options even further by selecting from the popular brands and other options that are listed.

There are many bargains to be found, but even at a bargain, noise-cancelling headphones can still be rather pricey, so be sure to budget before making a bid. Make sure to check the shipping costs and to include those into the budget also.


In many of the situations that today's consumers find themselves in, it can be hard to achieve the needed peace and quiet required to focus on the task at hand. Being able to rest during a crowded commute is another important concern for many people. Advancements in technology and design have made overcoming these obstacles easier using noise-cancelling headphones. They allow wearers to go about their daily activities without the intrusion of the noisy, disruptive outside world. Finally, finding peace and quiet is as easy as plugging in headphones, and many people are looking into this option more and more seriously. Considering the pros and cons of using this high-tech solution helps the consumer to narrow down the options while keeping the big picture in mind.

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