The best noise-cancelling earbuds in 2022

The best noise-cancelling earbuds bring a useful reduction in outside noise in a pair of headphones that can easily fit in your pocket. Functionally, active noise cancellation (ANC) works in the same way on earbuds to how it does on full size over-ear headphones. Both styles employ built-in microphones to detect the level of external ambient noise around the wearer, and an identical audio signal of the surrounding noise is inverted and played back to the listener through the headphones. Listeners aren’t aware of this of course, as the inverted (or out of phase) signal effectively reduces or ‘cancels out’ the noise of the surroundings for the headphone wearer, effectively removing the external sound, which results in total silence, or at least a significant reduction in the level of intrusive sounds.

As with some over-ear headphones, the benefit from forming a complete seal around your ear, passively blocking out even more noise from your surroundings. But ANC earbuds can produce a similar effect by sealing your ear canal, minimizing the amount of external noise that can reach your ears and allowing you to enjoy your music and podcast without getting distracted by the world outside. 

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