What are noise-cancellation headphones?

Noise cancellation in headphones

Noise cancellation headphones have recently moved to the foreground with modern living becoming busier and noisier for the majority of people. It is easy to get overwhelmed because of the audio stimuli around us throughout the day, and noise cancellation headphones provide us with a safe, silent space to gather our thoughts and compose ourselves.

Before we explain what noise-cancellation headphones are and how they work, let’s take a look at the fascinating history behind noise cancellation headphones. In 1933, Germany, a doctor of philosophy and medicine filed a patent application for the theory and principle of active noise cancellation technology. The doctor realized that he could cancel sounds around a loudspeaker through phase-advancing waves to cause interference at specific points in space. Though he lacked the advanced technology to support his theory, many experts agree that Dr. Lueg’s idea laid the cornerstone of noise-cancellation and noise-reduction technology.

Types of noise-cancellation headphones

In today’s age, noise-cancellation headphones are no longer a luxury but an everyday commodity. The technology is accessible without spending too much money or requiring deep technological knowledge. Generally, there are 3 types of noise cancellation. Understanding these types can help in deciding which type of headphones would be the best fit for our purpose.

A) Active Noise Cancellation

Active noise cancellation or ANC was initially introduced in over-ear headphones and was targeted at regular travellers and frequent fliers. Over the years, this technology has become easily accessible to everyone who wishes to block out surrounding audio chaos and is a staple feature in several headphones.

ANC technology can achieve this effect by detecting the noise surrounding the environment and then analyzing the noise to break it down into its machine component readable parts, also called sound waves. After analysis, it produces a sound wave of the same magnitude but of an opposite shape to feed it back into the headphones to cancel out ambient noise.

To put it in layman’s terms, think of it as adding (-1) to (+1) to end up with zero. The issue with active noise cancellation technology is that the microphone needs to record ambient sounds accurately to provide the best degree of noise cancellation. 100% active noise cancellation is impossible, but it reduces the ambient sound by 1 quarter or 1 sixteenth of its original level, which is a considerable amount.

B) Adaptive Noise Cancellation

Adaptive noise cancellation is a relatively new technology in the headphone segment. Adaptive noise cancellation techniques were widely used in the fields of telecommunication, radar and sonar signal processing. The technology is quite similar to active noise cancellation, although more refined and sophisticated. Adaptive noise cancellation also utilizes negative sound waves to cancel the surrounding positive noise waves but with advanced algorithms to detect the ambient sound to produce almost perfect noise cancellation. Adaptive noise cancellation continuously adjusts to outside noise to apply matching negative sound waves for optimal noise cancellation.

C) Passive Noise Cancellation

This is the most basic method of cancelling sound, also known as noise isolation. Passive noise cancellation acts like a physical barrier to prevent noise from entering your ear. Basically, passive noise cancellation works like ear muffs. Headphones achieve this effect through acoustic padding that seals your ears, thus blocking out external noise.

Benefits of noise-cancellation headphones

Noise cancellation technology mutes the distractions in a noisy environment to increase productivity, enhance well-being, and deliver a crystal-clear audio experience.

  1. Improves concentration

    A noisy environment makes it difficult to concentrate on work and studies and impairs the ability to retain information. Noise-cancelling headphones allow you to block out noise to focus more intensely on your day-to-day tasks.

  2. Keeps you safe

    Long exposure to high levels of noise is proven to be detrimental to physical and mental health and is proven to cause health risks, including cardiovascular disease, sleep deprivation, tinnitus, and hearing loss. Noise-cancellation headphones prevent further health complications.

  3. Delivers an immersive audio experience

    A noise-cancelling headset is ideal to cut off ambient noise in the background. This allows for an amazing listening experience anytime, anywhere - whether it’s for on-call conversations, enjoying your favourite playlist, producing music, creating podcasts, streaming videos or gaming.

Final words

The benefit of noise-cancellation headphones depends on the environment in which you plan to use them. beyerdynamic’s noise cancellation headphones are constructed using the finest German technology to provide you with the quietest experiences - or the clearest audio - in the noisiest surroundings. Armed with a pair of beyerdynamic noise-cancellation headphones, you will experience the peace of mind you deserve.