Best Earplugs To Cancel Noise

by | Nov 3, 2019

Noise-canceling headphones are great, once you use them you will never want to go back to the “Standard” headphones. For those of you unfamiliar with them, basically each earmuff has a microphone built-in. This “Listens” to the background noise and gets rid of it. Because there is less background noise, what you are listening to sounds clearer, and does not need to be played as loudly.

The lower volume protects your ears as you can listen to your music, movie, etc. at a lower volume and this means less damage. It will still sound a lot better than before!

These are great in situations like planes, trains or if someone else is watching a TV. They are not so useful in situations like a shooting range or where there are very loud random noises.

Noise-canceling headphones come in a range of prices, from around ten to three hundred dollars. Even cheap pairs can make listening sound a lot better.

I suffer from Tinnitus, and use these so that I can keep the volume lower and not make my hearing worse. I have a pair at the moment that cost fifty dollars and while not perfect, are still great. They are small ear buds for traveling, and I have had them now for over eighteen months. So I consider them a good investment

To find out more, and exactly how they work, read the rest of this article!

Best Earplugs To Cancel Noise 1

Noise Reduction Rating (NNR) – Headphone Effectiveness

When you wear headphones and earplugs, they will always block out some of the sounds. Noise-canceling ear plugs block noise in a different way to most other types of earplug or ear defenders. However they will still have cups that go over the ears, or plugs which go into the ears.

These block sound, which basically means that they are stopping sound by merely blocking your ears. This is still important for noise-canceling earplugs. Any noise blocked means lower volume music, which you can still enjoy without hearing any background sounds.

The amount of noise blocked passively is measured in NNR (the Noise Reduction Rating). One point of NNR is equal to one decibel (dB), so a headset with an NNR of 10 will reduce the background noise by approximately 10dB.

Headsets and earplugs usually have an NNR of between 5 and 30dB. Noise-canceling headsets will have a passive NNR at the lower end of the scale. However because of the active noise cancellation, the effective NNR will be much higher


Best Earplugs To Cancel Noise 2

What To Look for – Noise Canceling Ear plugs

When you are looking to buy some noise-canceling headphones there are essentially four things that you need to consider when making your choice. These are (in order of importance)

  • Sound Quality – Any set of headphones is only as good as the quality of sound they produce
  • Noise Cancelling – The better the earpieces are at canceling the outside sounds, the better the noise-canceling headset will be
  • Comfort – Headsets are usually worn for a long-ish period, so the headset needs to be comfortable
  • Battery Life – You want the headset to be able to work for several hours before it needs recharging. It only applies to wireless models. When the battery is discharged you can still use the headset, but there will be no active noise cancellation

All of the models recommended in this article fit the above four criteria well.

How Noise-Canceling Headphones Work

When you are out and about, you often see people wearing noise-canceling headphones. These work fantastically on the street, train, or busses. They reduce the sounds that would typically get into the ears, meaning that you can listen to your music, videos, or audiobooks at a much-reduced volume, and you do not get so much of the annoying background noise.

The idea of noise-canceling headphones has been around for many years. The idea was first thought of by Dr. Bose, of the Bose corporation, on a flight in 1978. It took approximately ten million dollars and nine years of development for these to finally be produced, and available for sale

The first of these headsets were expensive, very expensive, and they were only used by pilots who needed something like this to improve the hearing in the cockpit when talking to flight control. A few years later, some of the business class passengers on American airlines were given these to use on commercial flights. These people then wanted to buy their own personal headsets, which at the time were not available.

By the 1990s, some commercially available noise-canceling headsets were available. However, these still had quite a considerable price tag. Fast forward to today, and cheap noise-canceling headphones can be purchased from China for as little as ten dollars, and a top of the range set can be had for as little as $300. A reasonably good pair will set you back about $50

Best Earplugs To Cancel Noise 3

How do noise-canceling Headsets work?

Sound is a wave, and if two separate sounds are made, then they combine into a single wave, that does not increase in volume, you just hear twice as much sound. As more and more sound is made, then you hear more sound but it is not louder.

Think of twenty people all talking. The volume is the same as talking, but all the combined sound waves make no sense. This is called “Constructive interference.”

But what happens if you make the exact opposite of a sound wave? The peaks and the troughs cancel each other out. This would lead to silence, or almost silence. This is precisely what sound-canceling headphones do. This process is known as “Destructive Interference.”

Noise-canceling headphones have microphones on each ear. These record the sound from the outside, then immediately play the exact opposite waves into the speaker with the music you are listening to. The sound wave of the outside world is canceled out by its reverse wave, leaving just the clear sound wave from the music, or whatever you are listening to being heard by your ears.

Noise-canceling headphones do not cancel every sound however. They are better at consistent noises like trains, TVs, etc. Talking or loud car horns can be difficult to cancel at times, even though they are usually significantly reduced in volume

So using noise-canceling headphones will significantly improve your listening pleasure, as the sound will be clearer. You can protect your ears as you can get the same sound at a reduced volume.

How Do Noise-Canceling Headphones Work?

Need to cancel irregular noises like a gunshot?

As mentioned above, noise-canceling is excellent for regular sounds like plane noise, but not so good at loud irregular noises. For example, on a shooting range they would not be a lot of use at all. A gunshot is too loud to be easily masked and is entirely irregular.

For this situation, you would be better off with some ear muffs that passively block the ears with padding, etc. You can get them with built-in Bluetooth for music, etc., or you can wear earbuds or similar under the muffs. (Even noise-canceling earbuds – for two levels of noise reduction).

Best Earplugs To Cancel Noise 4

Conclusions - Best Earplugs To Cancel Noise

Using good earplugs to cancel noise can really improve your listening experience, when compared to using standard earphones. There are fewer background distractions, and your ears are protected as you do not need to have the volume as loud.

These earplugs can last for years should you take good care of them, making them a really worthwhile investment.

Recommended Products – Best Earplugs To Cancel Noise

Below are my recommended choices for Best Earplugs to Cancel Noise. They have been reviewed and chosen because they fit the selection criteria given above, and they are the best in their class at their given price points.

Below are the best plugs in order of price, from lowest to highest. All of the products recommended have excellent independent reviews. Should you have any doubts just click on the item, and read some of the reviews they have been given.

I have not included copies of the reviews, as I want you to see the original unedited versions – so that you know you are getting a great deal on your noise-canceling earplugs!

Veniveta Bluetooth Headphones, Sport Wireless Earbuds, IPX6...
5 Reviews
Veniveta Bluetooth Headphones, Sport Wireless Earbuds, IPX6...
  • 【Super Sound Quality】 Bluetooth V4.1+EDR for stereo sound. Built-in CVC 6.0 noise cancelling mic with voice notification of incoming calls people can hear what you are saying clearly.
  • 【Long Lasting Battery】1.5-Hours quick charge for 6 hours talk time & music time, up to 100 hours of standby time, these will last all day.The Headphones battery status will be automatically displayed on the iOS phone screen.
  • 【Easy to Use】 With easy to use buttons skip/play/pause/volume+/- on your music tracks as well as all phones use without reaching your phone up to 30 feet away. Can be connected with two devices simultaneously. Super quick pairing with Android, iOS and other Bluetooth devices.
  • 【Stay in-Ear Tech】 Sweatproof sport Bluetooth ear buds with comfortably ear hook &(S/M/L) Ear Tips, great for running, jogging, hiking, biking, gym etc. Guarantee fatigue free ears and tangle free comfort.
  • 【1 Year Warranty】1-year Manufacturer's warranty and 30 days no-questions-asked return policy & 24 hours resolving issues time. Value for money guaranteed.
Bluetooth Headphones, Letsfit Wireless Headphones, IPX7...
3,148 Reviews
Bluetooth Headphones, Letsfit Wireless Headphones, IPX7...
  • Superior Sound Quality: Tuned driver, CSR chip delivers HD stereo and superb bass sound. Bluetooth 4.1 and CVC6.0 noise cancelling technology with built-in mic for clear and stable phone calls.
  • IPX7 Waterproof: Interior Nano coating effectively protects sport headphones from sweat and ensures a guaranteed life span, Great for Running, Jogging, Hiking, Biking, Gym, etc.
  • 8 Hour Battery Life: Built-in lithium polymer battery. Only 2 hours' charge gives up to 8 hours of audio; headphones battery capacity is displayed on your phone.
  • One-Button Control: Get full control over your music (Play/Pause), manage incoming calls (answer/end/reject) on your phone with one-button control on headphones.
  • Comfortable and secure: ergonomic design, equipped with three different ear tip sizes to ensure long time comfortable wear. Neckband design, no wires to get tangled.
Bluetooth Headphones, Best Wireless Sports Earphones HD...
7 Reviews
Bluetooth Headphones, Best Wireless Sports Earphones HD...
  • Light weight engineering plastic and memory soft steel wire: light weightless feeling, free from the shackles of wired headphones, ergonomic design allows for ultimate Wearing Comfort to Match your active lifestyle, running with the music.
  • Superd sound quality: featuring latest Bluetooth 4. 1 CSR technology and state of the art acoustic components that produce incredible sound quality with deep bass and crystal clear treble.
  • Longest battery life - the new and improved lithium polymer battery allows seamless enjoyment of music for up to 8 hours and 240 hours stand-by with a quick charge of only 1. 5 hours.
  • Good noise isolation to create the optimal environment for listening to your favorite tunes, built-in microphone for clear calling and friends chatting.
  • With Bluetooth 4. 1 Audio technology: the earbud can connect seamlessly with all enabled devices up to 10m away, compatible with all Bluetooth enabled devices to connect with two smart phones at once.
JVC Noise Cancelling Wireless Earbuds, Rain Proof IPX4,...
21 Reviews
JVC Noise Cancelling Wireless Earbuds, Rain Proof IPX4,...
  • COMFORTABLE FIT EARTIPS – 3 Extra sets of earbuds included for a comfortable and secure fit
  • MIC and REMOTE CONROL - 3 Button Mic Allows you to Play and Pause Music or Answer an Incoming Phone Call. Change the volume of skip songs.
  • WATER AND SWEAT RESISTANCE - Withstands Sweat, Rain, and is Washable
  • EASY MUSIC AND PHONE CONTROL FROM ON HEADPHONE CONTROLS - Change Volume, Turn On or Off Bass Boost, Skip or Replay Songs, or Answer a Phone Call.
  • SECURE FIT - Built-in ear bud magnets secure the headphones around your neck when not in use to help prevent the headphones from being lost.

People Also Ask

Do noise Cancelling headphones block out voices?

Noise-canceling headphones rely mainly on passive sound isolation to reduce the sound of voices, although the electronics do reduce voice volumes somewhat.

What this actually means is that the headphone cups and the seals on the earplugs are what blocks out the majority of voices when using this type of headphone.

Do noise Cancelling headphones hurt your ears?

Noise-canceling headphones will hurt your ears less than standard headphones. How they damage your ears is only through the volume that passes into your ears. As Noise-canceling earplugs usually are quieter than other types, they will do less damage!

Should I use headphones if I have tinnitus?

Wearing headphones does not cause or affect tinnitus. What causes the problem is the volume at which the sound plays. So always keep it as quiet as possible if you are worried about tinnitus.

Noise-canceling headphones are better for this as they are naturally put on at a lower volume. When you are using headphones and do not want to cause any problems to your hearing – The rule should be that the average volume should not be higher than normal speech

Can you use noise cancelling headphone when the battery dies?

Yes. The headphones still work when the battery has run out of charge. Obviously, the noise cancelling which consumes power does not work, but the headphone still function as a standard set of headphones. (At least mine do!)

Bose Quiet Comfort 35


If you require more information, please check these references

Adaptive Noise Cancelling Pdf , article, “”, retrieved on, Mon 04-November-2019
Noise Cancelling Book , article, “”, retrieved on, Mon 04-November-2019
Noise Cancelling Headphones , article, “”, retrieved on, Mon 04-November-2019
Headphones , article, “”, retrieved on, Mon 04-November-2019
What Noisecanceling Headphones Would You , article, “”, retrieved on, Mon 04-November-2019

Nick Le Page Profile

About the author

Nick is a Computer programmer with 25 years experience working in the Industry. Past clients include The BBC, Natwest, British Rail.and Torbay Council.

Nick has suffered with Tinnitus for over 25 years

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