In the buzzing world of tech, there are countless gadgets designed to improve the quality of our everyday lives. Among them, noise cancelling headphones and earbuds have quickly become favourites for audiophiles, professionals, students, and casual listeners alike. No matter where you are—in the heart of a bustling city, in the office, or at home—these innovative devices offer a sanctuary of silence in an otherwise noisy environment. At Best Buy, we offer a range of noise cancelling devices, designed to meet diverse needs and preferences. Explore our collection here. 

Understanding noise cancelling technology 

Before we delve into the various types of active noise cancelling devices (aka ANC devices), it’s important to understand what noise cancellation is and how it works. At its core, noise cancelling technology employs a method called active noise control. This involves generating an “anti-noise” signal that matches and cancels out ambient noise, creating a serene auditory experience for the user. It’s a subtle, yet highly effective way to drown out the world’s cacophony and focus on what truly matters, whether that’s your favourite song, an important podcast, or a crucial business call. 

While noise cancelling technology provides a significant improvement in listening quality, it’s not without potential drawbacks. For instance, it doesn’t cancel all ambient noise but does a better job with low frequencies than higher frequencies. So you still hear some of the flight noise on a plane, though that noise will be less intense and annoying. It may also affect the range of frequencies you hear in the audio you are trying to listen to: however, in noisy environments, your music will sound much better with ANC on then with ANC off. One other potential concern is that with ANC turned on, the batteries drain faster. This could be a problem for very long flights or other situations where you need the headphones to last a long time. Lastly, noise cancelling devices tend to be more expensive than their non-cancelling counterparts, though many users find the increased cost to be a worthy trade-off for the enhanced sound experience. 

It’s also worth noting the difference between noise isolation and noise cancellation. While both aim to improve your listening experience, they achieve this in different ways. Noise isolation, or passive noise cancellation, relies on the physical design of the headphones or earbuds to block out ambient noise. Basically, the earphone or earbud is blocking out noise just by virtue of separating your ear from the outside world. On the other hand, noise cancelling headphones and earbuds use active noise control as explained above. All head phones isolate the ear to some extend, some will do a better job of noise isolation than others, and ANC headphones will combine noise isolation with noise cancellation. Each method has its merits, and the choice between them often depends on individual preferences, specific use-cases, and budget. 

Noise cancelling headphones vs noise cancelling earbuds 

With a clear understanding of noise cancellation technology, let’s delve into the two main types of devices: noise cancelling headphones and noise cancelling earbuds

Over-ear noise cancelling headphones provide an immersive sound experience. The large ear cups encompass the whole ear, which contributes to better noise isolation and offers a fuller, richer sound. They’re a popular choice among music enthusiasts and professionals who require superior sound quality and comfort for extended use. Popular brands include Sony, Sennheiser, and Bose. Check out some of the top over-ear noise cancelling headphones available at Best Buy. 

Noise cancelling earbuds, on the other hand, are compact, portable, and convenient. They’re a favourite for people on the go, thanks to their smaller size and lighter weight. While they may not offer the same level of sound quality as over-ear headphones, advancements in technology have significantly improved their audio performance. Plus, newer models often come with customizable ear tips for a more comfortable and secure fit. Some of the most popular brands include Apple, Samsung, Google, Sony, and Jabra.

In the end, the choice between headphones and earbuds largely comes down to personal preference, lifestyle, and specific needs. It’s about finding the balance between comfort that is right for you. 

Going wireless: the new age of noise cancellation 

As technology continues to evolve, wireless audio devices have steadily gained popularity. Free from the constraints of cords, wireless noise cancelling headphones offer a level of freedom and convenience that’s hard to beat. These headphones connect to your devices via Bluetooth, providing an uncluttered and mobile listening experience that’s perfect for everything from workouts to work calls. 

Additionally, advancements in battery technology mean that you can enjoy hours of uninterrupted music or calls without worrying about finding a power outlet. Some models even offer fast charging capabilities, allowing you to get several hours of playback from just a few minutes of charging. As mentioned above, this can be especially useful when using active noise cancellation which can drain batteries quickly on some models.

What to look for when choosing noise cancelling devices 

Choosing the right noise cancelling headphones or earbuds can feel overwhelming, given the vast array of options available. Here are a few key factors to consider: 

Sound Quality: Look for devices that deliver clear, balanced sound. Read reviews and, if possible, try them out in person before purchasing. Audio is a very personal thing and you want to find the model that provides a great experience for your own listening pleasure.

Comfort and Fit: Whether it’s over-ear headphones or earbuds, comfort is crucial, especially for prolonged use. 

Battery Life: If you’re considering wireless devices, battery life is a significant factor. Look for models that can last for your average day and have quick charging capabilities. Many earbuds come with cases that recharge your headphones several times before the case needs to be recharged.

Price: Finally, choose a device that fits within your budget. Higher cost doesn’t always mean better quality. 

Many people have multiple kinds of headphones for different situations. For example, frequent flyers who enjoy airline entertainment will opt for over-ear models for their increase sound isolation and ability to connect via a wire to the entertainment console (few airlines enable Bluetooth audio streaming). However, when commuting by transit or working out at the gym, many people prefer in-ear devices that stay neatly tucked in the ear. Consider how you will use your headphones to decide if you require one or the other or both.

Choosing noise cancelling headphones and earbuds that are right for you 

As part of your journey into the world of noise cancellation, consider customer feedback about sound quality, comfort, durability, and user-friendly features. Remember, the “best” device will depend on your individual needs and preferences. There are a diverse range of noise cancelling headphones and earbuds available on the market today. After all, everyone’s journey to the perfect sound experience is unique. 

Noise cancelling headphones and earbuds are powerful tools that can enhance your listening experience, whether you’re a music enthusiast, a busy professional, a student, or simply someone who values high-quality sound. By understanding the technology and knowing what to look for, you can find the perfect device that suits your lifestyle and meets your needs. 

This article was drafted using AI technology and then reviewed, fact-checked, and revised by a member of our editorial team.

Best Buy (assisted with AI)
Best Buy is exploring ways to use AI technology to help us craft engaging content for our customers and fellow tech enthusiasts. It is important to us that we provide you with articles that are timely, accurate, and helpful, which is why our amazing team of writers and editors review, fact-check, and revise any AI-generated content before we post it on our blog. Learn more about our Policy on the Use of Generative AI Content.