If you’re looking for headphones that let you hear your surroundings, many options are available. It’s important to be able to hear what’s going on around you when using headphones and not just sit in a bubble of your sound.
Why is it important? Well, it could help with safety. You might want to know if someone is approaching from behind or coming up from the side so that you can move out of the way. In this article, we will explore why hearing ambient sounds is an essential part of using headphones and some disadvantages and benefits of doing so.
Why are noise-canceling headphones so popular?
Well, that’s because they block out ambient noise so that you can hear only the sound coming from your music device. If you want to focus on your work or study, noise-canceling headphones are fabulous.
If you’re listening to music in noisy environments, noise-canceling headphones are great too. If you have never tested noise-canceling headphones, you might be surprised at how loud the ambient noise is that they block out.
Why would you want to hear ambient sounds, then?
Blocking out background noises is beneficial in some cases, but there are also disadvantages to this approach. Listening to your environment gives you a sense of awareness. It allows for situational awareness, which helps us stay safe by allowing us time to react if something happens around us.
Ambient sound headphones allow you to listen more carefully and even actually hear certain things better than with regular headphones or earbuds.
A few examples where you want to hear your surroundings are while jogging, biking, at the gym, or in crowded places. Most headphones block ambient sound entirely, but there are some exceptions to this rule that ensure you hear what’s happening around you!
Another example is when you’re listening to something, but someone is talking to you. Traditional headphones can be annoying or rude if you don’t take them off, but with ambient sound-capable ones, the person speaking will know that you are listening, and they’ll try not to disturb your music while still being able to talk!
The most important thing about these types of headphones is allowing outside noise in without removing the quality of what’s happening inside.
Noise-canceling vs. ambient sound headphones
Noise-canceling technology uses microphones on each ear cup to sense outside noise; then they create inverse waves which cancel out the unwanted sounds – pretty cool, right? This feature is excellent for blocking background noises when you want to focus, but there’s a downside…
…noise-canceling headphones don’t allow you to hear your surroundings, which can be dangerous.
That is where ambient sound headphones come in! These headphones let you listen to music and hear what’s going on around you without having any microphones built into the unit itself. But there are other alternatives, so let’s review each one and explain how it works.
Types of headphones that let you hear your surroundings
Different types of headphones let you hear your surroundings.
Open-back headphones allow airflow through the headphone, which helps prevent excessive heat and moisture buildup around your ear and lets ambient sounds in too! Open back headphones are popular among some gamers. They provide a more natural listening experience by recreating an open environment with a sound that feels more balanced, clear, and realistic.
The downside to these headphones is that they’re not good for blocking outside noise – especially if you want to listen to higher volumes since this can lead to leaking, which means everyone will be able to hear what’s happening inside. Additionally, most people find them uncomfortable or heavy after wearing them for long periods because air needs somewhere to escape from, so the pressure increases against the head, which can become uncomfortable.
A few popular open-back headphones are the Philips SHP9600:
And the Sennheiser HD 599 SE:
Even the Audio Technica ATH AD700X headphones are a great choice from one of the best brands:
Open ear headphones
Another type of headphones that lets you hear your surroundings are open-ear headphones. These types of earbuds don’t block or cover your ears at all – they sit on top of them! They also don’t have ear cups that seal around your ears, which means sound can escape and ambient noise can come in easily. If you prefer earbuds instead of headphones, this is your best choice.
They’re typically made from lightweight materials such as plastic, metal, or wood for a more natural feel against the skin. However, you won’t get much passive noise-cancellation with these headphones since their open structure doesn’t block outside sounds very well.
Open-ear headphones are popular amongst musicians or people who want to be able to hear what’s going on around them while still being aware of their surroundings, such as joggers, people who do outdoor work, and so on.
Many open-ear headphones work with bone conduction technology. This feature uses sound vibration to “transfer” audio through your cheekbones to create an immersive listening experience. It’s great for people who want to hear what’s going on around them but still enjoy music or audiobooks!
Some designs even look like glasses or sunglasses, which is pretty cool! Some of the most popular open-ear headphones are the Bose Sports Open Earbuds.
Or, if you’re looking for something casual, try the Amazon Echo Frames (2nd gen).
Headphones with ambient sound technology
Other types of headphones let you hear your surroundings, such as those with ambient sound technology built in. These units have microphones so they can pick up outside noise levels and adjust accordingly, but instead of blocking sounds as it happens with noise-canceling headphones, ambient sound technology plays it back to you through the headphones so you can hear everything around you as if they weren’t even there.
Similar to the technology found on those audio devices for people who can’t hear well, ambient sound technology serves a similar purpose but is made for listening to music.
In our opinion, these types of headphones are better for people who want to be able to listen and interact with their surroundings without having any music or audiobooks playing in the background at all times. This feature is excellent for runners, cyclists, and construction workers on a break – basically, anyone who needs to know what’s happening around them while listening to music!
The Sony WH-1000XM4 is the industry leader in noise cancelation but also has ambient sound mode. You can’t go wrong with them:
A more affordable option is the Galaxy Buds Pro:
Apple AirPods Pro with transparency mode
In addition to open-ear headphones and ambient sound technology, some wireless earbuds also emulate this type of experience. The AirPods Pro from Apple comes with a new transparency mode for the company’s version of ambient sound technology – it lets you hear your surroundings even while using them wirelessly!
It works by using the microphone on one of the buds and processing sounds through an algorithm so they can be heard clearly in real time. It doesn’t work every single time, but when it does process things correctly, people say they’re very impressed with its accuracy and ability to pick up voices across large spaces such as those found at airports or train stations where lots are going on!
The only drawback of the AirPods Pro comes in its design. If they fit you well, they’re pretty comfortable and fit nicely in the ear, but if they don’t, you may experience some discomfort after using them for a while, or they’ll fall out of your ears, which sucks.
They’re worth checking out if you need earbuds that let you hear your surroundings. We think the transparency mode is pretty cool and makes these headphones perfect for runners or cyclists who want to be aware of their environment while listening to music simultaneously!
Here are the AirPods Pro available at Amazon. You can get a renewed pair now for under $170:
Wrapping it up – Headphones that let you hear your surroundings are a good thing
There you have it – headphones that let you hear your surroundings in all their different types!
Open-ear headphones are great for people who want to be able to interact with the environment around them, ambient sound technology is perfect for music lovers who need to know what’s going on around them but don’t want silence when listening, and lastly, there are wireless earbuds like Apple AirPods Pro which emulate this type of experience. Pick one that suits your needs best, and enjoy hearing everything around you, even while using headphones!