Consumer report: noise cancelling headphones work for when silence is much needed

Consumer Reports

CONSUMER REPORTS — Before the pandemic, Derek Flowers traveled a lot for work. One thing he always made sure to pack-his noise-cancelling headphones. Consumer Reports says a decent pair of noise-canceling headphones gives you great audio while reducing outside noise.

“As long as they form a tight seal in or around your ears, noise-canceling headphones can help block out any outside sound but they really work best with low-pitched, consistent noises, like the roar of a plane engine,” said Thomas Germain, Consumer Reports Tech Editor.

If you’re a frequent flier or just want to listen to a podcast while blocking out background noise in a cafe, check out the over-the-ear, budget-friendly model from SoundCore by Anker. CR’s tests show they deliver very good sound quality and excellent active noise reduction. 

If you like long, peaceful walks but want to remain aware of what’s around you, some new headphone technology can help.

“Models with variable noise cancellation let you adjust how much sound you block. Or you can get a pair with a ‘monitor’ or a ‘transparency’ mode which actually amplifies outside sound on purpose,” Germain said. 

Like cars, cyclists, or other pedestrians. If that’s your jam, consider the Cleer Ally Plus with “monitor” mode. CR says they have very good sound quality with excellent active noise reduction. This pair is also a solid pick for traveling. 

And while travel isn’t quite a priority for most people right now, noise-canceling headphones can help mitigate some background noise for those working from home.

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