Noise Cancelling Earbuds

Even those small earbuds can be very protective

Anyone who travels a lot, works in noisy surroundings or wants to have peace and quiet in the bus, train or plane can hardly avoid headphones with active noise suppression. In the best case, they dampen ambient noise just as effectively as earplugs and reproduce music well even when it is not fully turned up. Large over-ear models that enclose the ear are the most effective, but they are usually bulky and take up a lot of space. But it's also much more compact: has tested four in-ear headphones with active noise reduction.

Below we look at 14 current models that are among the best-selling. Then we show you in our guidebook what you need to pay special attention to with headphones. We then briefly summarize the whole thing in the most important purchase criteria. Last but not least, we present the latest headphone tests by Stiftung Warentest and Íko Test. We also look at special tests conducted by SZ and the technology magazine Connect. Sit back and relax, put on your headphones, start your favourite music and you can start with our big headphone test or comparison.

The anti-sound technology, which effectively eliminates the noise of the surroundings, is the same for the small earplugs as it is for the large models. In technical jargon it is usually called "Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)" or "Active Noise Reduction (ANR)". Microphones pick up the sound in the environment, a processor processes the signal and reproduces the oscillation slightly shifted. The result is a "counter-noise" that cancels out ambient noise. In the over-ear models, the processor is located in the headphones themselves; in the small in-ear models, it is located in a small housing on the headphone cable.

Bose does it best

The Bose Quiet Comfort (QC) 20 offers the best noise suppression. They come in a small textile transport bag and with soft silicone plugs specially adapted for a good hold, which keep out some noise even when switched off. When the noise reduction is switched on, they almost completely block out even ambient noises, even conversations only reach the ear quietly - an almost unnatural but pleasant silence is created.