Shopping for headphones or earbuds to minimize external noise? These can be especially useful when you want to focus on your music or block out unwanted sounds. What then is the difference between noise cancelling and noise isolating? We find out more below.

Noise isolating headphones create a physical barrier to block out noise by creating a good seal between your ear and the headphone while earbuds block out noise with a snug fit. These headphones/earphones create the strongest comfortable seal around your ears or ear canal so that the only thing you will hear is your music.

Noise cancelling headphones, on the other hand, use digital signal processing (DSP) technology to actively cancel out the sound waves from ambient noise. These headphones have an internal microphone and audio processor that “listens” to the sound around you and plays an opposite sound to cancel it out. The best of these noise cancelling headphones eliminate noise from your surroundings and better still, offer you some peace and quiet even it there is no music playing.

Most importantly, both these noise isolating and noise cancelling headphones aren’t for wearing when you’re up and about. If you need to hear your surroundings for safety, these are a bad idea!

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