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What are noise-cancelling headphones?

Find out everything you need to know about noise-cancelling headphones with this handy guide.

Busy traffic. Nattering commuters. Office small-talk. Sometimes you just need to zone out from it all. Put down the ear-plugs and consider a pair of noise-cancelling headphones instead. If you’re not really sure what these headphones do but love the idea of switching off whenever you like, our handy guide explains everything you need to know. We’ll look at the key differences between noise-cancelling and noise-isolating, and much more.

Cancel out the noise

Although it might seem like it, noise-cancelling technology isn’t witchcraft. It’s just a clever use of different components that you won’t find in other headphones. A microphone picks up ambient noise (all the distracting stuff that you don’t want to hear), then a soundwave is created that acts as a kind of eraser, rubbing out that annoying din from the outside world. The result? Absolutely everything around you is silenced, so you’re free to jam to your favourite playlist in peace or simply enjoy the glorious sound of silence. Imagine that on that packed train in the morning? Bliss.

Shop noise-cancelling

What about noise-isolating headphones?

Noise-isolating headphones aren’t quite as powerful at wiping out ambient racket as their noise-cancelling counterparts, but they still help to keep things hushed. It’s the design rather than the technology that minimises external noise. Noise-isolating headphones physically cover your ears to form a closed-back acoustic seal. This muffles rather than completely silences the stuff around you. So, you won’t have to crank up the volume to earth-shattering levels to hear every word of your podcast or the latest album you’ve been desperate to hear. Good news for you and your ear drums.