If you have been on the hunt for some new headphones, you may have heard about noise-cancelling headphones and be wondering what all the fuss is about. What do they do, how will they affect your listening, and what on Earth is the difference between active noise cancelling and passive noise cancelling?

Headphones that are noise cancelling are able to block around 70 percent of ambient noise, which means that you will be able to hear your music much better even at a lower volume. They do this via a speaker that produces a signal to cancel noise with a sound wave that mimics that of the ambient wave, but is about 180 degrees out.

Passive noise-cancelling headphones are ones that have been designed specifically to make the most of noise filtering qualities, with both the design of the headphones and the materials used in their manufacture reducing ambient noise and being very efficient at blocking high-frequency sound waves.