Noise Cancelling Headphones: What Are They And Which Should You Buy

August 18, 2023 – 4 min read

Whether you listen to music on your commute to work, enjoy an audiobook on your daily walk, or need a way to wind down without distraction, you are going to need a good pair of headphones. Noise cancelling headphones have become a must-have item, especially for those people who travel a lot or enjoy good quality music all to themselves. If you’re looking to purchase a pair of headphones or perhaps upgrade your current pair, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got the lowdown on some amazing tech and all the right info to help you make the best buying choice for you.

Woman relaxing in a park whilst reading and using her new Noise Cancelling Headphones.

How Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Work?

To understand how these headphones work, you first need to understand how sound moves through air. Imagine sound as a kind of 3D ripple (or group of particles) that travel through the air. These particles change the air pressure and our brains (via our ears) interpret the change as sound. So what does this have to do with headphones you ask?

Noise cancelling headphones are made with a technology called active noise-cancellation (ANC). It works by using tiny microphones on the outside of the headphones to pick up any low-frequency background noise around you. Then, the tech creates a sound that’s the exact opposite of that ambient noise, and the two sounds essentially cancel one another out. It’s a trick played on your brain, which in physics is called ‘anti-phase’. Pretty clever, isn’t it?

What Are The Best Noise Cancelling Headphones?

When it comes to noise cancelling headphones, there are two main styles to choose from: over the ear or in ear (also known as earbuds). No matter the style, a top notch pair of headphones will allow you to feel truly immersed in whatever you’re listening to, whether that’s the latest beats, a classical opera or even an in depth podcast.

Over Ear Headphones

If you like to listen to a lot of music or other audio, investing in a high-quality pair of over ear headphones is the way to go. Because the ear pads are bigger than in ear styles, they’re typically more comfortable for longer stretches of time. They are also easy to carry if you wear them around your neck when not in use.

Here are a few options for inspiration if you’re after the perfect pair of over ear headphones.

Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones

Considered one of the best products out there, these Sony headphones are jam packed with value. As well as having a great wireless range and up to 30 hours of battery life, they also have speak-to-chat pause and play so you don’t have to fumble around with your device to change tracks, and they’re compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Whether you want to block out sounds on your commute to work, or tired of noisy people while studying at uni, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones have got you covered. They provide 11 levels of adjustable noise cancellation, so you can decide how much of the outside world you let in. Plus, their soft silicone headband and comfy ear cushions makes them a lightweight luxury to wear.

“As the name suggests, this style of headphones is perfect for blocking out any unwanted noise, whether you’re on your daily commute, working from home or catching a long haul flight.”


Sennheiser Accentum Wireless Headphones


Sennheiser have been in the audio game for a long time and thus are a trusted and well-loved brand globally. These lightweight and powerful headphones have a quick 3 hour charge time and direct access to voice assistants like Siri or Google at the press of a button.

JBL Live 660 Noise Cancelling Headphones

What’s great about these headphones is the flat fold design, so they’re super easy to store as they pack down into their own case. On top of that, they’re lightweight, can connect to your virtual assistant of choice, and harness the latest active noise cancelling tech so you can fully immerse yourself in sound.

Beats Studio3 Wireless Headphones

Beats headphones have some amazing features and this style is no exception. With Fast Fuel, it only takes 10 minutes of charging to give you 3 hours of play time, so you can be bopping away to your Beats in no time. They also have the Apple W1 chip built in, so they seamlessly connect to any and all Apple devices with a press of a button. Plus, enjoy up to 22 hours of battery life with these headphones.

Woman relaxes on a seat whilst using her noise cancelling headphones and smartwatch.

In Ear Headphones

When it comes to portable audio, wireless earbuds can create an immersive audio experience. If you’re curious to know what the best wireless noise cancelling earbuds are, we’ve got some impressive options that you need to check out.

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds - White

With Bose, better sound is just the beginning. Designed with breakthrough acoustic innovations and the world’s most effective noise cancelling technology, the QuietComfort Earbuds produce crisp clear audio while muting the hustle and bustle of the world around you to create a truly immersive audio experience. Take calls, listen to music, or exercise with complete cordless freedom.

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)

If you’re an Apple lover, no doubt you’ve heard of the new updated AirPods Pro. Built in noise cancellation and a comfy, snug fit means you can enjoy hours of your favourite tunes without distraction. They’re also sweat and water resistant, making them the perfect exercise buddy for long runs or big gym sessions. Plus, you can also use them to answer calls as they’ve got a great in-built microphone.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3

Sennheiser KNOW headphones and these earbuds are no exception. If you prefer in ear headphones, then these make a great choice. Enjoy deep bass sounds and crystal clear music – plus with their minimal and sleek design, they’re perfect for putting your head down and working without distraction. These headphones have up to 28 hours battery life so there’s plenty of time to listen to your favourite music, podcast or connect with your team on work calls.

JBL Tune 230 NC TWS Earbuds

If you’re after headphones that are going to last the entire day and then some, JBL have got you covered. These headphones have a whopping 40 hours of battery life, providing you will all day entertainment and comfort. They also come with their own app that lets you play around with Ambient sound modes and noise cancelling settings. Plus, they are water resistant, so you can still enjoy your favourite tunes whilst adventuring the great outdoors.

What Are Noise Cancelling Headphones Good For?

As the name suggests, this style of headphones is perfect for blocking out any unwanted noise, whether you’re on your daily commute, working from home or catching a long haul flight. Because they block out a lot of excess sound, it also means you don’t have to pump the volume all the way up, so they’re kinder to your ears.

Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Work Without Listening To Music?

They sure do! Active noise cancelling headphones significantly reduce ambient sound even when you’re not listening to anything. They do this through the extra padding (particularly for over the ear styles) or by getting a solid seal in your ear (with earbuds). This is especially handy if you need to take a phone call in a busy place, or just want to carve out some time to concentrate and focus, but perhaps get distracted by music.

Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Work On Planes?

If you’re a frequent flyer, you’re in luck! Noise cancelling headphones work a treat on planes to block a lot of the noise pollution inside the cabin. Say goodbye to the general sound of the plane in flight, any screaming babies and loudly snoring passengers. It’s recommended you look for headphones with a longer battery life if you’re planning on being in the air for a while.

Are Noise Cancelling Headphones Worth The Purchase?

Absolutely! Especially if you’re wanting to protect your hearing, reduce any distractions around you, and enjoy immersing yourself in whatever you’re listening to. As with any tech, it’s all about what you’re using it for – and if you value high-quality sound and a bit of privacy, then investing in active noise cancelling headphones is a great solution.

Grab Your Next Pair of Headphones From Us!

We’ve got a great and varied range of the best noise cancelling headphones out there, from brands you know and love, such as BoseAppleSony and Sennheiser. So swing by your local The Good Guys store, or order easily online – we offer Click & Collect or contactless delivery, so you can have your new headphones in your hands within no time.

Latest In Tech

Couple sit down to watch their big screen TV at home.

Why 85" TVs Are The Normal

Here's what you need to know before shopping for an extra big-screen TV.

Woman unboxes her new home security camera.

Budget Security Cameras

Take a look at some of the hi-tech features you’ll find in affordable security cameras.

Students using tablets at school.

Tablets & iPads For Students

Is your child using the right tech at school? View our top tips, suggestions and more.

Woman watching a big TV mounted to her wall at home.

The Best TVs For Wall Mounting

How to find the right TV that is suited for viewing and wall mounting.