Ambient Sound

What is Ambient Sound in Headphones? [Noise Canceling]

What is ambient sound in headphones? That’s what this guide is all about. We have discussed all the essential aspect of this concept to the detail. Keep reading to find out….

Ambient sound in music and entertainment refers to any surrounding or background noise you hear when listening to an audio. Innovation in headphones have incorporated the concept of ambient sound in order to ensure that users are in touch with their environment while at the same time enjoying immersive audio experience on their headphones. That way, you stay safe on the road or just keep conversations going.

Simply put, ambient sound headphones strike a balance between everyday sounds in your surrounding and the music coming out of your headphones. You get to be in touch with both worlds all at the same time.

The Ambient Sound Mode in Headphones

The Ambient Sound Mode in Headphones

Ambient sound mode is a high-tech feature in modern headphones that uses microphones to record and amplify the sounds from your environment, then plays them back into your ears via the headphones. This innovative mode lets external sounds pass through, blending seamlessly with your audio playback.

You can turn this feature on or off on your headphones or earbuds. The concept makes it easier to listen to your favorite music, podcasts or even make and receive calls without having to disengage your headphones.

Benefits of Ambient Sound Mode in Headphones

The inconvenience of removing your headphones each time you want to hear your surroundings is a common frustration for many music lovers. This is where the ambient sound mode comes to the rescue. An excellent ambient sound mode:

  • Offers enhanced safety: You can walk in the streets, do a morning run, or even commute through urban areas while listening to your favourite audio without compromising your safety! The ambient sound mode ensures you remain watchful of any hazard while on the streets, like approaching vehicles, sirens or any other unexpected noise. This safety feature keeps you connected to the real world while enjoying your audio content.
  • Reinforces or establishes the mood: Imagine the soothing sound of rainfall while your favorite music plays gently through your headphones! Such an environment can uplift your spirits and create a harmonious blend of audio and surroundings.
  • Enjoy a seamless transition between your audio and external environment: You can engage in conversations or catch an essential announcement without removing your headphones. This is a valuable feature, especially if you love listening to music or podcasts while travelling. Maintain your environmental awareness without missing a beat of your favourite music.

Downsides of Ambient Sound Mode

Even though the Ambient Sound Mode is designed to enhance your listening experience, it has some potential drawbacks;

  • It can lead to poor audio quality: Listening to your audio content with the ambient sound mode can compromise the quality. The audio quality you would get on headphones with noise cancellation feature differs from audio playing through ambient sound headphones. Ambient sound can draw your attention away from your audio content.
  • Battery drain: Your headphones’ battery consumption will increase when the ambient sound mode is on, which reduces your headphone’s battery usage time.

Ambient Sound Mode vs. Active Noise Canceling Headphones

Ambient Sound Mode vs. Active Noise Canceling

The critical difference between Ambient Sound Mode and Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) headphones is their approach to managing external sounds.

While the ambient sound mode amplifies ambient noise, active noise canceling cancels ambient noise. The two types of headphones can be used in different scenarios;

i). Ambient sound mode headphones are ideal when you want to listen to audio content, hear what’s happening around you, and still talk to people. The perfect situations for ambient sound mode headphones include;

  • When listening to audio content at work and still wanting to participate in discussions around you without taking the headphones off
  • When you have a toddler at home, it necessitates your attention while working on some audio files or an important virtual meeting.

ii). Active noise cancelling (ANC) is a perfect choice to eliminate surrounding noise and focus on your work or listen to your audio content. The ANC technology will suppress any background noise by a considerable amount, allowing you to be fully immersed in your audio-listening experience. Consider using Active Voice Canceling headphones;

  • During air travel: A good ANC headphone is a game-changer during flights, especially on a noisy flight. They will efficaciously cancel out the constant hum of the engine and allow you to enjoy your entertainment system on the air or even catch a nap.
  • When working from home or office: ANC headphones will effectively suppress noise from your neighborhood or office colleagues when you’re in a virtual meeting.

So, should ambient sound be on or off?

Turn on the ambient sound mode on your headphones if you want to hear the surrounding noise. Otherwise, you can turn on the noise cancelling feature on your headphones if you want to listen to your audio content without any distractions from surrounding noise.

Best Headphones with Ambient Sound Mode

Even though we need to eliminate all the noise from the world when listening to audio content, there are several reasons why you should stay connected to your environment. Here are our top three best headphones with Ambient Sound technology;

#1: Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

The 250 ohms’ headphones by Beyerdynamic (KG) are for professional music streaming lovers keen on their surroundings. These ambient sound technology-enabled headphones come in two color options: grey and black.

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro headphones are of great quality and cost-effective. However, these headphones are not Bluetooth-enabled!The buying price is approximately $139.49.

#2: Philips audio Philips SHP9500

Philips audio Philips SHP9500

Branded as one of the most cost-effective ambient sound headphones, Philips audio Philips SHP9500 headphones are super comfortable and made for long-term usage. The headphones are compact and portable and come with a gold-plated connector, explaining why it boasts some of the most durable sensors.

On the lower side, Philips Audio and Philips SHP9500 are not Bluetooth enabled.

The average price is $74.99.

#3: Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM4

Commonly available in two different colors, black and silver, the Sony WH-1000XM4 can be operated via a headphone application. This model has dual noise and cancellation technology, touch sensor controls, and a wide Bluetooth connectivity range.

The voice pickup will, however, not work if a cable is connected.

Sony WH-1000XM4 costs about $189.99.


Ambient sound is any noise that comes from the background. With ambient sound headphones, you can be in touch with what is happening around you while enjoying the audio content playing through your headphones. However, ensure the surrounding noise doesn’t become destructive when you need to concentrate fully!

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