The QuietOn 3.1 headphones are a nice technological find: very small, they use the ambient noise cancellation function to help you sleep better. But lo and behold, they cost $349 and are no more effective than $2 wax plugs.

Designed in Finland, the QuietOn noise-canceling headphones, version 3.1 of which we tried, are based on an ingenious idea: using the ambient noise cancellation (“ANC” function) now integrated into most headphones not for improve listening to music or telephone conversations, but simply to sleep better.

This function relies on two methods: passive, through the shape of the headphones, and active through the use of software that emits an antagonistic sound wave and cancels the noise. The QuietOn 3.1s use both. We first insert these two small 1.8 gram tips covered with memory foam as deeply as possible. In the box we have four sizes and a charger case, capable of providing three recharges to these headphones which have a battery life of 28 hours.

At this weight and size, they are not bothersome. You take them out of their case, place them and, about twenty seconds later, the ANC function kicks in and reduces ambient noise. It all works smoothly and these QuietOn 3.1s are as good as, say, the $329 AirPods Pro or the $260 Pixel Buds Pro. But they don’t play music.

We tried them several nights, in very different environments, sometimes while sleeping or simply for testing, while traveling, in a car, on public transport. The QuietOn 3.1s are at their best when low-pitched sounds are being played, like the background rumble of a subway, ventilation, or your partner’s snoring. At high frequencies, for more punctual noises, they are less striking.

Do they make a difference? Yes, noticeable, when you are a light sleeper and frequent bass noises torment you. Their autonomy lives up to what is promised, and their design and design are clearly high-end.

We’ve reviewed a lot of very positive reviews, including in Forbes, The Verge, and CNet, and were remorseful for not being as enthusiastic. Finally, we changed our habits and made a comparison with wax plugs sold in all pharmacies for less than a dollar each. Bottom line: these caps were just as effective. Bigger, surely, and less pretty, but these flaws are easily forgotten when their price is 175 times lower.

That’s all we have to criticize them for, but it’s a major criticism.

The QuietOn 3.1, it is obvious, are more pleasant to wear than music headphones and their autonomy is unbeatable. It is conceivable that, for several reasons, one might find the QuietOn 3.1s more comfortable than wax plugs. More effective? QuietOn publishes tables on its site which demonstrate this, but we have not observed it.

We salute the undeniable quality and advanced technology of the QuietOn, but we cannot recommend their purchase.