Three Things to Consider Before Buying Noise-Cancelling Headphones

A good pair of over-the-ear headphones can do more than just funnel music into your ears.

Man wearing noise-cancelling headphones on a plane.
The best feature of any good cancelling headphone is the ability to block out ambient sound around you.Cowin

The background noise of everyday life can be distracting at best and annoying at worst. It’s hard to concentrate on that audiobook or music playlist when some slick three rows back is slinging stock trades at the top of his voice or shouting at his sales manager. Noise-cancelling headphones mitigate disturbances by determining a baseline for ambient low-frequency sound and producing a wave form exactly opposite of that frequency, effectively cancelling it out. That allows the user to hear only what they want, making for a better audio environment during air travel, at the office, while listening to music, or trying to sleep. If you are in the market for a little peace and quiet, here are three features to look for.

Wireless Technology

Sony noise-cancelling headphones
Soft earpads make headphones comfortable to wear and help block sound.Sony

Noise-cancelling headphones should be completely wireless and capable of communicating with your other devices over Bluetooth. A pair of plush earpads adds to the comfort level of a cord-free headset.

Built-In Microphone

COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
If you need to focus on a phone call, headphones with a microphone are the perfect solutionCowin

One of the most useful features of a noise-cancelling headset is not just the ability to listen, but to talk. A headset with built-in microphone makes your calls crystal clear in any environment.

Voice Control

Bose noise-cancelling headphones
Headphones that are able to recognize voice commands keep your hands free for other tasks.Bose

Headphones that incorporate voice-control technology, such as Alexa, enable hands-free use of the device. And if you get lonely in all that well-conditioned silence, there’s always a lovely voice in your head to talk to.