There are times when noise canceling headphones will greatly enhance your listening pleasure. Maybe you’re on a noisy airplane and want to reduce the sound of the plane’s air conditioning system or engine noise, or you want to quiet the background noise in a crowded room. Noise canceling headphones will help quiet the sounds around you by creating anti-noise at your ear. They won’t completely eliminate noise, but some of the better ones will significantly reduce it. You can find noise canceling headphones in a range of styles, from ear buds to full size models. Noise canceling headphones will allow you to listen to your music at lower volumes because you won’t have to try to overcome the background noise, which helps reduce your ear fatigue. You will also be able to hear more of the low-level details in your music. Some will even let you adjust the settings depending on the type of background noise you are trying to eliminate.
Noise cancellation technology reduces any unwanted noise by smoothing ambient noises. They were developed originally for professional and industrial use, such as protecting the hearing of people working in noisy factories or on airport runways. They work by creating a wave of pressure of the same amplitude against unwanted noises. In theory, the two pressure fields will cancel each other out to create silence; however, it’s nearly impossible to create absolute silence in this way.
There are two basic ways to reduce noise. The passive method relies on closed-back headphones or snug ear buds, which help block off the noise by sealing your ears. The active method uses microphones on each ear to electronically detect and cancel out any ambient noise before it reaches your ears. Essentially, they invert the captured noise and turn the sound waves upside down to cancel them out.
Top Noise Canceling Headphones
Sony MDR-NC6 Noise Canceling Headphones – (Shop at Amazon)
Sony MDR-NC60 Noise Canceling Headphone – (Shop at Amazon)
Philips SHN9500 Active Noise-Canceling Headphone – (Shop at Amazon)
QuietComfortÂ® 15 Acoustic Noise CancellingÂ® headphones – (Shop at Amazon)
Because you can listen at lower volumes, you will not experience ear fatigue as easily. When you try to listen in a noisy environment with regular headphones, you’ll find yourself cranking the volume to drown out the background noise. This irritates your ears and can damage your hearing, especially if you’re using ear buds. With noise canceling headphones, you won’t have this problem. Because the music is at a lower volume, you’ll also avoid annoying those around you who would have to listen to your music as well.
Noise cancellation headphones are great for frequent fliers. You will be able to escape the constant background noises from the engines and air systems, allowing you to enjoy your ride in peace. Even if you want quiet instead of music or a movie soundtrack, they can be used to just give you that moment of quiet.
It’s easy to use noise cancelling headphones because you just have to switch them on and the background noises disappear. There’s no high-tech knowledge required, just wear them and enjoy the benefits. If you work in a noisy environment, they can do wonders for calming the underlying stress that constant background noise places on your ears, your entire body, and even your mood.
Noise canceling headphones are compatible with any listening device, from your MP3 player or computer audio jack to the airplane’s on-board listening system. Many come with rechargeable batteries, making them less expensive and more environmentally friendly than using disposable batteries. If you are using the headphones to simply eliminate noise, rather than listen to music or movies, the cord is usually detachable, so you won’t have a stray cord dangling from your headphones.
Noise canceling headphones do a better job of reducing engine noise and air conditioning fan sounds, but they do not perform as well when you are trying to cut out background noise such as people talking. They perform better against constant levels of noise rather than frequently changing background sounds. Also, if you are listening in a relatively quiet environment, you won’t see the added benefits, so they may not be worth the added costs for those situations.
If you trying to find noise canceling headphones that provide the highest level of sound isolation, be aware that these models typically do not provide the best sound quality. You’ll want to find the noise canceling headphones that provide the best balance of the two features–sound quality and sound isolation–that fit your listening preferences and typical environments.
Other cons are that these headphones consume a lot of power because they are both playing your music and trying to cancel the ambient noise. This means that your batteries won’t last as long. If the headphones are overloaded by low-frequency noises in the background, they can distort your desired signal. Some noise canceling headphones may actually introduce additional noise, such as a high frequency hissing noise. Size can also be an issue, because noise canceling headphones are typically larger and bulkier than many traditional headphones.