How Noise-Cancelling Headphones Work

Noise-canceling headphones or noise-canceling headphones are specific breed type of headphones that completely destroy the unwanted ambient sounds or noise around the user. The silence is a luxury in this modern world that most of us can not afford, and noisy environment for the music lovers can be a disturbing situation. Whether they are traveling on a plane, running across the block, or have a living place near the road. The noise sound waves interfere with the music player speaker sounds and the whole experience will be spoiled.

In order to block such type of unwanted sounds, there is noise-canceling technology that is designed for headphones to block the noise. We want you to inform you that not all ordinary headphones come with this specific feature. In order to buy the headphones with noise-canceling, you will need to ask the shop keeper to show them to you.

Historically, The first headphones having noise-canceling was introduced by the popular Bose company. It is an American company that is specialized in producing audio products like headphones, speakers, etc. Present days, Most headphones manufacturers have dedicated catalog for noise-canceling headphones. The top brands in producing noise-canceling headphones are Bose, Sony, and Sennheiser. They have up to date technology and most selling headphones for the people who are looking to have noise-canceling headphones.

Circumaural is a type of headphones that totally cover up your ears in order to provide you with maximized quality sound with its big driver speakers inside them. These types of headphones have earcups that are big and have comfortable foam over them. The foam on earcups makes the headphones cozy so you do not get any kind of pain or ache for using them.

Ordinary Circumaural headphones provide noise cancellation due to its physical design. As it covers the full outer ears, the earcups work like a barrier and stop ambient sound waves from the outside environment. In order to get maximum advantage from the design, the manufacturers are using the materials to make earcups that promise better isolation as compared to ordinary foams used for giving comfort.

The process in which earcups have the specialized foam for ears isolation is called passive noise cancellation. This is an old way to block noise and achieve targetted noise canceling in headphone but it does have a limit.

Active Noise Cancellation is the second type, that involves complicated hardware. In this method, the headphones create their own sound waves that are inverted to the outside waves resulting in silence. The microphones outside catch the noise and the small CPU inside them does the rest of the work. As ANC involves many micro high tech parts inside them, that’s why such type of headphones are expensive as compared to ordinary passive type. Now we will explain what parts are involved in Active Noise Cancellation aka ANC.


A microphone is embedded in each of the earcups that listen to the noise. In high-end models, multiple microphones in each earcup are used to get the noise from every angle resulting in a better sense of environment for the chip.

Noise Cancelling Circuit

An electronic device is also present in each earcup where the processing happens. The process involves figuring out the wavelength of sound incoming from outside noise, and it creates the same wavelength but in the opposite of it in order to destroy the sound. The process is called sound destruction too.


All the processed sound is broadcasted through the speaker or driver speaker and the music sound is also added if you are listening to music. This way the desired results are achieved and the undesired noise sounds are blocked.


In order to run circuitry parts of the system, energy is required. The small batteries inside each earcup provide the required power so the system can run smoothly. The batteries inside them are rechargeable so they are lightweight and provide a good backup time.

To provide more assurance, Headphones makers are including both of these noise-canceling methods in their headphones. Most of the high-end headphones are also able to remove almost most of the ambient sound providing silence environment. They not only helpful for optimizing music experience but also being used as medical conditions. Most of the insomnia patients use them to cancel the environment to have a good sleep, as noisy environments during their sleep can jeopardize their health.

Benefits of Noise-Canceling Headphones

Avoid Hearing Loss

In order to listen to music clearly, most people would keep the volume up while listening to music in a noisy environment. it will make your eardrums prone to damage. While with the noise-canceling headphones, you don’t need to keep the unnecessary volume up. The music listening on normal volume without any ambient noise will improve your experience pleasing.

Health Benefits

keeping yourself in a noisy environment can put your health at great risk and in this world, it is a very difficult task to do so. Whether you are traveling on the plane or commuting next to your work office. The roaring noise of the engine will get through your eardrums making your travel experience bad, or the continuous traffic noise won’t let you even think about the work. The noise can really sabotage your life and health. You can get help from the noise-canceling headphones to block such kind of noises and make your travel and work a pleasing experience making your day a productive one.

People with many health problems like insomnia, depression, and many more also need a quiet environment. if it is not physically available to them, they may block the unwanted noise going through their ears with the help of noise-canceling headphones.

Clear Voice Conversations

Attending a call from your boss, friends, or family in a noisy environment can be a nightmare. Whether you are at the coffee shop, local metro, flying in a plane or in a bus. It can devastate the conversation and you will keep saying hello and excuse me.

The noise-canceling headphones can block almost all the unwanted noise around you, and put you in a silent environment so you can have a clear conversation on the call. The microphones come with such type of headphones also block the noise and convey only your voice. The noise-canceling headphones will make your calls really a breeze experience and you won’t need to say to your callers to call you at a later time.

Boost Your Concentration

The noise can harm your focus while working. Many researchers who do work on the noise and its effects on the human brain have reported that noise can devastate your concentration. Having noise-canceling headphones can block out all the noise around you and let you focus on your work so you are productive. additionally, it may send your co-workers a message too that you are busy in your work and it is better you are not disturbed.

What Are the Noise-Canceling Headphones that Work Perfectly?

As the consumers identified the benefits of noise-canceling headphones, the demand is skyrocketing. Everyone want to grab one piece for themselves to make their life easier and noise-free. as there is a rise in demand, headphones manufacturers started released models after models to meet the demand. But most of them won’t work as good as a noise-canceling headphone should work due to the profit-hungry corporations.

A good noise-canceling headphone involves many high-end technologies to get work together. And these product parts are not cheap. They are expensive, So the headphones cost also rises. But many manufacturers are luring customers by offering cheaper noise-canceling headphones with big promises but ultimately they don’t block the noise completely.

Finding good noise-canceling headphones have become a challenging task. Researching before them is necessary. Buying a well-researched model and investing a good amount of money is always a win-win situation for buying such type of health beneficial products.

At the time of writing this guide, The Bose Noise Cancelling 700 Headphones are the best noise-canceling headphones. They are wireless over type style headphones with 20 hours of battery back up time. The active noise canceling circuitry inside them is best in the world at the moment and as they come in high-end headphones so they produce very realistic sound.

These high-end headphones have a total of 8 microphones. The 6 of them work for the ANC while 2 of them work as a microphone. They come with a newer fifth version of Bluetooth providing a great wireless connection with a range of 10 meters.

If you are not the person who wants to get noticed by big over-ear headphones in the public. We would suggest you go for In-Ear headphones mostly called the earbuds. They fit inside your outer ear, they also have ANC that works great. The only setback is that they have not the longer battery as we get on the over ears. But instead, they come with a battery case where you can put them when they are not in use. And they will get charged themselves again from the case.

In 2020, the best noise-canceling earbuds are the Sony WF-1000XM3. They look prettier on ears and come in various colors. other than that, you can read detailed reviews here of other noise-canceling earbuds that are good to buy.


Drawbacks of Noise Cancelling Headphones


The Noise Cancelling Headphones cost a lot more than ordinary headphones as they have extra circuitry inside them that provide the facility of active noise cancellation. if you are not bothered by the noise around you or you can find a silent environment for yourself easily, you can consider buying regular headphones with premium features.

Weight and Power

The active noise cancellation involves multiple electronic extra parts that require more power to be used. Such headphones will need more power to be used as compared to ordinary headphones. Even some of the wireless headphones are available these days that have ANC off switch too and they give you better backup time when it is turned off.

While the extra battery for the circuit and system parts may also increase the weight of them making them bulkier as compared to normal headphones.

Audio Quality Reduction

The active noise cancellation can decrease the sound performance of the headphones. And some of the models that have not a good type of system can give you a hissing sound that can bother you badly. Having said that, if you are after the best sound quality performance especially the people who work in studios for the clarity of each frequency should consider getting the headphones specially designed for studios.

The Usage of Noise Cancelling Headphones in Aviation

In the 1950s, Dr. Lawrence Jerome Fogel invented the idea of Active Noise Cancellation. and he was the person who submitted its patent for the aviation industry specifically. He identified the need for this system for the cock pilots and solve their problem of ending the noise so they can communicate conveniently with the traffic controllers.

After the Fogel, Willard Meeker was the key person who advanced this system and introduced ANC control in normal headphones that are being used in headphones these days.

These days, these types of headphones are common in the aviation industry and given to the traveler that buy first-class tickets for their convenience other than cock pilots. The noise-canceling headphones are given them so they can have a luxury experience of blocking the jet engine noise. These headphones produce the inverse sound waves of jet engine roar sound and give the consumers a silent flight.

The noise-canceling headphones used in aviation does not have circuitry inside them instead it is centrally located in the aircraft armrests. the user simply needs to plug its normal-looking headphones to it and the system inside the armrests has all the needed circuitry that will block the noise for the user.


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