Do Not Disturb | The Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones


Good noise-cancelling headphones don’t come cheaply but they’re priceless if you want much-needed shut-eye on the plane.

With microphones in the ear cups, these high-tech marvels detect external noise – from chatter in an office to the hum of aeroplane engines – and cancel it out, making your surroundings as quiet as a Trappist monk with laryngitis… in deep space.  Noise-cancelling technology needs battery power to operate and while most headphones continue working passively if you run out of juice, there are some that don’t. For long-distance travellers, this may mean you’ll need to recharge the headphones during the flight.

Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless

OK, they’re exxy but these German-engineered headphones offer an unbeatable combination of style and audiophile-grade performance. The soft leather  ear pads let you wear them comfortably for many hours at a time and the battery has 20 hours of life in it. They’re also wireless – which means you can move about and stretch your  legs on a flight without getting tangled up in the cord.

$799.95 |  

Beats Studio Wireless

For some, the popular Beats  By Dre name alone will be  enough to sway them into the Beats Studio Wireless camp. These headphones combine Bluetooth wireless playback  with active noise cancellation  in a fashion-forward package in multiple colours. However, the battery’s only good for 12 hours  of wireless playback – and even if you use the headphones with a cable, the noise cancelling won’t work without a charge.

$479.95 | 

Sony MDR-1R Noise Cancelling MK2 Headphones

Ignore the standard-issue black trappings; these MDR-1R MK2 headphones from Sony are  a cut above the rest thanks to the outstanding noise cancellation and well-articulated sound that works a treat across music genres. They’re not as travel-friendly as some since the frame doesn’t fold for easy storage. But they come with a nifty zip-up case and the internal battery lasts 30 hours.

$569.95 |

Bose QuietComfort 25

Bose has long set the standard for great noise-reduction and cancelling headphones and these don’t stray from this fine tradition. Clamping these headphones – which come in black or white – over your ears produces an uncanny level of silence and, with a fresh AAA battery, you can take advantage of their noise cancelling for up to 35 hours. They also fold into a surprisingly compact package.  

$399 | 

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