Is it Safe Sleeping with Noise Canceling Headphones?

sleeping with noise canceling headphones

Are you contemplating sleeping with noise canceling headphones? Yeah, all light sleepers do that at some point. There are various benefits and limitations you should know before you buy a pair.

Firstly, I will address the elephant in the room. How will you sleep on your sides? Yes, this totally is out of the question, if you can sleep like sleeping beauty constantly on your back, then those headphones are a good purchase for you. Before we get into more logic, let’s explore some facts and information.   

What are Noise-Canceling Headphones?

Noise-canceling headphones are advanced technology headsets that reduce or eliminate unwanted ambient sounds from the surrounding environment.

noise canceling headphone

These headphones work by employing microphones and special circuitry to analyze the external noise and generate an inverse sound wave that effectively cancels out the incoming noise. There are two primary types of noise-canceling headphones:

Passive Noise-Canceling

These headphones provide noise isolation by physically blocking external sounds. They are designed with thick ear cups that create a seal around your ears, preventing ambient noise from reaching your ears. When sleeping with noise canceling headphones, passive noise canceling headphones are a great choice.

Active Noise-Canceling (ANC)

ANC uses built-in microphones to capture external sounds. It then creates sound waves at 180 degrees out of phase with the incoming noise. When these inverse sound waves are combined with the original noise, they cancel each other out, resulting in a peaceful listening experience.

Active noise-canceling headphones require batteries or a power source to operate their noise-canceling circuitry. They are particularly effective at reducing low-frequency sounds such as airplane engine noise, traffic rumble, or the hum of air conditioning units.

Benefits of Noise-canceling Headphones  

sleeping with noise canceling headphones

Enhanced Audio Experience

By blocking out external noise, noise-canceling headphones allow you to focus on your audio content without distractions, making it ideal for music, movies, or podcasts. You can also use OK Google to listen to songs you like using mic feature.

Reduced Fatigue

Constant exposure to loud or unwanted noise can cause listening fatigue. Noise-canceling headphones alleviate this by creating a quieter environment, allowing you to listen at lower volumes.

Improved Concentration

Whether you’re studying, working, or simply trying to concentrate, noise-canceling headphones can help by minimizing distractions from your surroundings.


Noise-canceling headphones are popular among frequent travelers as they can significantly reduce the noise on airplanes, trains, or other modes of transportation, providing a more comfortable and peaceful journey.

Is it Safe Sleeping with Noise Canceling Headphones?

sleeping aids

While it is technically possible to sleep with noise-canceling headphones, it is generally not recommended for safety reasons. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind.


Noise-canceling headphones are not specifically designed for sleeping, so they may not be as comfortable as specialized sleep headphones or earplugs. The ear cups or earbuds may cause discomfort or put pressure on your ears while lying down.

Safety Hazards

Wearing headphones while sleeping can pose safety risks. The cords or cables may get tangled around your neck, increasing the risk of strangulation or injury. Wireless noise-canceling headphones eliminate this specific concern but may still pose risks depending on their design.

Noise Isolation vs. Awareness

Noise-canceling headphones are designed to block out external sounds, which means you may not be able to hear important sounds or alarms while wearing them. This can be potentially dangerous, especially in emergency situations or if you rely on alarms to wake up.

Moreover, if a burglar enters your house, you cannot hear the sounds of intrusion. When living in a condo and there is a safety alarm, you might fail to hear it too.  

Skin Irritation

Prolonged use of headphones, especially while sleeping, may lead to skin irritation or pressure sores due to the constant contact and pressure exerted on your ears.

If you require noise reduction while sleeping, it’s safer to consider alternatives such as specialized sleep headphones or earplugs designed for comfort and safety. These options are typically designed to be less intrusive and more suitable for extended wear during sleep. Remember, it’s always essential to prioritize your safety and comfort when deciding on sleep-related accessories.

Other Conditions

With the constant use of ear plugs, the vibrations push the ear wax closer to the ear drum. That can result in ringing in the ear (tinnitus), and ear infection.

Alternates of Sleeping with Noise Canceling Headphones

sleeping with noise canceling headphones

Ear Plugs

There are various forms of earplugs that you can find over the internet. They block out significant levels of noise but also are great for hearing morning alarms. There are various hypoallergenic, reusable, and travel-friendly types.

White Noise Machine

The white noise machine is a great way to learn to hear the white noise and gradually your ears are only listening to the machine and blocking all the outside noise.

Ear Muffs

These are very convenient, easy-to-use, and cheap alternatives. Ear muffs block out reasonable noise and help you sleep.

Soundproof Windows

If you live in an extremely noisy neighborhood, you can think of in investing soundproofing your windows. It has various benefits as it blocks extreme cold and hot temperatures. Meanwhile, they block out all the outside noise without costing you auditory health.   

Parting Thoughts

Is it safe sleeping with noise canceling headphones? Well for light sleepers who cannot get any sleep because of surrounding noise, this seems like a nice deal.

Plus, you can invest in wireless, Bluetooth noise canceling headphones, or earbuds. Earbuds are considered slightly harmful as they can poke inside when you sleep on your sides.

Most people can train themselves to sleep straight on their back with the help of a pillow, with noise canceling headphones on. At the cost of disturbed sleep, with a little work, we believe sleeping with noise canceling headphones is a good option to keep your sanity.

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