Does Noise Cancelling Headphones Work

Does Noise Cancelling Headphones Work

Noise-canceling headphones are a relatively new technology. It uses various techniques to reduce or block out background noise so that you can listen to your favorite music, podcasts, or audiobooks without being distracted by the outside world. If you’re looking for a premium audio experience with a noise-canceling feature and considering investing in this type of headphones, keep reading. This article will help you understand more about these types of headphones, their differences, benefits, and potential downsides.

Does Noise Cancelling Headphones Work?

Yes. Noise-canceling headphones work to reduce or eliminate ambient noise by creating a sound wave that is 180 degrees out of phase with the ambient noise. This wave cancels out the ambient noise, resulting in a quieter listening experience. Noise-canceling headphones are a great way to reduce the amount of background noise in your environment, which can be helpful for reducing distractions and improving focus. They are also great for travel, as they can help you to drown out airplane and other engine noises.

How Do Noise-Cancelling Headphones Work?

Active Noise-Canceling (ANC) Headphones

Active noise-canceling headphones are the most popular type of noise-canceling headphones on the market. This type of headphone actively cancels out background noise by producing a sound that is equal and opposite to the incoming ambient noise, thereby canceling out the sound. Active noise canceling works via a complex system of microphones and speakers. The microphones pick up the ambient noises and then feed that information to an electronic chip that produces an inverse sound wave. The speaker then plays this inverse wave which cancels out some of the ambient sound waves.

Passive Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Passive noise-canceling headphones contain rubber or foam inserts that block out incoming ambient sounds by physically blocking them from reaching your ears. Typically, passive headphones are less expensive than active ones but work in a similar manner to reduce outside noises without having to produce an inverse wave as active ones do. However, passive headphones can’t cancel out all types of noises.

Noise-canceling Earbuds

Noise-canceling earbuds are a hybrid of the two types of noise-canceling headphones. They combine the physical barrier of passive headphones and the inverse sound waves of active ones. Noise-canceling earbuds use a combination of passive and active noise-canceling techniques to reduce outside noises. This type is likely to be more expensive than traditional earbuds but is less expensive than active noise-canceling headphones. However, you can only use them when you’re listening to music on your phone or other media devices since they don’t have a cord that can plug into your smartphone or laptop like other types of headphones do.

What Are The Different Types Of Noise Cancelling Headphones?

Noise Cancelling Earplugs

These earplugs are designed to block out noise from the outside world, and they have a much lower profile than regular earplugs. They’re also much more comfortable and won’t cause any discomfort, which is a definite plus. The only downside is that they won’t be as effective with low-frequency sound waves like jet engines or subwoofer basses.

Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Noise-canceling headphones are the most popular type of this technology, and they come in a variety of styles like over-ear or in-ear headphones. These types of headphones have active electronics built into them, so they can block out more types of sounds than passive or noise-canceling earplugs. Some models can even cancel out up to 95% of background noise!

3 Benefits Of Noise-Cancelling Headphones

They Reduce Outside Noise in a Car

One of the most common uses for noise-canceling headphones is to listen to music in a particular setting, like the car where outside sounds can interfere. Using noise-canceling headphones removes external noises so you can be more engaged and sometimes even get better sleep by blocking out the world around you. They’ll also help avoid sudden squeaks and other sounds at night that can bother sleeping children while they are listening to their favorite tunes.

They Offer Great Sound Quality

This technology also distributes sound waves evenly so they reach your ears. Thus, they present a really good stereo sound allowing you to enjoy whatever it is you are listening to even more than traditional earbuds or headphones without any noise-cancellation capabilities. You might be thinking that the improvements would be glaringly obvious but unless you directly compare them with conventional headphones or earbuds, there won’t be too much of a difference at first. However, the sound improvement will come at a time you least expected: when ambient noise significantly interferes.

They Increase Battery Life to Last Longer

Not only do they reduce background noises while you are listening to music or podcasts in cars, but they eliminate sounds from the outside and allow you to appreciate every descending note; they also extend battery life and make it easier for you on the go listen longer. According to a study done by anechoic chambers’ engineers, active noise-reducing headphones saved around ten times more battery than music over-the-ear headphones of the same price. So, if your home theater headphones have NFC tech and Bluetooth connection for wireless audio streaming with NFC technology, it is worth investing in a reliable pair of ANC headphones – especially with external mobile devices like smartphones running out of battery all too quickly. Even more, a reason to make a seamless transition from wired ANC headphones (NCv2) when wireless technology is available on NCv3.

What Is Nc Rating And Which Rating Should You Look For?

NC 20 or lower

These are the best noise-canceling headphones you can find in the market. They are designed to remove noise effectively, especially low-frequency noise. This rating is not as effective against mid and high-frequency noises, but it’s still better than no noise canceling at all.

NC 30 or higher

These headphones are ideal for frequent travelers and people who live in cities where there is a lot of background noise. They will help you enjoy your music without being distracted by the sounds around you. It’s also great for blocking out noisy workplaces such as factories or construction sites. These headphones are effective against most types of noises including mid-frequency noises like air conditioners, fan sounds, and some conversations from nearby people. However, they do not have much effect on high-frequency noises such as a dog barking, a car honking its horn, or an alarm clock going off in the room next door.

NC 40 or higher

This is the highest noise-canceling rating you can find in the market. It’s great for blocking out all types of noises including high-frequency sounds. If you use it in a very noisy environment, you can still enjoy your music without being distracted by the background noise around you.

NC 50 or higher

If you want to block out all types of noises, including high-frequency sounds, this is the rating you should look for. They are ideal if you plan to use these headphones in a really noisy environment like an airplane cabin or a factory. However, they are very expensive and not ideal for most people. You can also use them in a quiet environment as well but it’s pointless because you would be paying more and getting less in return. The sound quality from these headphones will not be as good as NC 30 or 40-rated products because they have higher noise canceling technology that removes more sound waves in general.


Noise-canceling headphones are great for listening to music in noisy environments or while traveling on a plane. They allow you to enjoy your favorite songs and audiobooks without being distracted by background noise. They are a great choice for frequent travelers and people who work in noisy environments such as construction workers or flight attendants. Noise-canceling headphones come in two types: active noise-canceling headphones and noise-isolating headphones. Active noise-canceling headphones use built-in microphones to pick up sound from the surrounding environment and produce opposite sound waves to cancel out the ambient noise. On the other hand, noise-isolating headphones use sound-isolating earbuds to block out background noise.

Ramiro Stephens
Ramiro Stephens is a technical writer and content strategist. He has a passion for helping people understand complex topics, and he enjoys sharing his knowledge through writing. Ramiro has worked in the technology industry for over 10 years, and he has experience in a variety of roles including software development, product management, and marketing.