How Noise Canceling Headphones Work

If you have ever listened to a CD or MP3 player while sitting on a plane, you will surely understand how difficult it is to listen to music in the roar of the engine!

Even when the headphones are tucked inside the ear, outside sounds come through. However, using noise canceling headphones makes it easy to listen to music or audio tracks even in such situations.

Noise-canceling headphones use technology to block out any surrounding noise except the sound coming from the headphones. So the user of these headphones can experience different levels of listening to music or other audio even in a lot of noise.

Another great advantage of these headphones is that they are also good for the ears. If you have difficulty hearing due to external noise while using normal headphones, increase the volume of the device. But listening to something at excessive volume is bad for the ears. In this case, if you use noise canceling headphones, you don\’t have to increase the volume even in a lot of noise.

Active and passive, these two types of noise canceling headphones are mainly available in the market.

Basically all headphones offer some degree of noise reduction or ambient noise cancellation. Therefore, headphones that reduce outside noise to a small extent are called \’passive noise canceling headphones\’.

Active noise canceling headphones, on the other hand, are specifically designed to reduce outside noise. The design of these headphones is such that high frequency or high frequency sound waves from the surrounding environment do not reach the ears of the user.

Active noise canceling headphones work in one more way to reduce outside noise.

In this method, low frequency or low frequency sounds do not reach the user\’s ears. Basically the same frequency sound comes out of the headphones to cancel the low frequency sound coming from outside. As a result, the user does not hear any surrounding sound.

Active noise canceling headphones mainly work through a few components inside. For example:

  • • Microphone – A microphone is attached to the part inside the ear hole in the headphones. The function of this microphone is to determine the external sounds which cannot be canceled initially.
  • • Noise canceling circuit – A noise canceling circuit is connected to the microphone itself. The function of this circuit is to identify the sounds coming from the microphone separately. The circuit basically determines the frequency and amplitude of the sound coming from outside. The exact same sound from the headphones is then projected exactly opposite to the sound wave coming from outside.
  • • Speakers – These sound waves generated by the headphones play through the speakers along with the audio to cancel out external noise. However, even if the sound waves come out with the music or audio playing in the headphones, our brain cannot separate these two types of sounds. As a result, the user does not hear any external sound. The way in which headphones cancel out external noise is called destructive interference in physics terms.
  • • Battery – The technology used in active noise canceling headphones requires electricity to operate. That\’s why a rechargeable battery is attached separately to the headphones.

It is mainly with these methods that active noise canceling headphones can cancel up to 20 decibels of sound waves compared to other ordinary headphones.

As a result, 70 percent of the sound from the outside environment cannot enter the user\’s ears. So noise canceling headphones come in handy in places where there is a lot of noise, from airplanes or trains to open-air offices.

Many complain about noise canceling headphones.

According to many, the sound quality in such headphones is somewhat poor. According to them, some sounds cannot be heard clearly in these headphones.

Others complain that they feel the air pressure inside the ear when using these headphones.

However, in the recently marketed headphones, some ports are provided behind the speaker to solve these problems. These ports adjust the air pressure inside and outside the ear.

Scroll to Top