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Instead of listening to the soothing sound of crickets chirping, a thunderstorm brewing, or simply drifting off to sleep in silence, you’re stuck taking in the harsh obtrusive noise of your housemate’s snoring. Apart from moving out or smothering your cohort with a pillow, what other solution is there?
The Apple AirPods Pro can help considerably to block out snoring and may even eliminate it for some. Unfortunately, the AirPod generations 2 and 3 won’t reduce the sound of snoring by a significant amount.
Could the Apple Airpods be the easy fix to block out snoring? This article explains how effective AirPods are at blocking out snoring and what you should know before trying. By the end, you’ll understand how this technology can help better ensure a full night of peaceful sleep.
Also check out my guide on how to silence an Apple Watch.
AirPods Block Out Snoring But Here are 4 Interesting Facts
Whether you’re sharing a bed, a room, or even a house with a loud snorer, AirPods can help you avoid lying awake, unable to sleep, and listening to the roar all night. However, there are a few things to know before committing to this as a solution.
1. Earlier Generation AirPods Can’t Block Out Sound
The AirPods generations 1 and 2 don’t have active noise cancellation technology, whereas the AirPods Pro does.
The active noise cancellation works by utilizing one or more outward-facing microphones which detect outward sounds and an inward-facing microphone that detects unwanted internal sounds which may have gotten past the outward-facing microphones.
It then counteracts them by essentially inverting the soundwave, i.e., using “anti-noise” before the sound ever reaches your ears.
According to Merford, “The anti-wave has to be identical in sound level (amplitude) to the original noise source but played back with a delay (180 <sup>0</sup> phase shift) related to half of the wavelength of the frequency – tone to be canceled…
When both waves meet in space, they theoretically should destructively interfere with each other and, as a result, cancel each other, decreasing the overall sound pressure level of the noise. It is like adding -1 + 1 = 0.”
Unfortunately, this feature is not something that was included in the earlier generations of the product but is included in the AirPods Pro model. So, if you’re trying to sleep with your AirPods Pro, you’ll have more luck canceling out sound than you would with the earlier generations of the product.
2. AirPods Pro Have Transparency Mode
One thing to keep in mind, while the AirPods Pro have active noise-canceling technology, they also include what is called “Transparency Mode,” which turns off the noise cancellation and allows sound to pass through.
This feature is great for when you’re walking down a busy street or waiting for an announcement like at a train station or airport, but less than ideal when you’re trying to block out your cohort’s snoring.
When you want uninterrupted sleep, make sure you’re in the active noise-canceling mode, not transparency mode. You can easily toggle between modes by doing a long hold on the button located on the stem of your AirPods.
3. Snore Frequency Affects the Effectiveness
The active noise cancellation technology described above is ideal for blocking out sounds with low to mid-frequency ranges under approximately 500 Hz. Still, it’ll work to block out sound up to 1,000 Hz, just to a lesser degree.
A study from 2016, which mainly studied the sound frequencies of people newly diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), found that the most substantial energy peaks were actually below what is audible to the human ear, between 0 and 20 Hz.
However, there are several audible energy peaks while snoring that, on average, range between 100 Hz to 1,000 Hz, with the median being 444 Hz.
The study also found that there was not a significant difference in snoring frequencies between “gender (male vs. female), obesity (yes vs. no), MetS (yes vs. no), OSA (moderate-to-severe vs. mild), and CCA-IMT (high vs. low) groups (all p > 0.05).”
4. The AirPods Pro May Work Better for Some People Than Others
The frequency of a snore varies from person to person, and a single person can experience varying energy peaks through a single sleep session.
Most snoring sounds should be eliminated or significantly reduced while wearing a device with active noise-canceling technology, like the AirPods Pro. However, the effectiveness largely depends on the frequencies of the specific snores from the individual you’re trying to block out.
AirPods Pro vs. AirPods Max: Best Apple Product To Block Out Snoring
While the Apple AirPods Pro are the best earbuds for canceling out sound, you may also want to consider the Apple AirPods Max. The AirPods Max are headphones rather than earbuds, which might be more comfortable for sleeping for some people.
Both products utilize the active noise cancellation technology, so technically, they should block out sound relatively equally, assuming that the earbuds fit in your ear nicely.
Since headphones already cover your entire ear, it’s easier to isolate your ear from the incoming sounds without worrying about any leaks that may happen from the earbud not being form-fitting to the inside of your specific ear shape.
However, the AirPods Max is usable for up to 20 hours on a single charge, compared to the AirPods Pro, which lasts only 4.5 hours.
Bonus Tip: To Help Fall Asleep Faster, Try Using a Pillow With Ear Holes
Let’s face it, no matter what kind of earbuds or headphones you get, it won’t be as comfortable as sleeping without them.
Using a pillow with ear holes, like the BLISSBURY Ear Pillow (available on Amazon), can help reduce the pressure on your ears when you sleep on your side while wearing listening devices.
This pillow is made of memory foam and has two holes for your ears, so it’s perfect if you change positions a lot while you sleep!
AirPods Pro features noise cancellation to reduce or eliminate snoring, while the earlier AirPod generations don’t. However, results will vary from person to person depending on the frequencies of their snoring sounds.
The Airpods Max may prove to be a better option because it includes the same noise-blocking technology yet has a longer battery life, covers your entire ear, and is potentially more comfortable to wear while sleeping.