Zoopy is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Noise Cancelling Headphones vs Earplugs Comparison Guide 2021

Last Updated:

Today, we will compare two unique gadgets designed to cancel out a sound: noise-canceling headphones and noise-proof plugs. Noise cancellation is meant mainly for people who work in loud spaces like construction zones, factories, airports, etc., while those with hearing problems benefit from using noise-proof plugs (e.g. people attending concerts).

Both devices employ different technology; however, certain key differences between them might make one better suited than another depending on your needs.

Between noise-canceling earbuds and other forms of ear protection: how do we choose the right tool for the job? Most would agree that standard ear protection prevails over noise-canceling headphones for their efficiency at a budget price.

While this appears to be a straightforward answer, the background behind the use of each tool will ultimately dictate which tool is right for your preferences and needs.

Are noise-canceling earbuds or earplugs more appropriate for you? We compare the features of each to help you decide.

How Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Work?

Noise Cancelling Headphones

Headphones are capable of blocking out the sound because they fit perfectly into your ears. The earphone can cancel noise by creating a perfect seal between you and them, which will block out most unwanted background noises.

Active noise-canceling headphones work to counter these waves and give you a clear, full sound. Noise-canceling technology will also produce higher quality audio as the background noise is reduced or eliminated.

Since it is a feature heavily admired by audiophiles and musicians, noise-cancellation allows users to grasp the purest quality of their favorite tunes. It can also be useful for students who want to immerse themselves in their studies during exam season without any external interruption from outside noises.

TIP: If you want to cancel out background noise, look for over the ear headphones. They’re the highest quality passive padding against outside sound with high-density foam materials that absorb external sounds like a sponge! Remember, they may be heavier than usual on your head since it is covered more by cushioning material.


Small Downside To Noise Canceling Headphones

While this principle of active noise-canceling sounds completely failproof, that's not always the case. For example, if a loud sound exceeds what the microphone can pick up, an inverted wave cannot be produced to cancel it out. This is typically seen with spontaneous sounds generated by fireworks or aircraft takeoffs."

If you're low on battery, there's a chance that the headphones won't be able to cancel out all noise, and it will just sound like regular earplugs.

Not all noise-canceling headphones are built equal. This is an obvious observation, but for those who have never used these products in general, it can lead you astray in your purchasing decisions, and that's not good when investing over $500 on a product!

The moment you know which headphones are the best is when you try them during a flight or in a crowded coffee shop.

When you're demoing different pairs of headphones, at first, they might seem equal and interchangeable. It's not till you test each pair out while on an airplane or underneath the noisy hums of people around that it becomes clear how much better one set sounds than another and makes you realize just why certain brands cost so darn much money!

Noise Reduction With Earplugs


Earplugs are an accessible and affordable way to protect your ears from loud noises such as concerts or sporting events. They work by blocking sound waves, which prevents them from reaching the inner ear that contains delicate hair cells responsible for hearing. 

As long as you insert these small plugs correctly into your ears, they will stay in place throughout whatever activity you're engaging in without falling out!

The most common complaint about earplugs is that their fit gradually loosens over time, leading to them falling out. Often this problem arises because people don't insert the plugs properly in the first place.

Insert them correctly, and your earplugs will block out the loudest noises, and they'll be comfortable to wear under other gear such as goggles or head protection.

Not getting a good night's sleep may have some severe consequences. Study shows that having a poor quality of sleep can result in:

  • High blood pressure 
  • Strokes 
  • Diabetes 
  • Reduced immune function, and more!

Disadvantages of Earplugs

Earplugs have many benefits for your work and sleep schedule, but inserting them directly into the ear canal could lead to issues such as wax buildup.

Earwax helps protect the ear canal by removing harmful debris and impurities. It moves towards the entrance of your ear canals alongside all other waste products.

Repeatedly blocking the ear canal, such as with the regular use of earplugs, can cause a buildup of hard wax in your ears. This is common in older adults because their softer wax becomes harder over time.

The best time to care for earplugs is before they become dirty. Custom or pre-molded are good options but should be cleaned with a toothbrush, hydrogen peroxide, or soap/water mixture! If you don't do this, your hearing protection will not work correctly.

Best Budget Noise Cancelling Solution - QuietBuds

Quiet Buds Review

QuietBuds are noise-canceling earbuds that allow you to customize your listening experience with interchangeable cores. Depending on where you need to be and what you need to hear, QuietBuds can adjust the level of sounds around it for a personalized listening experience.

Compared to other noise-canceling headsets, QuietBuds are unique in that they allow users the opportunity for customization. Many of these devices either block out all sound or let you hear everything around them - but not both at once.

QuietBuds Features & Benefits

Swappable Cores

quietbuds cores

The main selling point of the product is that it comes with three different types of interchangeable cores which can be swapped in order to allow for a certain level blocking, depending on your needs. The first core option is known as the "commute" and features an hourglass-shape design while still allowing some important sounds through so communication remains possible during travels.

The second core is the concert core. This means that this earplug will help you do your job safely and comfortably at a rock concert or other event with loud music, as well as in industrial settings like manufacturing plants where there's high-intensity background noise such as heavy equipment operating.

The final core is the "ocean quiet" core. This third core completely blocks out ambient noise to create a silent zone, making it perfect for use while you sleep to create a truly peaceful environment.

Total Isolation

Quiet Buds Review

With the ocean's quiet core, you can completely cut yourself off from constant sounds that bombard us throughout the day. More than just giving you some space to breathe, this total isolation has a number of health benefits!

The quiet buds allow total removal of sound from your environment so that you can reclaim just one minute or more throughout the day—no matter where it is that you are currently at work.


Variable Sizing

With small, medium, and large earbud tips, you can adjust the size of Quiet Buds until they are comfortable in your ears. One common complaint with standard earplugs is that after extended use, it leaves a sore feeling inside the shell of my ear. This isn't an issue when using QuietBuds because there are more options for personalization.


The most important part is to understand the main purpose of using noise-canceling headphones or earbuds since both are more effective in particular circumstances.

If you prioritize sound quality and noise cancellation, choose noise-canceling headphones as they work well with noisy environments. If you don't prioritize those features and instead need active isolation from ambient noises, then go with earplugs have portability advantage over bulky cans, which can be distracting during workouts at gyms, etc..

If you’re looking for a way to limit the damage done by excessive noise and still find yourself in control of your daily life, QuietBuds allow you to take back some of that control. The swappable cores help customize how much sound enters your ear depending on what's most important at any given time while allowing conversation or local sounds through clearly when necessary. 

Because they're so small and simple, these buds are perfect for pretty much every situation which makes them ideal!

Written by Carl Browning

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top