Whether you’re flying the unfriendly skies, commuting to work, or just trying to listen to your tunes or podcasts with a noisy HVAC system roaring in your ear, a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones can save your ears and help preserve your sanity.
Unfortunately, though, you may be under the impression that all noise-cancelling headphones are prohibitively expensive. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. While it’s true that noise-cancellation circuitry does add to the price of a headphone or earphone (it is pretty sophisticated technology, after all), you can still find plenty of NC offerings, in all shapes and sizes, for less than the price of a pound of Wagyu beef.
If coast-to-coast flights are a regular part of your schedule, you might look into something like Phiaton’s $69.99 CURVE BT 120 NC, for example. This model features RightFit+ ear wings for a comfortable fit all day long and elimination of up to 95 percent of ambient noise.
It’s also a great option if you’re looking for something compact, as it consists of little more than the earbuds you stick in your ear and a cable that loops around your neck, with the electronics for wireless connectivity and noise-cancellation housed in the earbud cases themselves. As such, you get a five-hour battery life with NC on, 8.5 hours with it off—for shorter trips or your daily commute, that’s probably more than most people need.
For those of you who need to block out some noise while exercising or riding the bus or subway to work, you might find that a good neckband headphone is more your speed. Both the BT 150 NC ($99.99) and BT 100 NC ($79.99) get a boost in battery life thanks to their comfy collars, which rest around your neck and keep your earphones constantly at the ready, so you don’t need to fiddle around in your pocket or bag when you need to block out the outside world. Both also offer great active noise-cancellation, with up to 7.5 hours of blissful, noise-free listening time.
The one common denominator with all the above noise-cancelling headphones is that they also offer wireless Bluetooth connectivity. However, if your portable media player doesn’t support Bluetooth, though, or your headphones run out of battery, there’s Everplay-X. Simply put, it’s a handy technological trick that transforms your favorite wireless Phiaton headphones into their wired equivalents. How does it work? Well, take the BT 150 NC or the BT 100 NC, for example. If you find yourself running out of juice and you’re just not ready to stop rocking yet, all you have to do is pop open the USB port cover on the headphone and plug in the included Everplay-X cable into the jack. Attach the other end to your phone, tablet, or other portable device, and you’re ready to keep on rocking.
By Dennis Burger