Great Noise Cancelling Headphones for Comfy Air Travel

Droning airplane engines can cause real-deal noise fatigue. A pair of noise-cancelling headphones can help.

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So you're gearing up for a long flight for a vacation or work trip, and you start reading up on all the terrible things that engine noise can do to you. Noise fatigue from droning airplane engines in particular can leave you feeling awful after even a short flight, but what can be done to combat this? The answer is a good pair of noise-cancelling (or isolating) headphones.

Because it's very hard to tell from the packaging what information is salient and what's snake oil, we've dug through our archives to highlight three standout headphones for you to consider when you're about to travel. All three are notable for noise reduction, and should see regular use among frequent flyers.

The Tried, The True: Bose QuietComfort 15.


While the audio quality isn't the best, the noise cancelling ability is. Keep in mind that you can't turn the noise cancelling off to save power, so you'll need a healthy supply of batteries for your trip. Still, if you're looking to make the world around you melt away, it's hard to top the Bose QuietComfort 15 set. These can be found for roughly $300.

Less Flashy, Better Audio: Sennheiser PXC 450


If audio quality is a higher priority for you, there's another set of headphones you can grab without sacrificing much of the options the Bose cans give you. The Sennheiser PXC 450 headphones are also a solid choice if you have trouble finding headphones to fit your copious amount of cranium. While they only have about a 90-95% reduction in outside noise, this should be enough to stave off noise fatigue in most environments. These can be had for around $350 online.

Affordable and Portable: Creative In-ear3


If you're looking for portability, the Creative In-Ear3 headphones are compact, and block out an impressive amount of noise simply by sealing your ear canal with soft foam. If you're on a budget, these headphones are far more affordable, and offer the best audio quality of the bunch—all for just about $100. They're less durable than the other two headphones listed above, but the cable management system and rigid case helps protect your investment during travel.

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