Considered must-haves for frequent travelers, the best noise-cancelling headphones contain a microphone that measures the ambient noise and creates an inverse sound wave that effectively eliminates that noise. The result is softening or cancellation of surrounding hubbub — the roar of the airplane or the baby crying in the seat behind you — so all you hear is the sweet sound of the music you selected from your Apple iPod Touch or the latest chapter in your audiobook. With many models, you can skip the music and make your headphones silent to block out distractions and help you focus while using your Chromebook to study.
Start by determining the headphone fit you prefer. An in-ear design is a lightweight, very portable choice. The best noise-cancelling earbuds provide sound quality that even sophisticated audiophiles applaud. For some with sensitive ears, noise-cancelling earbuds, also known as earphones, are not comfortable because they are inserted into the ear canal or sit just outside of it. On-ear headphones feature cushions that rest on your outer ear, thereby allowing you to hear some outside sounds. They are considered portable and comfortable. Over-ear headphones, also known as around-ear or full-size headphones, have cushioned cups that enclose your ears. They generally deliver more dynamic, true-to-life sound than other designs, in part because of their proficiency at isolating outside sounds. Though less portable than other styles, they can be extremely comfortable, even during long periods of use. You might find neck-sitting headphone bands, which rest on your neck or on top of your head, more comfortable than other styles. They’re also less likely to mess up your hair.
How Noise-Cancelling Headphones Can Improve Travel
Have you ever tried to pass time on a long trip by putting on your headphones and getting lost in the music, only to realize your music is drowned out by the noises surrounding you: nearby conversations, upset children or the roar of jet engines? For the majority of travelers, a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones is often essential. For some, taking a flight or road trip without their wireless noise-cancelling headphones and their tablet computer loaded with games is unthinkable. For others, listening to music, or watching a favorite TV show or a new movie on their portable DVD player is the best way to spend those otherwise tedious hours in a car, on a bus, on a train or on an airplane.