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The 3 Best Headphones For Audiobooks

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Whether you love romance novels or hard-hitting nonfiction books, audiobook enthusiasts know that the right pair of headphones can make all the difference in your listening experience. The best headphones for audiobooks should have a band that’s comfortable enough to wear for up to 10 hours, or the average duration of an audiobook, and active noise cancellation to help better immerse yourself in the story.

Since audiobooks usually only incorporate the voice of the reader, your headphones need to accurately produce the wide range of sound in the human voice. If volume is a primary concern, looking at a headphone’s driver size can be a helpful indicator, as larger drivers generally can produce louder sound and more powerful bass. For reference, the average driver size range is around 30-50mm for over-ear options and 7-15mm for earbuds.

Active noise cancellation (ANC) is also crucial if you like to tune out the world while listening to audiobooks. Unlike passive noise cancellation, which uses physical barriers like silicone tips or a seal around your ear to block out sound, headphones with active noise cancellation scan your environment for ambient sound, then produce opposing anti-noise to cancel it out.

For ultimate convenience, Bluetooth wireless headphones make it easy to listen to your audiobook without worrying about tangled wires or being tethered to your device. If you plan on listening outside or while working out, it’s also a good idea to make sure your headphones have a water-resistance rating of IXP4 or higher to protect them from sweat or splashes.

With all that in mind, these are the best headphones to wear while listening to audiobooks, all of which are available on Amazon.

1. The Best Over-Ear Headphones For Audiobooks

  • Driver size: 40mm
  • Battery life: 30 hours
  • Active noise cancellation: yes
  • Connection type: Bluetooth

These high-end noise cancelling headphones from Sony are beloved by thousands of fans on Amazon, for good reason. They have an impressive 30-hour battery life, as well as a 10-minute quick charge option that gives you an additional five hours of playback. These headphones were designed specifically to relieve pressure during long hours of wear, so they’re comfortable enough that you could listen to a whole book in one sitting. There’s a special feature that pauses playback when you remove these headphones, as well as touch sensor controls that let you do everything from pause and play music to answer calls and activate a voice assistant. Their noise cancelling quality is some of the best in the industry, with five separate microphones that help to isolate sounds. The biggest downside to these headphones is that, despite the high price tag, they don’t have an IP rating, so they’re not recommended for use during exercise or in potentially rainy conditions.

One reviewer wrote: “I currently own Bose QC20 wired and Sony Wireless ANC earbud and have been happy overall with their noise cancellation, but it is not close to what over the ear Sony's or Bose achieve. The way the Sennheiser Momentum 2s fit my ear allow for noise cancellation on par with over the ear ANC headphones. The fit is firm, but comfortable and basically seals my ear canal. I can walk in the wind and hear music and audiobooks clearly.”

2. The Best Budget Over-Ear Headphones For Audiobooks

  • Driver size: 40 mm
  • Battery life: 15 hours with ANC (or 35 hours without)
  • Active noise cancellation: yes
  • Connection type: Bluetooth 5.0 or 3.5mm audio cable

These over-ear headphones offer active noise cancellation for less than $50 dollars, making them a great value. The plush ear cups are comfortable to wear for long hours, even for glasses wearers, and the lightweight band won’t put too much pressure on your head. When it’s time to put these headphones away, they easily fold for compact storage.

The 40mm drivers accurately render the sounds of your audiobooks and can produce heavy bass if you switch over to music. Reviewers also loved these headphones' long battery life of more than 15 hours, even with noise cancellation on. If you ever need to listen while out of battery, you can use a wired connection with the included 3.5mm auxiliary cord. Note that these headphones are not water-resistant.

One reviewer wrote: “I needed headphones to be able to listen to my audiobooks without interruption from my grandkids running around on the floor above me. It was also important to me that the headphones were comfortable to wear. I am completely satisfied. The noise cancelling feature works great, they are not too tight, they are super padded on the headband and do not hurt the top of my head, the ear pads are soft, the instructions are easy to understand, and the sound quality is perfect for my needs. I'm glad I bought these MPOW ANC wireless headphones recommended by Amazon.”

1. The Best Earbuds For Audiobooks

  • Driver size: 7mm
  • Battery life: 7 hours (or 28 hours with the charging case)
  • Active noise cancellation: yes
  • Connection type: Bluetooth

Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 2 earbuds are super convenient to use and produce accurate and clear sound for audiobook listening. These earbuds are compatible with smart assistants like Alexa and Siri, so it’s easy to queue up your audiobooks or give other voice commands. They can withstand splashes of rain and sweat with their IPX4 water-resistance rating, and they feature a smart pause feature that automatically stops your music or audiobook when they’re removed from your ears.

The 7mm drivers produce a great range of sound, and the earbuds have built-in equalizers to make sure your audiobooks, podcasts, and music sound balanced and accurate to their recordings. The earbuds have soft tips that are comfortable enough for long hours of wear, and they offer smart active noise cancellation, filtering out background noise for easy audiobook listening.

One reviewer wrote: “I currently own Bose QC20 wired and Sony Wireless ANC earbud and have been happy overall with their noise cancellation, but it is not close to what over the ear Sony's or Bose achieve. The way the Sennheiser Momentum 2s fit my ear allow for noise cancellation on par with over the ear ANC headphones. The fit is firm, but comfortable and basically seals my ear canal. I can walk in the wind and hear music and audiobooks clearly.”

3. The Best For Drifting Off To Sleep

  • Driver size: not listed
  • Battery life: 10 hours
  • Active noise cancellation: no
  • Connection type: Bluetooth

Listening to audiobooks at night is a great way to wind down and help your brain ease into sleep, but many traditional headphones or earbuds are uncomfortable to wear to bed. This Bluetooth headband has small, flat speakers embedded into the stretchy fabric, so you can comfortably listen to your audiobook even while laying on your side. You can also pull down the soft fabric headband to use it as a sleep mask. These headphones don’t have active noise cancellation, but the soft fabric completely covers your ears to passively help filter out background chatter.

These headphones have a 10-hour battery life and a handy internal microphone for answering calls or dictating messages. Reviewers loved how these headphones help them relax, and that the electronics are removable so you can regularly wash the headband. However, the electronic parts of these headphones are not water-resistant.

One reviewer wrote: “I've tried a number of these products for listening to audio books or music through the night. I have tinnitus and need to keep my ears occupied. Listening to books or music helps me sleep. Most claims of long battery life for Bluetooth headphones or earbuds are more hype than real. However, this headband system lives up to the promises. Out of the box, the first night, I got 10 hours of audiobook time and it was still going ... It is most refreshing for a product to do what it says it will do. Sound quality is above average and this appears to be a well-designed and durable product. One of the better purchases I've made on Amazon!”