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Difference between Noise Cancelling and Sound Isolating Headphones

Difference between Noise Cancelling and Sound Isolating Headphones

There is a big difference between noise-cancelling and sound-isolating headphones. Both have their pros and cons, but it is important to know the difference before you buy. In this blog post, we will break down the pros and cons of each type of headphone so that you can make an informed decision when purchasing headphones. Let’s get started!

What are Noise Cancelling Headphones?

Noise-cancelling headphones are designed to reduce ambient noise levels, making it easier to hear music or other audio content. They work by using active noise cancellation (ANC) technology to generate inverse sound waves that cancel out unwanted noise. This can be helpful in a variety of situations, such as when trying to concentrate in a noisy environment or when travelling on a plane or train. Noise-cancelling headphones can also help to reduce fatigue and increase relaxation. While they are not perfect, noise-cancelling headphones can be an effective way to improve your listening experience.

What are Sound Isolating Headphones?

  • Sound Isolating Headphones are headphones that use ear cups to seal out external noise. This is done by creating a tight fit around the ear, which blocks out sound waves.
  • Sound Isolating Headphones are different from Noise Cancelling Headphones, which use active noise cancellation to cancel out noise. Sound Isolating Headphones are passive, meaning they do not require batteries or power to work.
  • Sound Isolating Headphones are typically more comfortable to wear for long periods of time, and they do not require regular maintenance like Noise Cancelling Headphones. Sound Isolating Headphones are the best choice for people who want to block out external noise without spending a lot of money.

Difference between Noise Cancelling and Sound Isolating Headphones

Noise Cancelling and Sound Isolating Headphones are two types of headphones that are designed to improve the listening experience. Noise Cancelling Headphones use active Noise Cancellation (ANC) to reduce environmental Noise, while Sound Isolating Headphones use passive Noise cancellation to block out Noise.

  • ANC works by using microphones to pick up on environmental Noise and then emitting soundwaves that cancel out the Noise. This can be effective at reducing low frequency Noise, like the rumble of an airplane engine.
  • However, ANC is less effective at cancelling higher frequency Noise, like human conversation. In addition, ANC can introduce a slight hissing sound that some people find annoying.
  • Sound Isolating Headphones use physical barriers to block out Noise. This can be in the form of ear cups that fit snugly around the ear or earbuds that insert into the ear canal.

Sound Isolating Headphones are typically more effective at blocking out Noise than ANC headphones, but they can be less comfortable to wear for long periods of time. In addition, sound isolation can make it difficult to hear sounds that you want to hear, like music coming from your headphones.


In conclusion, noise-cancelling headphones are better for blocking out sound and are ideal for use in noisy environments. Sound-isolating headphones are better for hearing the details of your music and speech, making them a better choice for listening to audio content. If you’re looking for headphones that will completely block out external noise, go with noise-cancelling headphones.

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