Noise Cancelling vs Sound Isolating: What’s The Difference in 2024?

By: Editorial Team

Noise-cancelling or noise isolation headphones or earbuds? A question that has been asked by every person who seriously wants to know which the best is when it comes to eliminating sound.

Here’s everything you need to know about Noise-cancelling vs noise-isolating headphones or earbuds.

What Is Sound or Noise Isolation in Headphones?

Sound-isolating headphones are made to isolate your ears from noises by sealing-off your ear canal.

Noise-isolating headphones use a passive technology that blocks ambient noise waves from getting into your ears.

How Does Sound or Noise Isolating Headphones or Earbuds Work?

Passive technology works by using the headphone’s physical structure to block out noise or sounds. It depends on padding, size and how much it’s able to cover or enter your ears.

Noise Reduction Levels In Noise Isolating Headphones

When it comes to noise-isolating headphones, it can muffle external sounds around 25-30 decibels. To guide you well, here is the list of noise with decibels (dB) for reference:

  • 20 dB: Rustling Leaves
  • 25-30 dB: Whisper
  • 40 dB: Refrigerator
  • 50 dB: Moderate Rainfall
  • 60 dB: Conversation
  • 70 dB: Cars, Motorcycles, City Traffic
  • 80 dB: Truck
  • 90 dB: Hairdryer
  • 100 dB: Helicopter
  • 110 dB: Trombone
  • 120 dB: Police Siren
  • 130 dB: Jet Engine
  • 140 dB: Fireworks, Explosions

For example, 25-30 decibel reduction in noise-isolating headphones can filter out noises totally like rustling leaves, whisper and can partially filter out noises beyond 30 decibels.

This is more effective when headphones are a really good fit for your ears.

Power Consumption

Since noise-isolating headphone does not require batteries to function, its physical build is the only way to filter noises.

Passive technology means that the headphones can cancel out noises based on how they are physically made.

Price And Comfort

When it comes to price, noise Isolating headphones are cheaper compared to noise-cancelling headphones, since they don’t have any batteries.

The price also varies depending on their brand and model.

People’s ears are shaped differently. So the comfort might vary depending on the shape of your ears.

Wearing headphones that are not fit to your ears will make your tired after a long period of using it. That’s for earbuds and on-ear headphones. But, for over-ear headphones, the comfort is top-notch.

What Are Noise Cancelling Headphones or Earbuds and How Do They Work

Noise-cancelling headphones are similar to noise-isolating headphones except for one thing. They do a much better job of getting rid of external sounds or noises.

Noise-cancelling headphones or earbuds have an anti-noise signal that sends out waves to cancel out noises without compromising the quality of the music you’re currently listening to.

When using noise-cancelling headphones, you will hear almost no noise only the sweet music coming from your iPod or smartphone.

How Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Work

Noise Reduction Levels In Noise Cancelling Headphones

Compared to the noise-isolating headphones, the headphones with noise-cancelling features work against ambient noises.

Because of its anti-noise signal technology, making your music clearer even if you’re in a place with loud noises.

Power Consumption

Since noise-cancelling headphones have active technology, these headphones come with external batteries as a power source.

They drain more power when connected to a device for it to work properly. Some headphones come with built-in rechargeable batteries for convenience.

Price And Comfort

The price of noise-cancelling headphones ranges from cheap to expensive ones. Cheap noise-cancelling headphones are inferior to well-priced ones. Because their technology isn’t that great.

When it comes to comfort, it depends on the headphone or the earbud.

However, some users complain that when noise-cancelling headphones are worn for long periods.

They experience headaches. So far as the headphone is comfy you won’t have a problem.

What’s The Difference between Noise Isolating and Noise Cancelling Headphones?

 To make it short: noise-isolating headphones block some noise by sealing off your ear canal or securely covering your ears.

Noise-cancelling headphones, on the other hand, use an anti-noise signal to cancel out ambient noise in the environment.

Differences Between Noise Cancelling and Noise Isolating

Which Is Better, Noise Cancelling Or Noise Isolating Headphones?

Many headphone users prefer noise-cancelling ones over noise isolating ones because the former has better ability in isolating sound and cancelling out noises completely.

But, it all depends on what you are going to use them for.

For example, noise isolating headphones are preferred over noise-cancelling when it comes to a certain genre in music production or creating a podcast.

So you have to ask yourself if using a noise-cancelling or isolating headphone will be the better option for that purpose.

Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Cancel Out Voices?

Noise-cancelling headphones are beneficial in cancelling out low-pitch voices, but not those high-pitch voices. So, you’ll slightly still hear those high-pitch voices even though you are wearing a brand-new noise-cancelling headphone.

Is Noise Cancelling Safe?

Noise-cancelling headphones are actually safer to the point that they will help you sleep, maintains blood pressure and stress levels, and can rarely cause headaches.

This kind of headphone does not also emit low-level radiation compared to cellphones. Therefore, active noise-cancelling headphones are worth it.

Is Noise Cancelling Worth It?

They are worth it if you want to reduce the noise from external surroundings and completely immerse yourself in music.

Final Thoughts

There isn’t much difference between noise cancelling and isolating headphones. But, each has their uses and situations where they shine the most.

Fortunately, you know the differences and can make an educated decision when making a purchase.

That’s it for the noise-cancelling vs noise-isolating headphones or earbuds.