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Last Updated on March 8, 2024 by Rifthy

Have you ever been in a situation where you want to enjoy your favorite tunes, but you also don’t want to disturb others around you? Maybe you’re in a library, a coffee shop, or a crowded bus. You put on your headphones, crank up the volume, and hope for the best.

But then you notice the annoyed glances from your neighbors. They can hear every beat, every lyric, every guitar solo. You feel embarrassed and guilty. You turn down the music, but then you can barely hear it yourself. You wonder if there’s a better way?

Well, there is! In this article, I’m going to show you the best headphones that don’t leak sound.

These are headphones that have excellent noise isolation, sound quality, and comfort. They will let you enjoy your music without bothering anyone else. And they won’t break the bank either.

Sounds too good to be true? Read on and find out for yourself!

Best Headphones that Don’t Leak Sound

Sony WH-1000XM5

Best Premium Pick

Sennheiser HD 450BT

Most Outstanding

Sennheiser HD 450BT – Most Outstanding

  • Long-lasting: Purchased over a year and still the condition is same and good.
  • Controls: The buttons on the headphones each have a distinct size, feel, and placement
  • App: Fortunately, Sennheiser does a wonderful job of maintaining and frequently updating the smartphone app. .
  • Good product with affordable price.
  • The Battery life slowly degrades as days pass, and the usage hour doesn’t last 30 hours as usual.
  • The ear cushions may have been improved and made somewhat bigger to accommodate the ear cups. The Ear Cups appear to not be suitable for hot geographic regions.
  • Some recordings feel incomplete due to a lack of general presence in the midrange.

Key Features

  • Type of Headphone: Over-ear
  • Connectivity: Wireless
  • Enclosure: Closed-Back
  • Charging time: Approximately 2 hours
  • Battery: 30 hours
  • Driver Type: Dynamic
  • Driver Size: 32 mm.
  • Noise Reduction: Active

In my recent experience buying a headphone that does not leak any sound, the Sennheiser HD 450BT maintains true to its tradition by providing all of the essentials to a teenager.

Their closed-back design and synthetic leather paddings cover the ears gently, preventing sound from entering or exiting. They are also wireless, so they’re easy to transport! The HD 450 BT can generate balanced audio that will appeal to practically any musical style.

Although the design has an effect on the bass, these headphones also include the Smart Control app, which allows me to adjust the EQ settings, which I found incredible to use.

Furthermore, their lengthy battery life supports their excellent audio performance. I feel Sennheiser HD 450BT headphones are superb all around and have no audible sound leakage. But I was just aware that the headphone’s sound quality is superior to that of the built-in microphone.

Because when on calls, the mic noise reduction is subpar, and I was to repeat several times. However, they are all excellent buys, given their cost and quality.


After all, these Sennheiser HD 450BT headphones are recommended for teenagers and ones who find it comfortable to use headphones in public. These are affordable headphones without compromising on sound quality or convenience features.

Sony WH-1000XM5 – Best Noise Cancellation 

Sony WH-1000XM5
Premium Choice
Sony WH-1000XM5
  • better call quality.
  • It has ambient sound control and built-in Alexa
  • has wearing detection
  • These headphones are touch-sensitive, causing them to stop or pause with even slight movements.
  • Any sound can trigger voice recognition, pausing music and activating transparency mode.
  • Sometimes dual Bluetooth mood is bothersome

Key Features

  • Type of Headphones: Over-ear
  • Connectivity: Wireless
  • Charging time:  Approx. 1 hour
  • Battery: 30 hours
  • Driver Type: Dynamic
  • Driver Size: 40 mm.
  • Noise Reduction: Active

Recently I bought new pair of Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones for my brother who is usually engaged in his electronic devices for his work purposes. The Sony WH-1000XM5 are the finest option if you’re searching for a pair of wireless headphones with the best ANC capabilities. T

he active and passive noise reduction in these headphones works really well together. They successfully prevent outside noise from entering the room while preventing sound from the headphones from escaping and my brother feels so comfortable with this feature.

The WH-1000XM5 now supports Bluetooth Multipoint in addition to Bluetooth 5.0. The listeners can connect to numerous Bluetooth devices at once because of this function.

I noticed another useful innovation is the auto-pause function. If the headphones are taken off, it recognizes that right away. These headphones have a wide soundstage and can generate detailed, rich audio. For lengthy commuting and flying, the Sony WH-1000XM5 is ideal.


Overall, these Bluetooth headphones are extremely great. The noise suppression is just outstanding. The greatest noise-canceling headphones are possibly available right now.

The exceptional Bluetooth range is another feature. The music’s audio quality is likewise superb, and I anticipate that most listeners will think highly of them. The audio quality of phone and video calls is likewise excellent, and the microphone may be used.

They charge rapidly and have a long battery life. They are also comparatively cozy. Simply said, the touch user controls are awful. There are several other features with various advantages.

#3 JBL Live 400BT – Solid Runner-Up

JBL Live 400BT
Solid Runner-Up
JBL Live 400BT
  • It is lightweight and includes a concealed microphone and a cable that won’t tangle
  • It includes built-in Alexa
  • Talk-through and ambient awareness are present
  • Some people could find these headphones uncomfortable, especially if their heads are particularly small
  • These headphones exhibit inconsistent frequency response
  • Poor noise isolation in loud surroundings

Key Features 

  • Type Of Headphones: On-ear
  • Connectivity: Wireless
  • Charging time:  Approx. 2-3 hours
  • Battery: 30 hours
  • Driver Type: Dynamic
  • Driver Size: 40 mm.
  • Noise Reduction: Passive

Recently I came across wireless JBL LIVE 400 BT headphones that my friend had bought and happened to use it. The wireless JBL LIVE 400 BT headphones have a good build quality and are lightweight.

Compared to comparable headphones in their price range, they are less clunky. Even while they provide superb noise isolation, they also allow for extra breathing room.

However, because they are on-ear headphones, they are not very effective at isolating background noise. As I have used Sennheiser HD 450BT, the wireless JBL LIVE 400 BT headphones perform somewhat poorer than that.

They amazingly have nearly little sound leaking in spite of this, so you may test turning up the volume to block out background noise without worrying about annoying people.

The lower end is clearly prioritized with the JBL Live 400 BT. However, the midrange frequencies continue to be good and clear. However, the highs can be overpowering.

Fortunately, JBL has offered its own app to correct this comparatively harsh vocal quality. Fixes for the upper ranges can be found by adjusting the built-in EQ in the My JBL Headphones app.


Despite Pros and Cons of JBL Live 400BT Headphones, these are really good headphones to use as they don’t leak much sound out.

The JBL Live 400BT offers a somewhat more solid feel, a much more secure fit, much higher ambient noise isolation, and less audio leakage. Although their default sound profile is relatively neutral, it can be adjusted through the app. 

#4 Shure SRH1540 – Ideal for Studio Recording

Shure SRH1540
Ideal for Studio Recording
Shure SRH1540
  • Due to the carbon fiber used to make the ear cups, outside noise is reduced
  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Sound quality is excellent and constant across the whole frequency range
  • For DJs and bass sound lovers, they might not be as enjoyable as other headphones
  • The headphones lack controls for the phone and microphone

Key features

  • Type Of Headphones: Over-ear
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Battery: Not applicable
  • Driver Type: Dynamic
  • Driver Size: 40 mm.
  • Noise Reduction: Passive

I came across The Shure SRH1540 headphones that are Ideal for Studio Recording and bought it online. The Shure SRH1540 is rated as Ideal for Studio Recording for a reason.

Even though they are passive, no other product in their market can compare to their noise isolation. A set of headphones with no sound leaks is also made possible by the combination of design, materials, and fit.

With an extension and headband made of metal, the construction is strong.  Even during the longest listening periods, I felt comfortable with the pleather padding on the headband and the soft fabric padding on the earcups.

Shure is unquestionably doing something right when it comes to sound.  Although there is a slight bass sensation, the treble is always pleasant.  The frequency range contains detail, yet nothing ever becomes overly harsh.  There is a respectable soundstage and nice separation.


I recommend this is best headphones to listen music. The degree of noise isolation provided by the Shure SRH1540 is unquestionably advantageous to musicians and audio professionals seeking for the best headphones that don’t leak sound. The lack of mobility is the sole drawback. The Shure SRH1540 is a tad heavy to carry even when it is folded but definitely worth the price.  

#5 Apple AirPods Max – For Apple Lovers

For Apple Lovers
Apple AirPods Max
  • Excellent sound quality with a distinct and well-balanced sound character
  • Excellent ANC
  • Excellent Construction
  • Well Balanced Mic
  • The price is exorbitant compared to other high-end models
  • Do not support Some older iPhones
  • Portability can be difficult, not collapsible

Key Features

  • Type of Headphone: Over-ear
  • Connectivity: Wireless
  • Battery: 20 Hours
  • Noise Reduction: Active
  • Bluetooth range: 300 ft.

Recently my sister bought a pair of Apple AirPods Max for her iPhone and I happened to use it. As you know Apple never fails to surprise us.

One of the finest aspects of the AirPods Max is the Active Noise Cancellation, which eliminates background noise so you can concentrate on your music or calls. Additionally, it is adaptable, enabling you to change the level of noise cancellation to fit your surroundings.

The audio output from the AirPods Max is clear and detailed over the entire frequency range, and I could really feel it. The highs are crisp and precise, the mids are clear, and the bass is powerful.

Long-term wear of the AirPods Max is made to be comfy. The headband is constructed of a breathable material, and the ear cups are plush and cushy. It was easy to quickly switch between devices that are signed into the same iCloud account using Quick Switch.

When numerous Apple devices are in use and want to move between them without having to unplug and replug the headphones, this capability is useful. This feature is incredible. 


Overall, the AirPods Max has a sleek appearance, high build quality, superb sound quality, and noise cancellation. However, some users might find their high price and lack of device compatibility to be a drawback. But I recommend this to Apple Lovers which would perfectly match with their Apple devices. 

Factors That Contribute to Sound Leakage

Best Headphones that Don't Leak Sound

Audio leakage from headphones can be disruptive to others and may negatively impact user experience. Different factors can contribute to sound leakage, including:

  • Ear pad material and design: The material and structure of the ear pads can significantly affect sound leakage. Open-back headphones with thin or perforated pads typically leak more sound than closed-back headphones with thicker pads.
  • Headphone fit: The fit of the headphones plays a significant role in sound leakage. Headphones that are too loose or too tight can leak more sound than those with a proper fit.
  • Headphone design: The design of the headphones also affects audio leakage. Noise-cancelling headphones and those with better sound isolation tend to leak less sound than unsealed or non-noise-cancelling headphones.
  • Sound Source: The type and volume of audio played through the headphones can also influence sound leakage. Playing music with higher volume levels or audio with higher frequency components can lead to increased audio leakage.
  • Environment: The environment in which headphones are being used can also affect sound leakage. Headphones may leak sound more in noisier environments since ambient noise can mask the audio.
  • Headphone brand and model: Different brands and models of headphones have different levels of audio leakage. Some manufacturers explicitly design headphones to minimize audio leakage.

Interestingly, research by InnerFidelity found that headphones with a high bass response tend to leak more sound than headphones with a flatter sound signature, as bass requires more air movement and pressure.

A true fact is that according to a survey by Statista, as of 2021, the most popular headphone brands in the US are Apple, Sony, and Bose.

Things we checked when selecting the Best Headphones that Don’t leak Sound

Noise Isolation

The effectiveness of blocking unwanted noise from the surroundings is vital in headphones. Complete ‘Sound Isolation’ can be achieved by over-ear and in-ear designs, which reduces external noises up to 25db. In contrast, on-ear headphones only limit sound up to 10db.

Noise isolation material contributes to complete sound leakage prevention in headphones. Material like foam, leatherette, or protein leather has the potential to block ambient noise up to threefold compared to conventional cloth-based covers without spilling over critical private information.

Apart from factors like drivers, design and materials used for construction, Noise Isolation heavily relies on user needs and requirements. It’s essential that the buyer matches the type of headphone for their intended use or risk compromising performance due to incorrect applications.

Take note, inadequate or compromised noise isolation may deter users from enjoying music & entertainment and could sabotage productivity through interruptions by extraneous sounds.

Investing in quality Isolation enabled headphones enhances your music experience exponentially and provides peace-of-mind assurance that conversations between you and your gadget remains private!

Padding Quality

The quality of the material used in the cushioning of headphones is a critical factor in controlling sound leakage. Proper padding can prevent sound from escaping and reduce ambient noise. High-quality materials like memory foam provide better sound isolation and evenly distribute pressure around the ears, resulting in improved comfort and reduced fatigue. This, in turn, promotes an extended listening experience without causing irritation or pain to the user.

However, substandard padding materials like low-density foam cause increased sound leakage by creating gaps between the ear pad and the ear. Additionally, inferior cushions also deteriorate quickly, flattening over time and becoming compacted with regular use. This causes inadequate envelopment of the ear, leading to more significant external noise penetration.

Besides cushioning quality, headphone design also plays a vital role in controlling sound leakage; poorly designed models can allow sound to escape both inwardly and outwardly through gaps created by improper fitting.

When it comes to headphones that don’t leak sound, there are different options to consider based on personal tastes like Wireless headphones or Earbuds. Finding them mainly depends on individual preferences as factors such as fit design and materiality could differ among different brands.

Comfort and Fit

A crucial factor in preventing sound leakage is ensuring the headphones have a comfortable and secure fit. The headphones’ earcups should fully cover the ears without too much pressure, allowing for proper acoustic seal. Additionally, adjustable headbands should maintain a stable fit, which can prevent sound leakage due to the headphones slipping off or loosening over time.

It’s important to note that not all headphone brands and models have equal comfort level, and finding the right one can require a bit of trial and error. Conducting thorough research, reading reviews from users with similar head sizes and shapes, and physically testing out various options can help determine which product provides optimal comfort while also minimizing sound leakage.

Investing in quality headphones that boast earpads made of specialized foam material such as memory foam or velour can also enhance overall convenience and minimize discomfort caused by prolonged use.

A study by Wirecutter researchers found that through exhaustive tests on various headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM4 model provides outstanding noise isolation capability with minimal sound leakage.

Sound Quality

A crucial aspect that influences the overall headphone experience is the auditory output, which depicts the sound’s richness and clarity. This property is known as ‘Audio Fidelity,’ and it entails measuring a headphone’s ability to accurately reproduce sound across various frequencies. A high-quality pair of headphones must balance various aspects of Audio Fidelity, including pitch accuracy, tonality, spatial cues, timbre, and dynamic range.

One of the key factors that make a headphone deliver exceptional sound quality is its driver size (speakers). Larger-sized drivers can move more air and generate louder sounds without distortion. However, having bigger drivers does not always translate to better audio fidelity as other factors like material and design also matter. The materials used in making the diaphragm and voice coils affect how precisely they can respond to electrical signals from an audio source.

To optimize sound quality further, noise-cancellation technology has been developed to eliminate exterior sounds that interfere with good audio fidelity delivery. It is best employed in headphones meant for studio reference or critical listening applications where distractions could impede work or enjoyment.

The origin of excellent sound reproduction in headphones dates back to when Nathaniel Baldwin sold his first ever-made telephone headset for $8 apiece to the United States Navy in 1910. The headset featured a single balanced armature driver that could play sounds ranging from 250Hz up to 2kHz only.

Nevertheless, Baldwin’s contribution lives on today through modern speakers found in top-performing contemporary headphones characterized by clear sound with great audio detail delivered via strategically placed drivers backed with sophisticated materials-enhanced designs like planar magnets combined with diamond-like carbon cones.

Final Thoughts on Best Headphones that Don’t Leak Sound

Among all headphones in the list, the Sennheiser HD 450BT and Sony XM5 headphones are my personal favorite. If you’re looking for a pair of headphones that are best for noise cancellation, you can’t go wrong with that headphones.

It is upto you to test each pair of headphones listed and select the most suitable one for you because your taste wouldn’t match mine. 

Sony WH-1000XM5

Best Premium Pick

Sennheiser HD 450BT

Most Outstanding

FAQs about Best Headphones That Dont Leak Sound

What are the best headphones that don’t leak sound?

If you are looking for a pair of headphones that won’t disturb the people around you, the best options are noise-cancelling headphones or closed-back headphones.

Do noise-cancelling headphones leak sound?

No, noise-cancelling headphones use advanced technology to block out external noise and keep the sound contained within the headphones.

What are closed-back headphones?

Closed-back headphones have ear cups that are completely closed which prevents sound from leaking out. They also provide better noise isolation than open-back headphones.

Are wireless headphones good for sound isolation?

Yes, wireless headphones can provide excellent sound isolation due to the design of the ear cups and noise-cancelling technology that some models feature.

What are the benefits of headphones with good sound isolation?

Headphones with good sound isolation provide a immersive audio experience, prevent sound leakage, and can help prevent hearing loss by allowing you to listen at lower volumes.

What is the difference between noise-cancelling and sound-isolating headphones?

Noise-cancelling headphones use technology to actively cancel out external noise, while sound-isolating headphones use physical barriers to block out noise. Both options can provide excellent sound isolation, but noise-cancelling headphones are generally more effective at cancelling out low-frequency sounds.

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