Sound Leakage of Headphones

What it is: The amount of sound bleeding out of the headphones.
When it matters: When the listener doesn't want people around them (in office, recording studio, etc.) to hear what is being listened to.
Score components:

Leakage is the amount of sound that escapes the headphones. This may be very distracting to the people around you, especially if leakage performance is poor and your listening volume is high. Fortunately, it doesn't matter as much for the secluded listener, as there's no one around to distract with leaking music.

We used the Overall Leakage @ 1ft test to obtain the leakage performance scores of the following headphones.

Test results

When it matters

If you plan to use your headphones within close range of other people, leakage should be of concern in your selection.

Poor leakage performance can be seriously disturbing to the people around you, especially if you listen to music at very high volumes.

However, for private listening sessions, leakage does not matter much and is sometimes encouraged in the design of headphones. Open back headphones take advantage of this to provide an open and spacious soundstage that feels more like speakers on your ears than like regular headphones.

Our tests

Overall Leakage @ 1ft  

What it is: The amount of sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
Good value: <35dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB

[Coming soon]


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