Noise-canceling headphones: What they can and can’t do

Noise-canceling headphones: What they can and can’t do - One Futureworld

Noise-canceling headphones / earbuds are a great way to block out the noise around you. They can be used in many different places like an airport, office, or even at home with loud children and barking dogs. These headphones work by using microphones that detect noises from your environment, such as airplane engines. They create sounds of their own that mask those external ones, making them quieter than before while still being able to hear what’s going on around you distinctly without any distortion.

It's often thought that if we wear these popular devices called "noise canceling," it will make all other sounds go away - but this is not true! While active noise cancellation does have some effect on recreating silence, it only affects one type of sound- the one produced around you.

The physics of active noise cancellation

The Active Noise Reduction (ANR) Technology functions by exploiting a principle of physics called phase cancellation. ANRs work by reducing the sound pressure near your ears that is generated from background noise and thus effectively cuts it out, amplifying only wanted sounds like those coming through an intercom or telephone conversation. When two waves meet at similar frequencies but opposite amplitude levels, they cancel each other out as well in what's known as "destructive interference."

Active noise reduction technology uses destructive interference to reduce unwanted ambient noises around you during noisy events such as air travel or construction-site visits so you can hear conversations more clearly while still being surrounded by safety equipment for protection against injury hazards inherent in these environments.

Generally speaking, this type of active noise cancellation is most effective on lower frequencies below 1 kHz. This is partly because the frequency range becomes more challenging to line up at higher frequencies, and there are fewer benefits as compared to low-frequency noises like jet engines.

ANC is better for regulating low, sustained sounds like those of motors and airplane engines. The headphones can't filter out screaming kids because of the high frequencies in their sound waves that do not work well with ANC technology. However, researchers say they're still working on ways to make this happen, which will take several more years before it's a reality.

More details? Check out how noise canceling headphones work

What type of headphones should you buy?

Some noise-canceling headphones have earcups and earpads that are designed to block high-frequency sounds, such as human voices or barking dogs. Passive isolation can be a physical barrier between your ears and the noises you don’t want to hear by using an item like active noise-cancellation headphones.

Explore how noise canceling headphones improve your work productivity

These items offer many benefits for frequent flyers who may not enjoy hearing an annoying air plane hum or even people with sensitive eardrums because they're more comfortable than wearing in-ear plugs while also being able to help keep those pesky mid-frequency sounds from reaching you.

If you're looking to block out only human voices and other higher-frequency sounds, there are a few options. If you find that your pair of less expensive passive headphones is not doing the job for blocking sound, over-ear closed-back headphones may be what you need. Most recording quality headphones will do well at diminishing those pesky noises like kids playing or workmates chatting!

Shop now via the link below, or drop by any of our Bose Premium Reseller retail stores and experience it yourself! 


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