How does Noise Canceling work?

Last Updated: April 17, 2019By

Noise Canceling

Many kinds of ambient sounds can block or interfere with the sound coming through the headphones. This can be extremely annoying for music lovers. Ambient sounds make it hard to hear what is being broadcasted, even when the speakers are placed on or in your ear. With noise-canceling headphones, you can enjoy listening to your favorite songs without being disturbed by ambient sounds. You can find passive and active noise canceling headphones. Any kind of headphone is capable of providing some passive noise reduction. This is because the materials of the headphones are capable of blocking out some sound waves.

If you are looking for passive noise canceling headphones, you should consider the circum-aural type as it has excellent noise-filtering properties. This kind of passive noise canceling headphone has layers of sound-absorbing material such as high-density foam, so it’s heavier than standard headphones. It can reduce noise by about 15 to 20 decibels. Passive noise canceling headphones, however, have some limits. Jet engines produce 75 to 80 decibels of noise inside an aircraft cabin, so this kind of headphone won’t do much in canceling noise.

Active noise canceling headphones are ideal for blocking out high-frequency sound waves thanks to its structure that creates a barrier against noise. This kind of headphone can do what passive models can do. It adds another level of noise reduction by actively removing lower-frequency sound waves.

How Noise Canceling Headphones Work

Noise canceling headphones work by using active noise control. A microphone measures ambient sound and produces a waveform that is the opposite of the ambient sound then mixes it with the audio signal you want to listen to. Several components are needed to produce this effect. The microphone, which is placed inside the ear cups, listens to ambient sounds that can’t be canceled passively.

Noise-canceling circuitry senses the microphone’s input and produces a fingerprint of the wave. The amplitude and frequency of the incoming wave are considered. A new wave is then made, which is 180⁰ out of phase with the wave. The standard audio and the new sound are fed into the speakers of the headphones. The new sound eliminates the noise through destructive interference but doesn’t affect the sound waves you want in the normal audio. Noise canceling headphones have a rechargeable battery, the source of energy that should be added to the system to create the noise canceling the effect. Noise-canceling headphones can effectively block 70% of ambient noise, making it ideal for open office environments, train and airline travel and other locations with a high level of ambient noise.

Noise cancellation allows you to listen to your favorite audio content without increasing the volume. It offsets the effect of a disturbing simultaneous activity. Noise canceling headphone also boost the signal-to-noise ratio considerably more than a pair of passive noise attenuating headphones. This makes hearing safety announcements and other important information easier. You can sleep even in a noisy vehicle when you wear noise-canceling headphones. Both passive and active noise canceling headphones help users enjoy better noise isolation from background noise. This is particularly beneficial for those suffering from sleep disorders such as insomnia.

Some people, however, say that noise-cancelling headphones compromise sound quality as it muffles sounds. This kind of headphone is more expensive than regular ones. Active noise control also requires power, which is usually provided by a battery that should be occasionally recharged or replaced or by a USB port. Some models don’t even work as standard headphones without power. The noise-canceling circuitry may also produce high-frequency hiss and reduce audio quality. Noise reduction may provide higher perceived audio quality. Additional electronics and battery may increase the weight and size of the headphones as well.

Despite these drawbacks, many people prefer noise-canceling headphones over normal models. This is because noise-canceling headphones don’t just reduce noise. This kind of headphones also helps reduce fatigue and stress when traveling, which can be caused by low-frequency noise exposure for a long period. If you don’t want to listen to other sources of audio, but you don’t wish to cancel out ambient noise, you can wear noise-canceling headphones. You can also use noise canceling headphones if you want some peace.