The Science Behind The Noise Cancelling Technology



Headphones have come a long way since they were first launched. These days they come with all kinds of impressive features. One of the latest features you can invest in is noise cancelling technology. Designed to block out as much noise as possible, you’re left with crystal clear sound and a better music experience. The question is how does this technology work?

Headphones have come a long way since they were first launched. These days they come with all kinds of impressive features.

 

One of the latest features you can invest in is noise cancelling technology. Designed to block out as much noise as possible, you're left with crystal clear sound and a better music experience.

 

The question is how does this technology work?

 

Understanding the technology

 

There are actually two types of noise cancellation style headphones available. These are passive and active style headphones.

 

All headphones provide a basic level of noise reduction, as it's the materials of the headphones that cancel out the noise. However, specifically designed noise cancellation products are a little more sophisticated.

 

The passive noise reduction headphones are created with a circum-aural design. The materials used are especially chosen to block out the noise as much as possible. They tend to contain quite a few layers of high density foam.

 

The only potential disadvantage to this is the fact that it makes them heavier than standard headphones, so they aren't always ideal for travelling. It is possible to get a pair that folds up though so this helps if you need them to be portable.

 

If you want the best quality noise cancelling headphones then the active ones are what you need to be looking at. They block the sound using sound waves - they create sound waves that literally mimic any incoming noise.

 

A good example is the Beats By Dr Dre Studio 2.0 Noise-Cancelling Heaphones which are foldable to make them easier to transport.

 

                                                         

 

The components that make up active noise cancellation

 

There are a number of components that the headphones need to contain to benefit from active noise cancellation. These include:

 

  • Microphone
  • Speaker
  • Noise cancellation circuit
  • Battery

 

The microphone is needed to actually listen to the incoming sounds. It's then down to the noise cancellation circuit to create a basic fingerprint of the sound using electronics that are placed inside the ear.

 

The amplitude and the frequency of the sounds are noted and from that a new sound wave is created. This new sound wave is always 180 degrees out of sync with the incoming sound wave.

 

The sound wave then travels from the circuit to the speaker alongside the incoming noise. It manages to destroy the noise without affecting the sound coming from your music or film.

 

It's a rechargeable battery that is responsible for adding energy into the headphones and creating the 'active' part of the description.

 

Do they work?

 

Using active noise reduction technology, these headphones are capable of blocking out a minimum of 70% noise but some will even block out up to 88%. This is what makes them so useful for travelling on planes and for listening to when you're in a house full of people.

 

The fact that they do work so well does tend to increase their price a little. If you want to benefit from this technology you do have to be willing to pay the higher price.

 

It's worth comparing as many different headphones as you can before you decide which ones to invest in as they all have different features - remember to think about your individual needs.