Are Noise Cancelling Headphones Really Necessary?
How often have you been travelling on the bus, train, Tube or aeroplane and seen people with bulky over-sized headphones dangling around their neck? Have you ever stopped to wonder just why they’re so big? Well, apart from being the latest fashion, there’s also a chance that they are noise cancelling headphones. Is your curiosity piqued?
How often have you been travelling on the bus, train, Tube or aeroplane and seen people with bulky over-sized headphones dangling around their neck?
Have you ever stopped to wonder just why they're so big? Well, apart from being the latest fashion, there's also a chance that they are noise cancelling headphones. Is your curiosity piqued?
When you're surrounded by people in a small space, there's always noise; from the baby that won't stop crying, the sound of the wind whistling and people talking on the phone.
However, noise cancelling headphones can block all this distraction out. Whether you want to listen to your favourite track before work or simply don't want to hear everyone else, headphones are the perfect solution.
Are they the same as normal headphones?
Put simply, no. Standard headphones or earbuds will block out some of the noise because you're filling your ears with another sound. However, it's not possible for your usual headphones to stop all the noise of the outside world getting in.
That's where noise cancelling headphones come in. There are two main types: active and passive. The latter reduce the noise by using specific materials when designing the headphones - often high density foam. A good example are the Monster Diamond Tears Edge Headphones.
While they're better than standard headphones, they don't quite block out everything. One step up is the active type of noise cancellation. These headphones create sound waves to block the noise and Sony Prestige MDR-1R Noise-Cancelling Headphones are a great example with noise cancelling of 99.7%.
It might sound a little ironic, but the technology uses a microphone to mimic the sound waves coming in and reproduces them to block the noise. Clever.
Pros and cons
The most obvious advantage to noise cancelling headphones is that you can board the Tube and listen to that Justin Bieber track in peace and quiet. There's no distraction from the person that can't stop coughing or the child that won't stop screaming.
However, there are a couple of drawbacks too. These headphones tend to be more expensive because of the additional technology. They can be a bit heavier and bulkier too - although there are more portable models available.
You might even be able to find discreet earbud ones if you don't like the idea of over ear headphones. Look at the JVC HA-FR6-W-E Headphones for a great example which boast passive noise isolation.
Are they a waste of money?
If you value the crisp and clear sound that noise cancelling headphones can produce, then no. These headphones can be a great investment. Although it might seem like a frivolous purchase at first, when you start using them on a daily basis, you'll soon be wondering how you ever coped on the commute to work.
It's not just travel that headphones are good for. If you and your other half find yourselves arguing about what to watch on TV, one can watch as normal, while the other listens to music - without the Eastenders theme tune drowning out their tunes.
As with any purchase, noise cancelling headphones can be good value for money and they don't have to cost a fortune. It's worth shopping around and considering what features you need before parting with your cash.