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Noise Cancelling Headphones Ratings – When Are They Too Good?

by Ann R. Coughlin

Noise cancelling headphones can save your hearing, by allowing you to play your music more quietly. However, there are times when you want to be able to hear surrounding sounds. Think about what would happen in the following situations if you were using phones with maximum noise cancelling headphones ratings.

  • You don’t hear the pilot saying “Fasten your seatbelt, we are about to land in the sea.”
  • You don’t hear your home smoke alarm going off.
  • You’re driving a car, and you don’t listen to the fire engine driving through the red lights at you.
  • You don’t hear your boss speaking to you.
  • You don’t hear the baby crying.

Sometimes safety requirements are conflicting. If you are working in a noisy machine shop, you’ll get industrial deafness unless you wear something with good noise cancelling headphones ratings, but you want to be able to hear the screech when something jams or someone shouts a warning at you. In that case, noise reduction headphones with only 80% noise cancelling would be better than something with total noise reduction.

What about motorcycle intercoms? You obviously need noise reduction to talk with your passenger, but a motorcyclist has little protection, so it’s vital to hear any warning sounds. Get real noise cancelling headphones ratings.

Headphones Ratings

Panasonic RP-HC55E-5 noise cancelling earbuds got the best ratings for noise cancelling earbuds recently with 80% noise cancelling score. The only complaint is that you can’t use them without the noise cancelling switched on (in quiet surroundings) and no battery is provided, so you’d better get a supply of batteries before your trip.

80% of the best noise cancelling headphones shouldn’t cause problems by excluding alarms etc.

If you like Bose noise reduction headphones you’ll be delighted that the Bose® QuietComfort® 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling® Headphones NEWEST MODEL had the best noise cancelling headphones ratings recently. They had 92% reduction, which might be too much for emergencies. It’s difficult to clean the soft parts of the headphones, and they don’t work at all when switched off or the battery is flat.

The Panasonic RP-HC500 Noise-Canceling Headphones had only 84% noise reduction which should be OK for safety, and as far as passive noise cancelling headphones ratings are concerned, they are the best. Unfortunately, they don’t sound as good as the Bose noise cancelling headphones do. The passive ratings mean that the headphones deaden outside sounds with all the padding, even when the noise cancelling is switched off or the battery is flat which is good. Batteries are not supplied but last for more than 50 hours, which should be enough for any long trip.

Noise cancelling headphones ratings also considered comfort. Sennheiser PXC 450 NoiseGard Active Noise-Canceling Headphones reduced noise by 76% which is adequate, but it weighs more than half a pound (300g) which might be a problem.

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