Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds for Sleeping

Sharing a bed with someone who snores impacts more than just the snorer. As their bed partner, you’re subject to the noise interrupting your sleep. With a disrupted sleep cycle you may experience side effects during the day such as a reduced attention span, irritability, and sleepiness when you need to focus clearly on doing other things. Hopefully, your snoring bed partner is seeking remedies for their snoring, but in the meantime, you don’t have to keep listening.Rather than move to another bedroom to block out the sounds of snoring, consider another option. Noise cancelling earbuds can give you that restful night’s sleep you’ve been lacking. Regardless of how much your bed partner snores, or even what other sounds interrupt the night, this option helps you sleep soundly right through them. earbuds also fit comfortably into your ear, allowing you to sleep in whatever position is natural for you without losing comfort.

Women sleeping

The sound of snoring on the spectrum

Interestingly enough, as loud as snoring may feel in the moment, on the sound frequency spectrum, it isn’t that high. The pitch of snoring is actually within the low-frequency range. Traditional earbuds, that you’d wear to listen to music or talk on your phone work best to block out high-frequency sound, but struggle when it comes to quieting low-frequency noises. They’ll lessen the sound of people talking in a crowded space or the ambient noise of a plane engine but won’t block out low-frequency snoring sounds. This is why you should exchange your everyday earbuds for specific noise cancelling devices for sleeping when it comes to stopping the sounds of snoring from interrupting your sleep.

Two earbud options for a quieter night’s sleep

There are two primary types of earbuds that attack unwanted noise -- masking and active noise reduction (ANR.) Masking earbuds drown out unwanted noise by replacing it with an alternative sound. ANR earbuds work to neutralize sound at certain decibels so you can’t hear them. Both can help give you a quieter night’s sleep although they work in different ways.

Masking earbuds

Masking earbuds replace sounds you don’t want to hear with music, acoustic noise, or pre-loaded soothing sounds. They’re not technically sound cancellation devices. What plays through this type of device specifically blocks noise within a common range of unwanted sounds like snoring because you’re still hearing something, although not the offensive sound. The methodology behind masking is that if the replacement sound is just slightly louder than the disturbing sound, your inner ear and brain stops hearing the disruptive noise. However, you’re still listening to something as you sleep. If you’re looking for a more silent night, masking earbuds may not work for you. Although the sounds are softer and not as harsh, it may be just enough noise to prevent you from sleeping comfortably through the night. Additionally, if the low-frequency noise you’re trying to mask is on the louder side, you can end up hearing both the masking sound and the snoring you’re trying to cover up. This is because masking only works when it’s louder than the sound it’s covering. The louder the snoring, the louder your earbuds have to get in order to mask it. A noisy night, whether filled with ambient sound or snoring, is still a loud night.

Active noise cancelling

Active noise cancelling (ANC) or active noise reduction earbuds (ANR) work a little differently. They actually cancel out unwanted sounds. A microphone within the device samples the unwanted sound and a speaker then plays into your ear with a phase-shifted sound. This cancels out what you don’t want to hear. Your earbuds actually take in the disturbing sound waves and flatten them out by projecting a frequency that’s the exact opposite. Noise is effectively cancelled out rather than covered up. This method can eliminate noises across the whole audible spectrum but works especially well at low frequencies so the risk of snores seeping through is almost non-existent.

How to pick the right earbuds for you

Cancelling out the unwanted noises that invade your sleep is the best way to guarantee you won’t be woken up to the unpleasant sounds of snoring during the night. It also allows you to have a quieter night’s sleep since you’re not muting unpleasant sounds with other noise. While both masking and ANC earbuds fit comfortably into your ear to address the unpleasant sounds you hear while sleeping, only one type combats the entire spectrum of sound, significantly drowning out environmental noises that disturb your sleep.