Are Noise Cancelling Headphones Worth It?

If you want to enjoy your music without being distracted by the hustle and bustle of everyday life, noise cancelling headphones are worth the higher price tag they come with.

They cost more than regular headphones but if you will be using them often and are looking to reduce the amount of background noise you can hear then they do a great job. 

Noise cancelling headphones are perfect for studying, commuting, working and so much more.

are noise cancelling headphones worth it

As we all know, the modern world is loud, busy and distracting so having a way to shut all of that noise out and tune into what you really want to hear is a game changer for many.

If you’re not sure whether noise cancelling headphones are right for you, let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of them: 

Pros of Noise Cancelling Headphones:

There are lots of benefits of using noise cancellation headphones. The key advantages include:

1. Block Out External Noise 

The most obvious advantage is that noise cancellation headphones will help block out external sounds.

They offer a level of peace and quiet that can help you escape from the busy outside world and focus on what you are doing.

Noise-canceling headphones don’t block out all noise but they can block out most sounds we don’t want to hear such as the hum of nearby traffic or the hum of your motorbike engine (making them perfect for motorcyclists who want to make things quieter inside their helmet!).

These types of headphones are particularly good at eliminating constant, low-frequency noises such as engine sounds.

They work to stop this ambient background noise from impacting the quality of what you are listening to and impacting your focus. 

2. Improve Your Overall Listening Experience 

Your listening experience can be drastically improved as noise cancelling headphones allow you to focus and concentrate.

man using headphones

It can be incredibly frustrating trying to listen to music or watch a video with regular headphones when you are in a loud environment.

Suppressing external sounds and background noise provides a far better overall experience so you can actually hear the details of what you are listening to (without needing to crank the volume up).

3. Perfect for Travel and Focus

If you are going to be travelling or you are regularly using public transport to commute then noise cancelling headphones can help make the journey more peaceful and less stressful.

These headphones are highly recommended for travelling (as long as you are not the one driving that is).

They are also ideal for improving your concentration, when wearing noise cancellation headphones you can focus on reading, studying, working, and even sleeping or working out!

Noise interrupts our thought flow and negatively impacts our productivity.

Using headphones as a way of filtering out that noise allows you to concentrate without being interrupted. 

4. Safe to Use 

Noise cancellation headphones are completely safe to use, they do not emit any form of radiation or pose any risk to your health.

They are safe to use regularly and can actually help protect your hearing.

You can wear these headphones anywhere and can even wear them to sleep (providing you find a pair comfortable enough).

noise cancelling headphones looking cool

Wearing noise cancellation headphones can protect your hearing in noisy environments and can help prevent noise induced hearing loss.

The only way wearing these headphones can cause damage is if you turn the volume up so loud that it is harmful to your hearing. 

5. Beneficial for Your Health 

Being exposed to high levels of noise for an extended period of time can impact your health.

Sometimes we cannot avoid being in a noisy environment so the least we can do is protect our health and our hearing by using headphones to filter out the noise.

Environmental noise pollution is real and it can cause fatigue, irritation and impact our communication and sleep.

There are physiological effects to being exposed to noise and these include increased heart rate, increased blood pressure and constriction of blood vessels.

Not to mention exposure to loud noise can cause temporary or permanent hearing damage. 

6. Protect Your Ears

Wearing noise cancelling headphones can help protect your ears as when you wear them you do not need to turn up your music to high levels in order to drown out external noise.

Instead, you can keep the music low and still enjoy every note without distractions.

noise cancelling headphones in use on public transport

Turning up music too high can cause the sound quality to drop and can cause damage to your ears resulting in hearing loss.

With noise cancelling headphones you can listen to your music at comfortable levels and protect your hearing at the same time. 

7. Improve the Quality of Phone Conversations 

If you are on a phone call in a busy place, you may struggle to hear what the other person is saying and this impacts the flow and quality of the call.

These frustrations can be avoided as noise cancelling headphones will remove the background chatter so you can focus on the conversation at hand rather than trying to sift through all the noise in your head.

You will be able to clearly hear the person you are talking to so you can take calls wherever you are and still have quality conversations. 

8. Improve Your Sleep 

Sleep problems are very common in our modern world and one of the main reasons for being disturbed at night is noise.

This could be anything from the sound of your partner snoring to your neighbours or noises outside.

girl sleeping wearing noise cancelling headphones

Noise cancelling headphones are safe to wear while you sleep, doing this will help remove sound triggers so you get a night of proper sleep.

Getting enough sleep helps to lower the risk of health problems, reduce stress and improves your level of concentration.

9. Can Be Used Without Music 

The final key advantage is that noise cancelling headphones can be used effectively without the need for music.

If you just want to block out all of the ambient noise around you and enjoy some peace and quiet then these headphones can help you do that.

Active noise cancelling headphones still need power to work even when you are not listening to music but passive noise cancelling headphones don’t need power to work effectively. 

Cons of Noise Cancelling Headphones:

There are some cons to noise cancelling headphones too. Let’s take a look at the other side of the coin:

1. Higher Price 

As noise cancelling technology is integrated in these headphones they cost more than regular headphones.

This is simply because of the additional costs that go into making them.

noise cancelling headphones can be expensive

The features and design of noise cancelling headphones are more sophisticated than other headphones so you can expect to pay a higher price for them.

With that said, these headphones offer a range of benefits and they should last a long time. 

2. Bulkier & Heavier  

As noise cancelling headphones have more internal components they tend to be larger and bulkier than other headphone options.

Passive noise cancellation headphones use material as a barrier against sound and active noise cancellation headphones need to have internal batteries in order to work.

This means both headphone types are going to be heavier and weigh more than standard headphones. 

As the headphones can be larger some people may not find them as comfortable to wear.

However, there are lots of styles and types of noise cancelling headphones so you should be able to find an option that suits you.

3. High Power Usage

Active noise cancellation headphones require power in order to work. They tend to consume a lot of power and the battery can go flat in less than a day.

This means if you have a lot of travelling ahead of you, you may need to take a charger with you.

noise cancelling heaphones require a cosntant power supply to work

If the battery runs out on the noise cancelling headphones they will still work as regular headphones but you won’t be able to enjoy the noise cancelling part until they are charged again.

Passive noise cancelling headphones do not need power in order to work as they use sound proofing material to eliminate external noises rather than active technology. 

4. Reduced Sound Quality 

If you are using active noise cancellation headphones you may notice that the sound quality is not quite as good as the quality experienced when using other premium headphones.

This is because the headphones have been designed to suppress external sounds which can compromise the audio slightly.

It is not usually too noticeable but if you really enjoy listening to premium-quality audio or you closely focus on what you are listening to you will likely notice the difference. 

Some users experience a slight humming sound when they use active noise cancellation headphones.

This is very quiet and is not heard by everyone but if you can hear the sound it can be very annoying, especially if you are using the headphones without listening to music. 

5. Not Able to Block All Sounds

It is important to know that not all sounds are blocked by noise-cancelling headphones.

Most sounds are reduced but there are ones that will still get through.

Noise Cancelling Headphones cant block all sounds

Generally, these headphones are great when it comes to low-pitch noises such as traffic and engine sounds but high-pitched noises (particularly sudden noises) will still be heard.

Noise cancelling headphones struggle to block out voices so if a baby suddenly bursts into tears, the chances are you are going to hear it.

This is where playing music in your noise cancelling headphones can help.

Most of the background noises will be eliminated but listening to some (even low volume) music will help shift your focus away from the noises that can still be heard.

6. Can Damage Your Ears (if used at highest volumes)

As with all headphones, you can damage your hearing and risk hearing loss if you listen to very loud music.

Turning up the music too loud and listening to higher volumes for a longer period of time has its risks and these risks remain when using noise cancelling headphones too.  

7. Wearing Them Can Make You Unaware of Your Surroundings 

Wearing noise cancelling headphones can make you unaware of your surroundings which, in certain situations, can be very dangerous.

noise cancelling headphones can make you unaware of your surroundings

It is best not to wear these headphones when you’re on the road as it blocks out important noises such as sirens, car horns etc. making you unaware of what is happening around you.

You may not hear people shouting at you trying to warn you of something either so be very careful if you wear these headphones out and about. 


If you are going to be frequently traveling or working in busy environments and you want to listen to music on the go then noise cancelling headphones are certainly a good investment.

You may want to just enjoy your music in a noise-free environment or protect your ears from environmental noise pollution and if that’s the case then yes buy noise cancelling headphones as they are perfect for this. 

However, if you only use headphones on occasion then the higher cost of these headphones may not be worth it.

The biggest deciding factors are going to be how much use you will get from the headphones, your personal preference and the environment you will be using them in.

We’d highly recommend noise-canceling headphones to anyone who is spending time on a train, bus or plane as they will transform your experience for the better.

As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small fee from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. This helps us run the site, so thanks for your support!

Leave a Comment