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How Do Noise Canceling Headphones Really Work?

Life without headphones, these days, is like a fish  out of water. When all you want is to drown into your favorite music but the chatty Cathy sitting next to you in the bus or plane won’t let you enjoy your music or movie, these noise-canceling headphones come in really handy. The technology of headphones has come a long way that we now have something to separate us from the noisy world and take us to our musical utopia.

But how do these noise-canceling headphones work? Let’s find out.

What are the different kinds of noise-canceling headphones?

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There are basically two types of noise canceling headphones out there; active and passive. Both of these headphones work differently and solve different purposes. The construction and material choice make all the difference. Which one you should buy totally depends on your requirement.

How do passive noise-canceling headphones work?

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Passive noise canceling headphones are not as complicated as active headphones. They are more about the material than its construction. Such types of noise-canceling headphones use materials which are good at muffling exterior noises. Since the headphones take a passive role in canceling the outside, they are called passive.

These are not as efficient as active noise canceling headphones but they are for a guarantee cheaper. These will block soft and ambient noise. So, if you do not want to spend a fortune on headphones, you should go along with these. Also, passive noise canceling headphones come without a hassle unlike active noise canceling headphones like charging them with USB cable or batteries.  

How do active noise-canceling headphones work?

photo of a boy listening in headphones
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Active noise canceling headphones, on the other hand, is more about construction. These headphones actively work in blocking outside noise so that nothing meddles with your music. There is a microphone installed on these active noise-canceling headphones that track the unwanted noises in the background and measure the soundwaves amounting to the noise.

How does it do that?

Active noise canceling headphones emit out a sound wave that is the direct inverse of the noise it is listening. The peaks and troughs from the two waves cancel out each other resulting in a flatline which to you means no more noise.

Read More: 5 Things To Consider When Buying Headphones

When to use active noise-canceling headphones?

woman wearing black sleeveless dress holding white headphone at daytime
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Active noise-canceling headphones should be bought when you are working in a noisy area like a construction site or when your regular headphones are not efficient enough to block the outside noise. Since these headphones have a special construction, they are a bit of financial investment. Die-hard music lover would like to invest them since these will let nothing come between you and your music.

However, if you are merely buying them to block complete noise when you are sleeping or you want quiet, you may want to go along with cheaper alternatives like earplugs. If blocking noise is your only motive, these headphones are a waste of your money.

There is a range of noise-canceling headphones in the market varying in price and performance. Before you make a decision to buy them, you should conduct thorough research and read reviews online to make a smart investment. After all, nobody wants to be disappointed after they have spent so much money and they still hear a baby crying on an airplane when all they want is to jam to their favorite music.



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