Looking For Headhones Advice


Jun 14, 2010

Is it true that noise cancalling headphones can reduce external noise even when no sound is being played through them?
Honestly, it is hard for me to believe that any headphones can reduce the external sound more than simply blocking it. Therfore I am interested to hear people's experience with those headphones that claim to actively kill it (and maybe recommendation for specific models).

Because of my job, I sometimes have to visit really noisy rooms. I have hearing problems and fearing deterioration, I alwayas wear "utility headphones". Those help, but not very much and are uncomfortable (heavy and interfere with my glasses). I always have headaces after wearing them.

Also, when I am riding buses, I listen to music with a cheap earplugs. Obviously the noise of the engine eclipses the music, so I have to accent the volume. This makes me very uncomfortable because I fear it is unhealthy for the ears.

I really hope that aquiring noise cancalling headphones could solve those two problems.

Thank you.


Apr 29, 2013
Noise cancelling are best when the background noise is constant, such as on a plane or in a car. If there are lots of sudden noises then you're better off going for passive isolation.

For passive isolation, full size headphones can be good but they're not great.
Check out IEMs. I personally recommend the Shure SE215. They're about $100, the isolation is fantastic. You could also look into the Etymotic HF5.


Oct 31, 2013
Some noise canceling headphone actually make the sound even worst. It's best to have a close headphone to block the sound and enjoy music.
Depend on how much do you want to spend, and what is your prefer sound signature, there will be different recommendation.
noise cancelling headphones are not going to protect your hearing. they cancel out sound with the inverse type of sound wave.

if you need to go to very noisy rooms (such as around running machinery, around a jackhammer, etc) you want ppe (personal protective equipment) eg earmuffs rated to reduce noise. they are uncomfortable i agree but they are the only thing that will effectively reduce the sound that your ears hear which protects your eardrums.

in less noisy situations (in an office, on a bus, etc) it would likely be better to use over the ear type headphones for noise isolation (the ones that cover your ears completely) so that you can listen to music in peace.

i've tried bose headphones before and they are junk. the sound is so distorted compared with other headphones in the price range it is not even funny. while they do work for blocking out some sound like an engine or a jet flying they are terrible for music.


in terms of ppe ear muffs.... you want something with a high decible rating if around loud machinery.

if just in a noisy environment like an office and you want headphones.... i personally like the ath-m50s for both sound quality and noise isolation.