Travelling with Headphones: Noise Cancelling vs. Noise Isolating

There’s nothing worse than getting on a plane for a long flight only to realize you’ve left your headphones at home. The $2 in-flight headphones rival stock iPhone headphones from 5 years ago, and if you can manage to keep them in your ear without falling out, there’s still the problem of being able to hear all the ambient noise around you.

For travellers, or anyone who places high-value on eliminating ambient noise, the debate always comes down to picking between noise cancelling headphones and noise isolating headphones.

Difference Between Noise Cancelling and Noise Isolating

As the name states, each headphone helps to reduce noise. The one core difference between the two types of headphones is that noise isolating headphones use a seal against the ear to block ambient noise, whereas noise cancelling headphones electronically cancel out ambient noise.

Now that we know the core difference between noise cancelling headphones and noise isolating headphones, let’s take a deeper look into helping you pick between the two types for you and your travels.

What to Keep in Mind When Selecting Noise Isolating Headphones

When finding an effective pair of noise isolating headphones, keep in mind that the seal of the headphones matters most. A poor seal will result in ineffective headphones. Once you’ve found a pair with the perfect seal, these three tips will help you make the most out of the headphones:

1. Look at in-ear headphones, as opposed to over-ear headphones; the seal of noise isolating headphones lends itself much better to ear buds.

2. You can fix the comfort level of in-ear headphones, as ear bud tips can be easily adjusted, changed, and replaced.

3. Wearing in-ear noise isolating headphones over a long period of time can cause general discomfort – mainly just due to having something in your for an extended period of time.

Now that you know what to look for in noise isolating headphones, let’s take a look at how noise cancelling headphones differ from noise isolating headphones.

What to Keep in Mind When Selecting Noise Cancelling Headphones

Noise cancelling headphones have a bit more of a technical process involved in eliminating ambient noise as compared to noise isolating headphones.

Noise cancelling headphones have an internal processor that takes in outside sounds, processes it to create inverse sound waves, and cancels out the outside sound that doesn’t belong. Due to the added processor, most noise cancelling headphones come with rechargeable batteries.

While long-term wear is generally comfortable, and suitable for flights and travel, noise cancelling headphones may not yield themselves well in every situation when cancelling ambient noise is desired. This is due to the fact that noise cancelling headphones work best with low droning sounds, such as engines, but can struggle at times with mid-range sounds, such as voices.

Have any questions about noise cancelling or noise isolating headphones? You can get in touch with us here and you’ll hear from us in no time.