Are Noise-Canceling Headphones Worth It? (The Good And The Bad)

Noise-canceling headphones are worth your investment as it reduces the disruptive ambient sounds as you study, travel, listen to music or sleep. It also ensures you listen to audio at safe levels, as anything above 85 dB (decibel) causes hearing problems over time. Overall the noise-canceling gives you peace of mind as it lets you focus on your preferred audio source safely. 

But, there is a catch! The noise-canceling headphones are heavier, require more power, and change audio quality, among other disadvantages. Besides, the premium model is expensive, and you could spend over $500 for a pair.

Luckily, there are affordable and decent noise-canceling headphones that cost under $100. So, it is upon you to invest in one that suits your budget, style, and audio need.

But, before you decide, read through this article and be informed.

Are Noise-Canceling Headphones Worth It

Benefits Of Noise-Canceling Headphones – The Good

What are the benefits of noise-canceling headphones? This is often a question when deciding whether to invest in headgear with a noise-canceling feature. But, yes, the noise-canceling headphones have several benefits that include:

Blocks Unwanted Sound From The Outside World

What differentiates noise-canceling headphones from others is their ability to reduce unwanted noise from your surroundings. Imagine listening to a motivational talk, favorite music on a bus or a plane! The experience cannot be good if you are using an ordinary headset. The noise from the road or engine can be so loud, making concentration difficult. 

As such, the noise-canceling headphones come in handy as they help you focus on what you are listening to without disturbance. In fact, you can put on the headset without connecting to the audio set. Then, turn on the noise-canceling feature and sleep peacefully at home or when traveling.

Protects Your Hears By Reducing The Audio Volume To Healthier Levels

Listening to the audio above 85 dB is detrimental to your ears.  But, when using ordinary headphones, you might be forced to increase the volume due to the distraction from surrounding noise. As a result, you risk ear damage. However, you do not have to increase audio volume with a noise-canceling headset as there will be minimal external noise. 

Consequently, you enjoy every note at low volume levels. 

Besides, active-design noise-canceling headgear can reduce sound levels by up to 80dB.  So, when you are in the airport or any place with a high sound level, wearing a pair keeps your ears safe.

Perfect For Studies In A Noisy Environment 

Sometimes you may want to catch up with your books in a restaurant, at the airport while waiting for your flight, or at home where kids or youngsters play music. For sure, you cannot concentrate without a pair of noise-canceling earphones. The device blocks out unwanted noise giving you peace of mind as you study. Besides, you can use it when listening to audiobooks without fear of wearing them for an extended period due to their safe sound levels.

Make It Easy To Make Quality Phone Calls In Busy Places

It is hard to hear a phone call in busy areas such as bus stations, noisy restaurants, and busy roads. However, with noise-canceling headphones, you can make quality phone conversations without bothering about the noise. You will hear the person you are talking to and be able to receive calls anywhere, anytime. 

Improves Quality Of Your Sleep

One of the leading triggers of sleeping problems among 60% of Americans is ambient noise. Whether it is noise from outside or a snoring partner, the surrounding sounds make it challenging to sleep well. 

Noise-canceling headphones can solve the problem as they are safe to put on when sleeping. You only need to cancel audio triggers and let the device does the rest. You will enjoy sound sleep and rest on flights. As a result of quality sleep, you will experience lower stress levels and improved concentration. 

It Gives You Peace Of Mind

If you work in noisy surroundings such as around loud machines, your workplace can be a nightmare. As a result, you continually worry about your well-being, especially that of your ears. 

When you invest in the noise-canceling headset, you can have peace of mind knowing your ears are protected. You avoid the loud rhythmic sound that can cause migraines but still get the desirable surrounding sounds. 

Problems Associated With Noise-Canceling Headphones – The Bad

Noise-canceling headphones can cost you 10 times more than an ordinary pair. The cost is thus the biggest drawback of the device, especially if you are on a budget.

You can find cheaper models, but the performance cannot match the premium options.

Nonetheless, if the cost is a non-issue, note the following problems:

Bulkier And Heavier

There are more internal components in noise-canceling headphones compared to ordinary ones. This is because they use more materials to create sound barriers plus internal batteries to power them. Therefore, noise-canceling earphones tend to be bulkier and heavier, which can make them less comfortable

If the weight is a major concern for you, consider getting noise-canceling earbuds that are much lighter. 

Consumes More Power

The noise-canceling headset uses batteries to work. The extra energy is needed to activate the components inside the device that work to reduce or remove external noise. So, unlike the ordinary pair that you plug and play anytime, the improved headset needs recharge once the battery is flat. This can happen within some hours or days, depending on your model. 

Therefore, if you are traveling, you need to carry extra batteries or a charger to utilize the gear fully. Fortunately, if you run out of power, the noise-canceling headphones will work like the ordinary ones but without the filtering of background sound. 

You can as well consider the options that use passive technology which doesn’t require batteries. The passive noise-canceling headsets are equipped with soundproofing materials that work without batteries. 

It Might Reduce Sound Quality 

The quote ‘you get what you pay for’ applies when it comes to noise-canceling headphones. If you go for the cheaper options, you might be disappointed with the quality of the audio. The components that suppress surrounding noise might interfere with the audio. 

It is hard to notice the difference as there is only a slight effect, except if you are very sensitive to what you are listening to. 

You might also experience a slight humming sound if you are using a device that utilizes active technology. 

It Doesn’t Fully Block The External Noise

 If the slightest noise affects your concentration when studying, sleeping, or traveling, noise-canceling headphones might not fully help deal with the situation. This is because the device does not fully block the sounds as most work by reducing noise. 

Loud noises are significantly reduced, and when playing music, you may not hear the small noises that get through. When you require total silence, noise-canceling headphones are not the best option.

Why Does Noise Cancelling Hurt My Ears?

Our minds can sometimes play a trick on us. For example, you have your headphones, and the feelings of pressure in the ears feel painful. The first concern is; does the noise-canceling hurt my ears? The answer is no. That hurtful feeling results from the difference between external air pressure and the inner pressure in your ears. 

The feeling is even worse at high altitude regions as the air pressure inside your ears might want to escape. Similarly, at low altitudes, your ears need some air hence the feeling of pressure. When you have that hurtful feeling due to unequalised pressure, remove your headphones a little, and that feeling will go away. 

Can Active Noise-Canceling Headphones Damage Hearing?

Noise-canceling headphones are safe and therefore do not damage hearing. On the contrary, the device helps protect the ears against any harm from loud sounds. They have a microphone near electronic circuitry and an earbud that produces an anti-noise sound wave that cancels the outside noise. 

The headphones do not release low-level radiation and therefore pose no potential hazards even when used frequently. 

I would recommend noise-canceling headphones to curb health issues caused by loud noise. The kids can also benefit, as they can listen to music comfortably without increasing volume in noisy places. 

Final Word

Technology has come a long way, and a lot awaits us. But, for now, let’s embrace the technology that comes with noise-canceling headphones as the good outweighs the bad. You stay protected from the loud surrounding noise and concentrate on your audio.

The noise-canceling headset also comes in handy when you want to rest, as the audio feature can be deactivated to let the device filter the noise as you travel or sleep. 

Just note that this type of headphones can be bulky and heavier. It might as well reduce audio quality and need more power to keep it on. If you want total silence, noise-canceling headphones might also not be a perfect solution as they do not filter the sounds 100%.