Noise-canceling headphones are a great way to block out ambient noise so you can focus on your daily tasks, but they will never, ever cancel out your mother’s voice in the back of your mind. Until that technology is developed, soldier on with one of these audiophile-approved picks that will have your mom’s voice echoing, “Is this how you’re dressing now?”
Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise-Canceling Headphones (Amazon, $299.99)
For those seeking comfort and seclusion from the chaos of a busy city commute, splurge on these Bose QuietComfort headphones. They earn high marks for their sleek design and overall efficiency, but perform poorly in turning off the screeching sounds of your mother advising you to take three Advil instead of two, because her friend Pam’s doctor said it’s safe to take three and why can’t you ever trust her? Bose offers a separate warranty that covers everything, except your twice-weekly therapy sessions, which you don’t really need anyway; therapy is for people with real problems.
Phillips Flexible Earhook (CVS, $9.99)
The compact design of the Phillips Earhook is best for those with an active lifestyle, creating a divide between your music and the outside world. Be advised, however, that the technology provides no protection against the speech replaying in your head about how disappointed your mom is that you missed Aunt Betty’s birthday. While you can adjust the shape and fit of the device to perfectly fit your ear, you cannot silence the part of her speech where she reminds multiple times that, at Betty’s party, they took a picture with all the cousins, except you. Perfect for runners who are running from more than just a family history of diabetes.
Monoprice Noise-Canceling Headphones (Amazon, $119.23)
The simple, no-nonsense design of Monoprice’s over-ear model will block out the cacophony of outside distractions, save for the sound of your mother explaining that she and your dad talked seriously about getting divorced right around the time your sister went to college. It was years ago, but she still wanted you kids to know, and these headphones will do nothing to silence the disembodied voice assuring you that it’s not anything you need to worry about now. When it comes to your mom’s effortless ability to unnerve you out of the blue, these headphones are useless, but for fans of a gentle bass boost, they’re essential.
Sony MDR ZX Series (Sony Store, $19.99)
These headphones are the perfect companion for the video or sound engineer striving for a crisp, clean sound. The downside? Sony engineers still have not crafted technology precise enough to eliminate the voicemail on loop in your head, the one where your mother reminds you that she worries about what will become of you if you don’t get married soon. Just crank up some indie rock to distract yourself from her oppressive fears of your future spinsterhood; the mids on this headset are second to none!
Beats by Dre Drenched Solo On-Ear Headphones (Target, $129.99)
Beats by Dre score highest above all brands for comfort, style and functionality. A widespread complaint, however, is that all your music will always be accompanied by your mother’s voice, asking you if you know where she put “that thing”. You know, that thing she got last week at the store she likes. Ann wants to borrow it for her thing but mom doesn’t know where it went.
Any of these noise-canceling headphones will block the sound of your mother’s nagging voice, so long as she’s actually talking to you!