How Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Work? Buying Guide Include

If you want to transform your audio and music experience, noise-canceling headphones are the way to go. So how do noise cancelling headphones work?

If you make use of public transportation regularly or if you work in an open-plan office, then you might have seen the people around you wearing a pair of noise-canceling headphones.

Some of them may be listening to their favorite Spotify playlist, while others may have activated its most innovative feature, tuning out the cacophony of the urban world.

These headphones allow commuters to keep their ears safe from the damaging noise pollution that their surroundings constantly create.

On the other hand, they have proven to be indispensable for employees, most of whom donate a pair to increase their concentration levels and minimize distractions. But How Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Work?


How Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Work Physics?

How Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Work

These devices use anti-phase, a trick of physics that refers to the misalignment of two wavelengths. Since one of them is delayed, one wavelength’s positive pressures act against the other’s negative pressures and vice versa.

Because of this, the two are canceled out. If you are a bit confused about this concept, then think of it as trying to add and subtract one simultaneously. When this is done, you’re left with zero or absolutely nothing.

The same principle applies to noise-canceling headphones. However, it’s achieved by using tiny microphones that are embedded on the exterior of the headphones. These minuscule devices take in the surrounding noise and take it to the onboard electronics, which create a sound that is the exact opposite of what has been absorbed.

How Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Work

Because of this, the two contrasting sound waves cancel each other out, which is why you’re left with either blissful quiet or the song that you’re listening to. For example, say you’re standing in a busy train station.

The tiny microphones outside your noise-canceling headphones absorb the cacophony of your surroundings, trains rushing by, people talking, and cars beeping outside. Meanwhile, the electronics inside the device are busy creating the exact opposite of these sounds, ultimately canceling out the noise around you.

Now, this principle is only applied to active noise-canceling headphones. On the other hand, passive noise-canceling headphones are those equipped with materials that block out sound waves, such as layers of high-density foam.

While this makes them much heavier than the usual pair of headphones, it also means that they’re very effective at reducing noise. Most passive noise-canceling headphones can reduce noise by about 15 to 20 decibels.

Simply put, passive noise-canceling headphones come with extra material to block out sound. Active noise-canceling headphones, however, create their sound waves to erase unwanted noise from outside.


What are the Benefits of Noise-Cancelling Headphones?

There are several good reasons why people are increasingly making the switch to noise-canceling headphones.

  1. They offer protection against noise. If you are constantly exposed to traffic and other cacophonous environments, then having one would ensure that your ears will continue working fine.
  2. They help boost concentration levels. If you’re constantly distracted by the sounds around you, then a pair of noise-canceling headphones will help block these out, allowing you to focus on what needs to be done.
  3. They do a great job of reducing the stress that is caused by sensory over-stimulation. If you find yourself overcome by the sights and sounds around you, then noise-canceling headphones will help you maintain your well-being.

How to Test Noise Cancelling Headphones?

If you’re planning to purchase a pair of noise-canceling headphones, then here’s what you should look for:

  1. Sound quality: Headphones that pick up low-frequency sounds from instrumentals or vocals accurately are better in terms of sound quality. The sound mustn’t be compressed or layered. Instead, it should be delivered as-is. Headphones that have ANC, active noise cancellation are capable of providing this user experience.
  2. Battery life: Unlike other devices, headphones are almost always in constant use. It’s important that your pair of headphones not only have good battery life but also charge quickly.
  3. Bluetooth range: A good Bluetooth range would allow you to stay connected without interruption when your mobile device is away. You would want to consider the Bluetooth range if you multitask or move around while working.
  4. Connectivity: Multipoint Bluetooth connectivity helps you connect to two devices at once. It allows a seamless transition from one device to another. This is especially useful when you have different devices for work and personal use but use the same pair of headphones. NFC pairing helps connect your headphones with a device just by bringing them in physical contact.
  5. Comfort: Whether the headphones are wireless or not, the presence or absence of earpads, the material, the size, all these factors determine the level of comfort. You wouldn’t want your ears to hurt after prolonged use. Your headphones may slide down if they are ill-fitted or heavy.

Recommended Noise Cancelling Headphones

Now let’s take a look at three headphones that you may want to consider buying. I’ll leave a link for each one in the description below.

How Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Work

1. Sony WH-1000XM4 Noise Cancelling Headphones

This pair can be operated through touch sensors. Its dual noise sensor allows for great sound quality. The volume reduces automatically when you are talking. It has a microphone and includes the Alexa Voice Control feature.

It has a battery life of about 30 hours, charges in 10 minutes for a five-hour playback, and takes three hours for a full charge. It also comes with multipoint connectivity, NFC pairing and has a pressure-relieving fit.

It weighs around nine ounces and has a Bluetooth range of around 39 feet, and is compatible with both Apple and Android devices. It comes only in black.


How Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Work

2. COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones


The Cowin E7 has ANC technology, which delivers good sound quality. The earcups swivel 90 degrees and have skin texture for greater comfort. It weighs around 11 ounces. It has a 30-hour battery life and NFC pairing along with voice-prompt technology.

This ensures uninterrupted Bluetooth connectivity. It is available in black, blue, green, red, white, yellow, and purple. The Cowin E7 is compatible with both Android and Apple devices. Our final set comes from a company that’s become synonymous with sound quality.


How to Test Noise Cancelling Headphones

3. Bose 700 Over-ear Noise Cancelling Headphones


let’s look at Bose 700 Noise Canceling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones. These function with 11 levels of Active Noise Canceling or ANC, thus allowing superior sound quality. The headphones are light-weight, with tilted earcups for comfortable listening.

They allow multipoint pairing for connection across two devices at once. They have a battery life of 20 hours on a single charge. Have unparalleled voice pick-up and Alexa as well as Google Assistant voice control.

It can also make calls to other Bose or Amazon Echo devices. Additionally, it comes with touch sensors. These headphones are available in black, white, and silver and weigh only about nine ounces. They have a Bluetooth range of about 33 feet and are compatible with Apple and Android devices.


Last Word

Keeping in mind all the features mentioned, a pair of good noise-canceling headphones would cost you anywhere between $60 to $350. The Cowin E7, E7 Pro, and Sony WHXB900N are good options for a small budget.

As you move up the price range, the Sony WH-1000XM4, Bose Quiet Comfort 35, and Bose 700 are great investments. Anyway, if you would like to take a closer look at any headphones, I reviewed, check out the links in the description below.

Well, I hope your question was answered. What’s been your experience with noise-canceling headphones? Let’s talk about it in the comments below. Don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to the channel.

And remember, what’s learned here leaves here. Share something you learned about how noise-canceling headphones work with a friend. See you later.

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