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Noise-Cancelling Headphones vs Earplugs: Which is Best for Blocking Out Noise?

When it comes to blocking out unwanted noise, you might be torn between noise-cancelling headphones and earplugs. In this article, we'll be comparing the two products, discussing their advantages, drawbacks and helping you decide which option is right for you.

Noise-cancelling headphones

Noise-cancelling headphones are audio devices designed to reduce or eliminate ambient noise, providing an immersive listening experience for users.


  • Improved audio quality

    Noise-cancelling headphones allow users to enjoy clear audio without turning up the volume, protecting their hearing in the long run.

  • Reduced distractions

    By blocking out unwanted noise, these headphones make it easier to focus on work, study, or entertainment.

  • Better for travel

    Their noise-cancelling feature is particularly useful for reducing airplane engine noise and other sounds associated with traveling.

  • Enhanced comfort

    Many noise-cancelling headphones come with padded ear cups and adjustable headbands, ensuring a comfortable fit for extended periods of use.


  • Higher cost

    Noise-cancelling headphones tend to be more expensive than their non-noise-cancelling counterparts, which may deter some potential buyers.

  • Battery life

    These headphones often rely on batteries to power their noise-cancelling feature, so they may require frequent charging or battery replacement.

  • Bulkier design

    Noise-cancelling headphones are typically larger and heavier than standard headphones, which can make them less portable and more cumbersome to wear.

  • Potential pressure sensation

    Some users may experience a sensation of pressure or discomfort while using noise-cancelling headphones due to the active noise cancellation technology.


Earplugs are small, often disposable devices inserted into the ear canal to block out noise, protect ears from water, or reduce pressure changes during air travel.


  • Noise reduction

    Earplugs effectively reduce ambient noise, helping users sleep, study, or focus better in noisy environments.

  • Affordability

    Earplugs are a cost-effective solution for noise reduction and ear protection, especially when compared to noise-cancelling headphones.

  • Portability

    Their compact size and lightweight design make earplugs easy to carry around and use on-the-go.

  • Multipurpose

    Earplugs serve various purposes, including noise reduction, protection from water during swimming, and pressure equalization during air travel.


  • Discomfort

    Some users may find earplugs uncomfortable, especially when worn for extended periods of time.

  • Limited sound quality

    Earplugs can muffle sounds and make it difficult to hear certain frequencies, like speech or music.

  • Not reusable

    Disposable earplugs have a limited lifespan and may require frequent replacement, contributing to waste.

  • Potential for loss

    Due to their small size, earplugs can be easily misplaced or lost.

Are noise-cancelling headphones suitable for sleeping?

While some people find them comfortable, noise-cancelling headphones are generally bulkier than earplugs, which may be less comfortable for sleeping, especially for side sleepers.

Can earplugs completely block out all noise?

Earplugs can significantly reduce noise levels, but they may not completely block out all sounds. Their effectiveness depends on the fit and the type of material used.

How much do noise-cancelling headphones cost?

Noise-cancelling headphones vary in price, ranging from around $50 for budget options to over $300 for high-end models. Earplugs are generally much more affordable.

Are there any health risks associated with using earplugs?

Using earplugs occasionally is generally safe. However, frequent use can cause earwax buildup or irritation. Clean your earplugs regularly and consult a doctor if you experience discomfort.


What are the alternatives to Noise-cancelling headphones and Earplugs ?

White noise machines

White noise machines create a constant ambient sound, which can help mask unwanted noises and promote relaxation or focus.

you can checkout this link : White noise machines

Soundproof curtains

Soundproof curtains help reduce noise entering your space, offering a passive solution to create a quieter environment.

you can checkout this link : Soundproof curtains


When choosing between noise-cancelling headphones and earplugs, consider your budget, usage scenarios and comfort preferences. Both options have their merits, so it comes down to your personal requirements.

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