4 noise-canceling headphones to help you mute the cicadas

Consumer Reports

View photo

.
A cicada sitting on foliage

Cicada(Photo: iStockphoto)

If you live somewhere between North Carolina and Connecticut, you've no doubt been bombarded with information about the Great Cicada Invasion of 2013 (a.k.a. Swarmageddon). Depending on the source, 30 billion to 1 trillion bugs are participating in a once-every-17-years mass emergence. And while they present no imminent danger, these bugs make quite a racket—up to 94 decibels, according to a Huffington Post article.




MORE AT COnsumer Reports

If you're looking for a way to muffle the buzz, consider picking up some new headphones. Models with active noise-canceling technology use electronic circuitry to eliminate or at least reduce unwanted noise; when we test noise-canceling headphones, one thing we consider is how well the headphone reduces ambient noise when the noise-cancelation feature is activated.

Also, any headphones that fit tightly over your ears or inside the ear canal will block some noise by creating a seal (called "passive" noise reduction). And over-the-ear and insert-style earphones tend to block more noise than do on-ear and earbud-style headphones.

Among noise-canceling headphones, one top scorer in noise reduction is the CR-recommended Sony MDR-NC500D ($242, Amazon.com). These home/studio-style, closed, over-the-ear phones will block some external sound as well as limit the sound that makes its way outside from the headphones. They even come with a carrying case—handy if you're making a foray into nature, where more cicadas may be found.

(See also: Eight great gadget gifts for dads and grads )

Phiaton PS210 BTNC

Phiaton PS210 BTNC

If the Sonys are a little pricey for you, the JVC HA-NCX78 ear-insert headphones also have excellent noise reduction, and they're just $42 on Amazon.com. But note that we did find they produced a sense of pressure in the opening that might be uncomfortable for some wearers.

Our top-rated headphones, Beats by Dre Beats Executive, run around $300, and have excellent sound quality‐but they aren't quite as good at noise reduction. But of course, they look cool (and we've determined they are worth the money). Not that the cicadas care.

Finally, if you just can't stand wires, we tested one set of Bluetooth earbuds, the Phiaton PS210 BTNC (shown above). They deliver very good overall sound with a neutral character, though active noise reduction was only fair. You get five pairs of earpieces of various types and sizes in the package; they'll run you around $130.

Copyright © 2006-2013 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission.

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • 'You're a disgrace': Donald Trump Jr slammed for criticising Sadiq Khan only hours after London attack

      The son of U.S. President Donald Trump has been slammed as a ‘disgrace’ after he appeared to criticise London mayor Sadiq Khan on Twitter, only hours after a terror attack at the Houses of Parliament left four people dead – including a police officer.

      Yahoo News UK
    • GOP Sen. Roberts: I ‘deeply regret’ quip about insurance coverage for mammograms

      Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., speaks at Secretary of Agriculture nominee Sonny Perdue’s confirmation hearing. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., expressed remorse Thursday for making a sarcastic comment implying that coverage for mammograms shouldn’t be a requirement for the GOP’s insurance plan. Mammograms are essential to women’s health & I never intended to indicate otherwise,” he tweeted.

      Yahoo News
    • Fox News viewers are gunning for Shep Smith. How will Fox News respond?

      With Megyn Kelly no longer on the air occasionally pushing back against President Trump's treatment of women, Fox News viewers are channeling their ire toward Shepard Smith, who anchors the news and opinion network's afternoon and breaking news coverage. "Smith's persistent fact-mongering has made him persona non grata among some parts of the Fox News faithful," says Paul Farhi at The Washington Post. Smith's past comments affirming human-influenced climate change, supporting same-sex marriage, urging reasoned calm on terrorism and disease, and defending rival network CNN from "fake news" attacks from Trump have raised hackles among some network viewers, but it was this throwing cold water on

      The Week q
    • Inside Edition
    • CEO creates ‘Snowflake Test’ to weed out job applicants

      The Silent Partner Marketing CEO Kyle Reyes on why he created the ‘Snowflake Test.’

      Fox Business Videos
    • Lioness attempts to attack tourists but leap falls way short; video

      As a vehicle carrying tourists made its way past a lion enclosure in the Serengeti Safari section of the Estrella Biopark in Montemorelos, Mexico, a lioness went into a crouching position as if stalking the visitors. Then it decided to attack, which was a horrible idea by Elsa the lioness, as footage captured by tourist Jan Adrian Diaz proves: The lioness obviously underestimated its leaping ability as it fell into the large moat that surrounds the enclosure and keeps tourists safe for instances such as these. Elsa wasn’t even close to reaching the other side of the trench. The male lion, meanwhile, remained lying in its position, no doubt unimpressed by the lioness’ antics. A park spokesperson

      GrindTV.com q
    • Apple just bought the app it once crowned 'most innovative' and made it free for everyone

      If you can't beat it, buy it. That's what Apple did on Wednesday when it acquired an app...

      Business Insider
    • Infant twin girls found dead inside apartment

      Two infant twin girls turned “purple” and died Wednesday morning in a south New Jersey apartment, according to a report. The mother of the seven-month-old babies frantically called 911 around 8 a.m. and told a dispatcher her baby twins couldn’t breathe, reports said. “My twins are purple. They’re not breathing!” the woman can be heard saying on the call, which was obtained by a local media outlet. The operator told her to try CPR, but her efforts were fruitless and she was unable to revive them, reports said. Tasia Mayweather, a family friend of the father, said he asked her for a ride to the Lindenwold apartment as the incident was unfolding but they arrived too late, the Courier-Post reported.

      New York Post q
    • Former shelter dog helps family discover lost 3-year-old girl

      A former shelter dog may have helped save the life of a 3-year-old girl. Peanut, who was adopted from the Delta Animal Shelter in Escanaba, Michigan, last April, managed to lead her new owners to a lost little girl on March 17, according to a letter the family sent to the shelter. "Peanut started going crazy at our house," her new owner said in the letter, which was shared on the shelter's Facebook page.

      Good Morning America
    • Sadiq Khan Takes Down Donald Trump Jr After Terror Attack Tweet

      London Mayor Sadiq Khan has responded to Donald Trump Jr’s harsh criticism of him following yesterday’s terror attack in Westminster – in the best possible way. Trump Jr, the President’s eldest child, sparked anger among Londoners after he used the devastating events to make a political point on Twitter. It's not clear whether Trump Jr was aware the article had no link to Wednesday's attack outside the Houses of Parliament.

      Refinery 29 UK
    • Man adopts 18-year-old dog: ‘I couldn't let her spend 1 more night in the shelter’

      At the age of 18, at the end of February, Julep the dog found herself in an animal shelter instead of at home. Julep's person — who'd loved her very much, for a very long time — had just died. Family was unable to take care of the white-faced dog. Julep was one of the oldest, "if not the oldest," dog who'd ever come through, Alix John Tolley, spokesperson for Washington, D.C.'s Humane Rescue Alliance, said in an email. "She’s lived a long and happy life." The shelter put out word about Julep on Facebook. They said Julep was looking for "a fresh start," and "doesn't need much, just a couch to sleep on and a human to love." The message reached Wayne Lerch, who was heartbroken because his beloved

      TODAY.com q
    • A deleted text message from vengeful gangster may get Aaron Hernandez off hook for double murder

      The text message was sent way back on July 5, 2013. Perhaps because its sender, Alexander Bradley, realized it held unwanted power, like the capability of impacting his immunity deal in an Aaron Hernandez double murder trial, let alone rocking the entire case altogether. In a plea deal, Bradley, however, gave authorities full access to his phone, including deleted and otherwise privileged communication with his lawyer.

      Yahoo Sports
    • Debbie Reynolds' son says she prepared him for her death

      Todd Fisher says his mother, Debbie Reynolds, set him up "for her leaving the planet" the day his sister and Reynolds' daughter, Carrie Fisher, died in December

      ABC News q
    • Teen Mom 2: Javi Marroquin finally confesses how he learnt about ex Kailyn Lowry's pregnancy

      Reality TV couple Javi Marroquin and Kailyn Lowry never fail to surprise their fans – whether it is their shocking divorce news or the recent pregnancy announcement. The Teen Mom 2 star Javi has now made a confession about his ex's baby news and revealed how he got to know that Kailyn was expecting. "Lincoln is actually the one who told me [Kailyn] was having a baby," the 24-year-old reality TV star told E! News.

      International Business Times
    • Fan wearing Nolan Ryan jersey has no idea he’s two feet from Nolan Ryan

      You have to be a really dedicated Astros fan to show up to a minor league spring training game.

      Sports Illustrated
    • Lawrence: Trump, Ryan, Nunes in Over Their Heads

      House Intel Chair Devin Nunes broke tradition and precedent by delivering news to the president that some Trump transition messages were collected by U.S. intel. Democrats and Republicans called Nunes’ actions partisan and damaging.

      Yahoo View
    • 28 Sweet Strawberry Desserts You Can't Resist (29 photos)

      Folded into cakes , churned into ice cream, or sprinkled on top—we've got plenty of ways for you to eat ALL the strawberries this season. Want more strawberry sweets? Try out 50 amazing shortcakes . From Delish

      Delish
    • Trump Jr. Called a 'Disgrace' for Criticizing London Mayor

      London (AP) -- Donald Trump Jr. is facing criticism for tweeting in the hours after Wednesday's London attack a months-old comment from London Mayor Sadiq Khan that terror attacks are part of living in ...

      Bloomberg
    • Texas Teacher, 27, Accused of Improper Relationship with 17-Year-Old Male Student

      Texas Teacher Allegedly Had Improper Relationship with Student

      People