In urban areas, noise pollution is soaring into the sky-high. Apart from other severe health hazards, sleeplessness is the most annoying one. The right amount of quality sleep is indispensable for good health. But if you are forced to live or work in a noisy environment, it can be really frustrating and annoying to sleep or concentrate on your work with a constant source of the disturbance.
Besides the condition of your abode, consider the scenario as if you have to travel a 10-hour long flight by the side of a crying baby or you are staying in a hotel next to a person who snores really loud. You can modify or change your residence but for the latter scenario, that’s not an option.
One possible high tech solution to such quandaries can be the noise cancelling headphones. It can not only block out or mask disruptive noises – a snoring partner, neighbours, traffic, a barking dog but also produce calming ambient music, white noise, nature sounds or ASMR soundscapes to relax and soothe your troubling mind.
How Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Work?
The noise cancelling headphones can be either a passive type or active type. Actually every headphone can provide some level of passive noise reduction as the materials of the headphones absorb some sound waves, especially those at higher frequencies. For the best performance, the headphones are designed to be circum-aural, meaning they will cover your ears completely by thick rings of layered high-density foam or other sound-absorbing materials. The tradeoff of this design is extra weight and a very warm ear. Also, their noise cancelling capacity is limited and about 15-20 dB. So, inside a jet plane where the jet engines create 75-80 dB noise, these headphones have hardly any functionality.
That’s when the active headphones enter the scene. These headphones have microphone, electronic circuits, speaker, and battery. They capture the sound from the surrounding by the microphone and the internal electronic circuit processes it.
Then the speaker produces a sound wave which has the same amplitude and frequency but the crests and troughs are aligned in a way that the crest of one wave is lined up with the troughs of the other wave and vice versa. When both of these sound waves simultaneously enter your ear, they cancel out each other. This phenomenon is known as destructive interference.
Theoretically, it’s perfect. But in reality, the result can be disappointing sometimes. The replica sound wave produced by headphones may not perfectly align with the actual sound. So, they merely reduce the noise like engine hum which is a low-frequency constant sound. They perform poorly against the high-frequency noises like human vocal sound or fast and transient sound like a door slamming. Only hands-on testing can truly evaluate the performance of these active headphones. Their specifications can be sometimes misleading.
Fabric or Noise Cancelling Headphones?
There are confusingly wide arrays of noise cancelling products available in the market these days and you have to do some serious digging to find what you are exactly looking for.
For the troubled sleepers, fabric headphones can be very suitable. These headphones look similar to elastic headbands. The headbands are designed to be lightweight and breathable and the materials used are hypoallergenic. To avoid warming up your ears, lycra is sometimes used rather than fleece. The earphones are ultra-thin removable speakers and they are slotted into the headband. The Bluetooth version is available, so you don’t have to worry about tangled wires.
Although, they are super comfortable, wearing them could be a fashion faux pas. Also, they are passive noise cancelling devices and not very effective against loud snoring. But they are fairly inexpensive.
The active noise cancelling devices can be an overhead pair like conventional headphones or an in-ear pair. The latter one is more convenient to sleep with while wearing them. Because the in-ear buds will tightly fit inside the ear hole to block the sound when the source of noise is too close to your head. These devices are rather effective against snoring.
The downside is they can damage the sensitive part of your ear if you roll onto your side wearing them. You may get a sore ear in the morning. To avoid these situations, especially designed bedphones have been introduced. These bedphones have the thinnest possible earphones covered in soft materials. They are a practical solution for side sleeping. Besides, not only do they block the unwanted noise, they can produce very high-quality sound, too. But they are quite expensive.
In short, despite being extravagant, special bedphones which are especially designed to protect your ears and ensure maximum comfort are the best solution to this particular problem.
Best Noise Cancelling Headphones For Sleeping
Bose Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, Noise-Cancelling, with Alexa voice control
Bose is one of the most prestigious companies for audio products. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones live up to that standard. The most compelling feature would be the Bose AR- audio-only augmented reality. A multi-directional motion sensor is embedded inside the headphones which is utilized to provide contextual audio based on where you are. You will have to update your firmware for that. The dedicated Bose Connect App can be used to update software or firmware, manage Bluetooth connection, sharing music and adjust the level of noise cancellation.
The Volume-optimized EQ provides balanced audio performance at any volume level. It’s great news for you if you are a smart home lover as these headphones are Alexa enabled. The super audio quality for both music and human vocals, three-level noise cancellation, 20 hours of battery life, audio cable for battery-free operation, comfortable fit, and durable are some features worth mentioning.
- Top-rated sound quality
- Multi-stage noise cancelling including dual-microphone system
- Audio augmented reality
- Dedicated app
- Alexa enabled
- Not suitable for sleeping
Homder Noise Cancelling Sleeping Mask With Headphones
This product is customized for troubled sleepers. Along with noise cancelling bluetooth headphones, it provides an eye mask. The mask has two different types of clothing, polyester on the outside and cotton on the inside which is washable and it has a very pleasant texture. It has velcro to adjust the length. You have to remove the control panel, speakers, and a line connecting them washing.
The speaker has a built-in microphone to talk on the phone handsfree. The battery is high-quality lithium battery that can play music for up to 8 hours.
- Comfortable blind fold
- Long battery life
- Built-in microphone
- The velcro doesn’t keep the fold in place always
- If you turn to your left side during sleeping, the control panel may operate unwillingly.
- Passive noise cancelling device
Paww Active Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones
Now, this could easily be the dream comes true product for a music enthusiast on a budget. The WaveSound 3 headphone speakers have custom-tuned twin 40-mm beryllium dynamic drivers which can accurately reproduce balanced sound across the entire frequency range. In addition to that the headphones have a latency of 30 ms, thanks to built-in aptX low latency, hence, they can reproduce hi-def music over Bluetooth. Paww WaveSound 3 headphones are also active noise cancelling devices very effective for low-frequency noises.
You can talk to Google Assistant or Siri and answer the phone using advanced noise cancelling cVc 6.0 technology microphone. With the ShareMe function, you and your partner can listen to different things from a single device. These overhead type headphones have ultra-light, super soft protein earpads with swiveling ear cups, and an adjustable and foldable headband perfect for listening on the go.
- Active noise cancellation
- Exquisite sound reproduction
- Low latency
- Little bulky
- Not practical for sleeping
Sleep Headphones Bluetooth Eye Mask
Joseche sleep mask headphones have cutting edge bluetooth V-5.0 technology and true HD HIFI sound system produces high-quality sound. The mask is made from velvet and elastic cotton which is very soft and comfortable and washable. Built-in powerful batteries will store charge for 9 hours and a built-in microphone will let you talk on mobile hands-free.
- HD sound quality
- Durable battery
- Elastic cotton for better fitting
- Little comfortable on the control panel side.
- No audio cable, only bluetooth connection.
Sleep Headphones, Bluetooth 5.0 Wireless 3D Eye Mask
WATOTGAFER sleep headphones adopt consumer-oriented design. The company reviewed lots of customer feedback and updated the product accordingly. The sleep mask is ergonomically designed which has a 3D contoured shape hole to prevent pressurizing your eyes. It can be adjusted for a perfect fit via Velcro. The mask is composed of breathable slow-rebound memory sponge and smooth fabric. There is no metal wire inside it and hence it’s softer and has no cracking issue. Around the bridge of your nose, there is extra padding to prevent indirect light.
There are built-in high-quality speakers and microphone with powerful battery which provides 8 hours playing time. For connectivity, the sleep headphones have Bluetooth 5.0 which is placed in the middle for the comfort of side sleepers. It is removable along with the wires during washing.
- Ergonomic design, doesn’t put pressure over your eyes
- Extra padding around nose for perfect dark
- Control module is in the middle, comfortable for side sleepers
- Breathable and comfortable material
- Velcro can be problematic for long hair
- Passive noise cancelling
Lavince Sleep Headphones Bluetooth Sports Headband
Lavince Sleep Headphones will serve dual purposes, you can wear it when you are in bed at night and for the gym, running or yoga in the morning. To support as a sports headband, it incorporates breathable, high quality soft stretched fabric and super absorbent material. The speakers are flat and only 0.25 inch thick which generates true HD HIFI sound featuring a latest Bluetooth technology and the LiPO battery has 10 hours of Playing Music or 12 hours of Talking with a 100 hours standby time. The control module is placed in the middle.
- Ultra-thin speaker
- Powerful battery
- Elastic headband won’t mess with your hair
- Breathable and absorbent material
- Control module is in the middle
- Maximum volume level is a tad bit low for noisy environment
- Voice alert systems can be disturbing sometimes.
CozyPhones Sleep Headphones
Although CozyPhones Sleep headphones are not ideal for noise cancelling, they are super comfortable and perfect as sleep headphones without noise-cancelling ability. These headbands are made of Lycra with mesh lining, so no more hot ears. The CozyPhones have no bluetooth instead they are fashioned with 1.5 meter braided cable and a strong 3.5 mm audio jack for durability. If you are looking for basic headphones for enjoying music while you fell asleep, then this is your pick.
- Lycra makes the headband rather comfortable and lightweight
- Due to wired connection, no battery or charging involved. Besides without battery it’s thinner than other competitor
- Ultra-thin speakers
- No noise cancelling property
- Audio wire can be troublesome.
Headphone Headband With Built-in Removable Headphones
Tooks headbands incorporate 100% microfleece and flat-stitch seam which offer comfort and perfect fit whether you are wearing it during sleep time or exercising. As for superior sound quality, they have built-in removable dual speakers with standard 3.5 mm audio jack to fit in most of the audio devices.
- Passive noise cancelling to some degree
- Soft and comfortable
- Due to fleece, your ears may get warm
- The speakers tend to move while you are sleeping wearing them
- Audio wire may get tangled
Bluetooth Headband Wireless Sleep Headphones
Topoint sleeping headbands can be a great companion for side sleepers or someone trying to keep away messy hair and sweat during gym, workout, jogging, yoga and other outdoor activities. The ultra-thin flat headphone speakers along with Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity provide true HD high fidelity sound. The headband is made of 5% polyester and 95% cotton which is moisture-wicking, stretchable and plush. The battery chip is upgraded for bluetooth products and the battery can play music for more than 10 hours. The control module is in the middle position for comfortable side sleeping.
- Advanced battery chip and long battery backup
- Control panel is in the middle
- Absorbent and comfortable fabric
- Great customer service
- Passive noise cancelling
- Bluetooth connectivity can be a little complicated
MAXROCK Sleep Earplugs – Noise Isolating Ear Plugs Sleep Earbuds Headphones
Maxrock sleep earplugs are professional grade passive noise cancellation gadgets. The speakers are inside a silicon earphone house which is ergonomically designed to fit in most ears. To achieve that, these housings have double ear tips of different sizes. If the earphones don’t fit perfectly in the ears, they won’t be able to block the ambient sounds. For clear and crisp audio, these sleep earplugs feature 5 mm patented speakers which lack bass a little. You can talk on your mobile hands-free with the built-in microphone.
- Superior noise cancelling performance than headbands
- Ergonomic design
- Comfortable silicon housing
- Could be painful sometime
- Passive noise cancelling
What to Consider Before Buying Noise Cancelling Headphones for Sleeping
Since you want to sleep wearing noise cancelling headphones, it must be comfortable to wear. Although the overhead type headphones have superior noise cancelling properties, they are not very practical for sleeping. If you want to purchase earbuds, make sure they are well fitted. Otherwise, they won’t work as the ear hole won’t be sealed. These devices have to be breathable and well ventilated or your ears will get hot.
Ability to Block Noise
Not all the noise cancelling devices perform the same. Whether they are active or passive, different brands produce different results. Sometimes these devices fail to block specific kinds of noises. In general, the noise cancelling ability is expressed in dB rating and the higher dB rating means more noise filtering ability. If you want to get rid of a special kind of sound like snoring, you have to be specific during purchase.
A faulty designed earplug may harm your ear by damaging your ear canal. This is because they press against your ear if you roll onto your sides. Besides, listening to high volume music for a long time will cause hearing loss.
The headbands are made of elastic type materials like fleece or lycra. So, they can be stretched to fit around any size of the head. But you have to remember that these headbands are designed for adults and most of
If you invest in some low-cost models of headphones, they are more likely to break. For headbands, the inferior quality fabric will get loosen up after a short period. Besides, earphones don’t sound good. You would be losing money if your headphones need replacement shortly after purchase.
The price range of these products can vary dramatically, like from well under twenty dollars to over $200. The tricky thing is that the common saying “you get what you pay for” doesn’t always apply, especially when it comes to buying headphones or earbuds for sleeping. It has been experienced on numerous occasions that high-priced solutions always don’t live up to expectations as well as bargain-priced brands that perform exceptionally.
Pros and Cons of Noise-Cancelling Headphones for Sleeping
- Most of the urban dwellers are forced to live in an utterly noisy environment where buzzing mobile phones, high TV volume, busy traffic, and whatnot are everyday companions. This noise pollution can cause severe health problems in the long run. Stress is one of them which can lead to a major illness like heart attacks. The noise cancelling headphones will help to reduce the exposure to such annoying noises and improve your stress conditions.
- If you are a music enthusiast, noise cancelling headphones are must-have accessories for you. They are well known for producing clear, crisp and vibrant sound. By suppressing the background noises, they make the sound more vibrant. They can elevate your music listening experience to another level.
- By cutting the annoying noises, the noise cancelling headphones can actually help you to concentrate on your studies or other activities. This feature is especially helpful for children as they seem to always have a hard time concentrating on their study and get distracted easily.
- To ensure uninterrupted sleep, there are dedicated noise cancelling headphones. They will cancel out the disturbing sound and you can hear soothing and relaxing music as well which may help to reduce stress level further. But you have to do some research to find the right device which suits you the best.
- Despite lots of research and experiments to improve the comfort level of the user of noise cancelling headphones, they can still be uncomfortable to some people. Wearing headphones, especially the fabric ones all night can get your ears very hot. Also, the in-ear headphones can be harmful to your ears because they press against your ear which can be uncomfortable and potentially damaging.
- A good quality noise cancelling device will cost you reasonably. But there are some famous brands like Bose which can be really costly, like a few hundred dollars. Those devices have superb audio quality but still, their price range can be appalling.
- Everyone has different ear shapes. So, it might be difficult sometimes to find the perfect fit.
- Overhead headphones have the best noise cancelling property but they are not practical for bedtime (at least not for everyone). On the other hand, headbands and earbuds are comfortable and cheap but their performances are poor. So, it’s hard to find a product which is functional and yet comfortable.
- Sometimes manufacturers’ literature can be misleading and you might be disappointed about their actual performances. If that is the case, only actual testing by a neutral party may ensure their true quality.
Frequently Ask question Noise Cancelling Headphones
Are noise-cancelling headphones safe?
There is no straight answer to this question. It depends on the design of your devices. But earbuds with soft padding reduce that risk. Besides, headphone wires can be problematic if they tangle around your neck. The Bluetooth headphone is a better choice over a wired one.
Is it bad to sleep with noise cancelling headphones?
The answer is the same as the previous question. A well-designed headphone shouldn’t be a problem. Sleeping headphones are safe and comfortable. But there are some complaints about warm ears.
What are the best noise-cancelling headphones?
The active noise cancelling headphones which generates white noises are the best. Some passive devices can be very comfortable to wear but if you are focusing on the noise cancelling properties, then active devices is the answer.
Are noise Cancelling headphones better than earplugs?
It is a bit of a dilemma. Noise cancelling headphones are good at filtering noises but they can be impractical to wear all the time, especially the overhead types. On the other hand, earplugs with soft padding block the noise by sealing the ear hole and they can be more comfortable. But their noise filtering performance is not so good.
Can noise Cancelling headphones block out snoring?
Yes. There are bedphones which are a special kind of noise cancelling device that can eliminate the snoring noise. They block the noise by sound-absorbing foam and play soft music to cover it further.
Which is better active or passive noise cancellation?
The active type devices perform better than passive ones.
If you want my honest opinion the noise cancelling devices should not be considered as a permanent solution in the long run. If your partner snores you can purchase a CPAP machine or soundproof your room from outside noises. But if you are stuck in a temporary situation where a permanent solution is not practical or you are quite serious about listening to music without any interruption, then you should try these gadgets.