Noise Cancelling Earbuds Vs Headphones: Which Is Better In 2022?

Noise Cancelling Earbuds Vs Headphones Which Is Better In 2022
Noise cancelling headphones are becoming increasingly sought-after. With so many highly competitive models vying for attention, it can be tough to decide which type of headphones to go for. Earbuds are a great way to listen to music without having to deal with loud noises. They are also lightweight and portable, which makes them ideal for on-the-go listening.

Some earbuds have better sound quality than others, but all of them offer some degree of noise cancellation. Looking for the best way to block out unwanted noise? This post from Rezence will give you a full overview of noise cancelling earbuds vs headphones and decide which is right for you.


Overview Noise Cancelling Earbuds Vs Headphones

What is Noise cancelling Headphones?

Noise-cancelling headphones are becoming increasingly sought-after. With so many highly competitive models vying for attention, it can be tough to decide which type of headphones to go for. Generally, shoppers will consider either the over-ear or on-ear variety.

Both types of headphones boast closed earcups, allowing for passive noise cancellation up to 15-20 decibels – without even having to turn on ANC! This is all thanks to the padding that helps create a comfortable listening experience.

Tip: If you’re in need of a peaceful listening experience, circumaural headphones should be your go-to; the foam padding comprised of noise-absorbing materials will provide you with the highest quality sound. Just bear in mind that these headphones are a bit heavier than usual.


When it comes to active noise cancelling headphones, they cancel additional 20 decibels of background noise. Other pros include:

  • Low Music Volume: Noise cancellation makes it so much easier to appreciate your music – you don’t have to crank up the volume to pick out each instrument’s notes, the sound quality is plenty! Some headphones are tailored to offer a heavier bass while others are better at balancing mid and high frequencies.
  • Focus: By wearing noise cancelling headphones, you can forget about all the distracting background noise and concentrate on the task at hand. Prolonged exposure to a noisy office environment is bad for your health, so investing in noise cancelling headphones can be a smart choice – they expertly filter out low to mid frequency noises, making it easier for you to stay focused.
  • Noise cancellation quality: ANC headphones are the perfect way to block out unwanted sound. Their low and mid-frequency sound cancellation is unbeatable, while the foam padding adds a layer of defense against higher frequency noises. Investing in high-end ANC headphones will provide you with remarkable noise cancellation and the ability to still be aware of conversations and voice announcements nearby.

Tip: If you find yourself taking conference calls in loud, chaotic environments, noise cancelling headphones may not be enough to eliminate the background noise. To really keep the environment quiet, get yourself noise cancellation software called Krisp. Not only will it muffle the noise coming from both you and the other party, it recently hit a record high with Appsumo Deals too!


  • Long wear and portability: Headphones with extra padding and circumaural noise isolation may be bulky and difficult to wear for extended periods – especially if they don’t fit snugly around your head. Although ANC headphones are foldable and durable, they can still be a challenge to carry around or fit in your backpack.
  • High power usage: Despite the fact that active noise cancellation (ANC) decreases battery life, some of the best noise cancelling headphones can still last up to 30 hours of continual use. Plus, using ANC with plugged in headphones can be inconvenient, not to mention that some headphones don’t even offer the function when plugged in.
  • Cost: If you want exceptional design, high sound quality and effective active noise cancellation in one package, you have to invest in it. Sure, ANC headphones can be pricey but that shouldn’t stop you. You can always go for budget noise-cancelling headphones with satisfactory ANC and audio quality until you are ready to splurge.

What is Noise Cancelling Earbuds

Noise Cancelling Earbuds – otherwise known as in-ear – are the 3rd type of noise cancelling headphones. These snugly fit into your ear canals and work to help keep out external sounds. However, they are not as effective at blocking out higher frequencies as headphones or earmuffs.


  • Portability: Earbuds are incredibly lightweight and come in various sizes, making it easy to find one that fits snugly in your ear canal. Whether they’re wireless or not, you can take them with you wherever you go – no matter how long you wear them, you won’t experience any headaches! The only two minor annoyances you will likely experience when using earbuds are the occasional entanglement of the wires and an unfortunate loss of the buds if you fail to properly insert them into your ear canals.
  • Affordability: Noise-cancelling earbuds are considerably more budget-friendly than noise-cancelling headphones, but the sound quality and battery life are not as great. That being said, you do get what you pay for – which is usually quite a bit less!


  • Sound quality: Noise-cancelling earbuds aren’t known for delivering exceptional sound quality. Some models have boosted bass that’s still not loud enough, while others struggle to bring out mid and high levels. If you want to really experience each instrument in your favourite songs, you might find yourself cranking up the volume to the max, which brings us to our next downside.
  • Hearing loss: Blasting your music on full volume through earbuds can be detrimental to your hearing. Even with noise-cancelling or noise-isolating features, prolonged exposure to loud music can permanently damage your eardrums. If you do decide to invest in noise-cancelling earbuds, be sure to give yourself periodic breaks, and don’t crank the volume to the maximum level!
  • Vulnerability: Even though noise cancelling earbuds are lightweight and portable, they’re not durable in every sense. You can easily break them if you jam them into your bag. It’s always better to be cautious and keep them in a separate case as often as you can. It will also help avoid any tangling.

Noise Cancelling Earbuds Vs Headphones: What is The Difference?

Noise Cancelling Earbuds Vs Headphones What is The Difference


Perched upon your ears, on-ear headphones – or supra-aural headphones, as they’re often called – offer a comfortable alternative to their more cumbersome over-the-ear counterparts. With their snug, conforming design, you can enjoy extended wear and a degree of sound isolation – all without the bulk.

Earbuds, designed to snugly fit in the ear canal, rather than merely sitting on the outer ear, provide a secure and comfortable way to enjoy audio on the go. Crafted to stay securely in place, these tiny audio gadgets bring convenience and comfort to any listening experience.


From lightweight in-ear earbuds to powerful bass-pumping on-ear headphones, headphones provide a variety of audio reproduction capabilities and can create an incredible listening experience.

Noise-cancelling headphones outshine earbuds when it comes to sound quality and blocking ambient noise. While both are proficient in reducing noise, noise-cancelling headphones offer superior sound with heavy bass, making them a cut above the rest. In-ear headphones, even with noise cancellation, cannot match the sound quality of their counterparts, particularly in terms of bass effects.

Noise Cancelling Technology

If you want to muffle the outside racket, you can’t do better than big, over-ear headphones with active noise-canceling tech – much better than earbuds with similar features. And it’s the same story when comparing noise-canceling on-ear headphones to earbuds.

Traditional headphones that surround the ears are undoubtedly more efficient than earmuffs; yet, modern noise-cancelling earbuds are still struggling to achieve the same level of performance. Nevertheless, with the advancements in technology, there is certainly optimism for what the future has in store.


Earbuds offer unbeatable convenience; their ultra-light form factor and miniature size make them ideal for the on-the-go lifestyle.

In comparison, even the top-of-the-line closed-back headphones are bulky and awkward to carry around – but the highest-quality Samsung earbuds are small enough to slip into your pocket or purse with ease. It is worth highlighting, however, that it is due to their larger size that traditional headphones outperform earbuds in terms of noise cancellation technology.


Many people find earbuds to be a bit uncomfortable, since they sit inside the ear canal. On the other hand, some folks find over-ear and on-ear headphones to be a bit too bulky and weighty, as they sit on and clasp the ear lobes. Ultimately, it all boils down to personal preference.

Be aware of what your body and mind can handle, and select headphones that make you feel comfortable; the rest – like high or low impedance – you can worry about later.

Battery Life

Traditional headphones get the upper hand in the battery life department, due to their larger capacity for accommodating bigger batteries that enable extended active noise cancellation.

With such a generous power supply, these regular noise-canceling headphones can last for a solid week or two on a single charge – unlike their earbud counterparts, which tend to deplete in a mere day or two of regular use.

What Type Of Noise Cancellation Is Right For You?

What Type Of Noise Cancellation Is Right For You

Navigating the plethora of noise cancellation technologies on the market can be daunting, but never fear! To make the decision easier, here’s a breakdown of the most commonly used technologies.

  • Passive Noise Cancellation: This noise cancellation is based on soundproofing materials that can both prevent sound from entering or leaving a space. It’s the most popular way of blocking out noise and is frequently used in headphones to drown out ambient sounds.
  • Active Noise Cancellation: Noise cancellation technology utilizes electronic circuitry to produce counteractive soundwaves, effectively cancelling out ambient noise. This type of sound abatement is regularly used in headphones and earbuds to minimize external noise, but it can also be used in larger speakers and headphones to craft a “silent room” atmosphere.
  • Hybrid Noise Cancellation: Hybrid noise cancellation combines the power of active and passive noise reduction to offer superior noise suppression. With this innovative technology, headphones and earbuds can filter out environmental noise while larger speakers and headphones can create a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere.

Can ANC Earbuds Cancel As Much Noise As ANC Headphones?

Can ANC Earbuds Cancel As Much Noise As ANC Headphones

Navigating the answer to this question may seem complicated but, broadly speaking, noise-canceling headphones reign supreme when it comes to blocking out noise compared to earbuds. This is because they boast the ability to diminish a broader spectrum of frequencies without the need of battery power.

When it comes to noise reduction, noise-cancelling headphones are usually the better option for those seeking the best results. However, active noise cancellation earbuds can still be highly effective – depending on the specific product. If you’re looking for something more portable, earbuds could be the perfect choice.

Stationary Use At Home Or In The Open Office

When you’re using your noise-canceling earbuds or headphones in one place, such as your home or the office, there are some essential points to bear in mind.

Traveling with earbuds or headphones? Both can be great for on-the-go listening, but if you’re looking for portability, you’ll want to make sure they’re as compact and lightweight as possible.

Finally, you will want to make sure that they can block out a wide range of frequencies. If you will be using your earbuds or headphones primarily on the move, you will want to make sure that they are comfortable to wear and that they have a good seal.


Exercising with noise-canceling earbuds or headphones can be a great experience! To ensure your listening comfort and keep sweat at bay, make sure they fit snugly and are sweat-resistant.


For an uninterrupted slumber, slip on some noise-canceling earbuds or headphones! Comfort and a good seal are key to ensure a pleasant snooze, so you can wake up feeling refreshed.

Which Is Right for You: Noise-Canceling Earbud or Headphones

The noise cancellation you require relies heavily on your preferences and the intended use. If you need to drown out sound to focus or take it easy, then active noise cancellation could be your best bet.

If you need a bit of ambient noise for safety, passive noise cancellation might be the way to go. Or, if you’re looking for the best of both worlds, then hybrid noise cancellation could be the ideal option. Whatever type you choose, it’s important to try it out in different settings to make sure it meets your needs.


FAQs about noise cancelling

Who invented noise cancelling headphones?

Fogel’s pioneering work on active noise cancellation technology saw him hailed as the inventor of the first noise-cancelling headphones systems. His remarkable invention was followed up by Willard Meeker’s Active Noise Control Model, designed to be used with circumaural earmuffs for superior hearing protection.

Are noise cancelling headphones safe?

Turn up the music with confidence knowing that your noise-cancelling earphones are completely safe! Unlike mobile phones, they won’t emit any low-level radiation, so you can rest assured that there is no risk to your health or wellbeing while using them to block out any background noises.

Can you use noise cancelling headphones for shooting?

Absolutely! In fact, it’s a cardinal rule of gun safety to safeguard your hearing, and your shooting instructor should be able to provide you with this essential information.

are apple earbuds noise cancelling?

Experience pure audio bliss with AirPods Pro and AirPods Max! Featuring three incredible noise-control modes – Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode, and Off – you can effortlessly adjust how much of your surroundings you want to hear. Simply switch between them to find your perfect soundscape!

Are raycon earbuds noise cancelling?

Be heard loud and clear on calls and video chats with the updated 2022 model of this earbud, featuring advanced noise-cancelling tech and 6 powerful microphones!

Do noise cancelling earbuds protect hearing?

If you’re pondering listening to music while working in your laboratories or shops with noise-cancelling headphones or earbuds, bear in mind that these contraptions won’t provide protection for your hearing, even though they might appear to in some cases.


Noise-canceling earbuds or headphones offer a variety of benefits, from portability to sound quality. Ultimately, the best option for you depends on your needs and preferences. Try out different types and brands to find the perfect pair for you.

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