Think all noise cancelling headphones are alike? Do you think there’s basically just one use for head phones? Incorrect! There are many, many uses for head phones and – more specifically – for noise canceling headphones. Once you start using and wearing them, you’ll find you won’t want to leave home without them. Especially the small and compact earphone style.

There are basically two different types to choose from…active and passive.

Active uses electronic circuitry to sense the incoming sounds to lower the amount you hear. These are the type that are over the ears. One of their not so goods is they require batteries to operate. Passive uses no electricity or batteries and are the type that go in the ear canals to block outside sounds….earphones, and to a lesser degree the type that come with the Ipod…earbuds.

1. Use these while you’re traveling. Listen to music at a low volume and the circuitry in the headphone will remove any background sound. That way, if you need to have some quiet or to get a good sleep, this is the ideal way to do it. They are ideal for the business traveler who wants a little quiet on a loud airplane (piercing voice?) or wants to get a fantastic night sleep in a hotel (why do they always seem to put YOU beside the party room?).

2. Use when you have to listen to training and seminars at work when you want the world to yourself, or the ringing phones or the sound of the fax machine.

3. Use when you want to hear music or watch movies and you don’t want to subject others to your entertainment while at the same time you don’t want to have to hear other sounds, which will diminish the potential of your entertainment.

4. Use when you want to play video or computer games and you want to truly become a part of the experience. A quality set of noise cancelling headphones will do just that. Many sporting events become better when the sound is made to be an integral part of the game. This occurs when you forget that you’re in a busy college dorm or a loud apartment building and you actually feel that you are in the race car or the dungeon or the football game (or wherever else your game happens to take place.

5. They are also great if you are a passenger in a car on a long trip and have trouble sleeping in the car. The head phones will cancel out the road noise, the rustling of the map, the sound of the car radio, etc. and you’ll be able to sleep peacefully.

6. Use when your child is learning to play an instrument. If they are learning an acoustic instrument, like guitar, bass, or keyboards, you can give them these headphones so they don’t hear other noises (and so no one else can hear them!). You’ll have a happy son or daughter with a good musical ear and you’ll also have peace and quiet in your house!

7. So, check out the main manufactuers: Shure, Etymotic Research, Ultimate Ears, Sennheiser, Bose and others. Remember, to make a great gift for everyone and particularly to make a great gift for the person who has everything, these are ideal. For that hard to buy for person on your list this year, give them a pair of noise cancelling headphones. And if they listen to music you don’t like, you can consider it a gift to yourself, too!