help me headphone
January 1, 2019 5:37 PM   Subscribe

Recommendations sought for noise-cancelling headphones or earbuds that are good at blocking noise while I sleep.

I prefer them to cost $200 and under and preferably not be Bose, though at my pricepoint Bose is unlikely anyway. What I especially need is that, while a white noise app plays and I (attempt to) sleep, they block these sorts of sounds:

- talking in an adjacent room, door closed, when people are using normal speaking voices
- doors closing (not slamming)
- a large, hound-type dog barking
- music being played at a reasonable volume
- cooking and dish clinking sounds

The house I live in has zero carpeting which is nice for cleaning but less nice for noise. Sounds carry oddly into my bedroom - though three walls separate me from the barking dog, it still seems like he is barking right in my ear.

I am aware that no headphones will really block all of these sounds, especially bass. I am therefore seeking the best product to minimize them for the price described. I find Askme very helpful for suggesting products or websites I would never have come across on my own.

(I already use Mac's silicone earplugs, take magnesium, try not to drink caffeine and alcohol too late at night, etc.)
posted by Armed Only With Hubris to Technology (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I just bought a set of Shure SE 315 earbuds in November. I use the foam earpieces & they sound fantastic & do a pretty good job of blocking outside noises. I fall asleep with them in my ears most nights. The wire is braided & long enough to reach my iPod on my nightstand & i’m a satisfied customer.

With music playing at a reasonable volume last night, they blocked out the fireworks.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:47 PM on January 1

The Wirecutter noise cancelling headphones budget pick is about $100. The ear buds budget pick is cheaper still. The wirecutter recommendations are usually very good.

However I highly recommend the Bose headphones (which I know you're not really interested in). I have been in hospital since 31st December and they've provided me so much relief from my very noisy surrounding. To me, they are worth every cent.
posted by poxandplague at 7:51 PM on January 1

Whoops: link to noise cancelling earbuds here
posted by poxandplague at 8:57 PM on January 1

The Shure in-ear phones mentioned by Devils Rancher represent the best idea: physically block the sound.

Ignore noise canceling earphones, and focus on the in-ear phones that provide a great seal. This will be the absolute best strategy to block the various types of noise you mentioned.

One search term that might help is: In-ear Monitors.
posted by reeddavid at 12:40 AM on January 2

They're the wrong brand and over your budget but have you heard of Bose's Sleepbuds? $249 for pretty much exactly what you want.
posted by ZipRibbons at 2:55 AM on January 2

To sleep in similar circumstances I use earplugs and a white noise machine.

My preferred earplugs are Peltor Sport Tri-Flange Corded Reusable Earplugs, currently about $6 for three pairs. They seal well and sit fairly flush with my head, so side-sleeping is comfortable. They are washable and each pair lasts several weeks.

The sound machine is an Adaptive Sound Technologies LectroFan. It's small, costs $50, and gets loud.

YMMV but this combo is so effective for me that I have concerns about sleeping through a smoke alarm.
posted by a moisturizing whip at 7:26 AM on January 2

Etymontic makes some surprisingly good passive "ear-plug" style cans that sound really nice and work much better than any active noise-cancelling option I've tried. The cheapish MK ones are surprisingly good.

If you're a side-sleeper, they do stick out a bit, which may require some complicated pillow or elbow arranging.
posted by eotvos at 8:59 AM on January 2

I'm also a week sleeper with no carpets. I have an assortment of urban and apartment sounds that sometimes need blocking out. I've tried a bunch of things, including sleep earbuds that played delta rhythms white nose, which it's supposed to be good for calming. I loved them but the battery could not be relied on to last the night and I ended up returning. The best thing I've found is the Lectrofan someone else already mentioned.

I'd prefer to sleep in absolute silence but I was surprised how well I could sleep even with the white noise turned up high enough to blend out neighborhood music, banging pipes, etc. I travel with it now. It's also much cheaper than the ear buds.
posted by Salamandrous at 5:36 PM on January 3

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