Headphones and earphones have enhanced to a level that it can cut you off from the outside world and can take you deep down into what you are listening to, thanks to noise-cancelation. But how do they work? Let’s break it down and see how it works.

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Types Of Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Noise-Cancelling Headphones

There are two types of noise-cancelling headphones available in the market;

  • Passive Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Passive headphones will block out the sound with the help of the sound-canceling “technology” which is within the headphone’s construction and material choice.

  • Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Active headphones continuously (actively) work to cancel out the sound using sound cancellation, of course, there’s dedicated hardware involved in this process.

How Does Passive Noise-Cancelling Headphones Work?

Passive sound-cancelling headphones are designed to deaden external noise by using materials that are good at muffling the sound. These materials are not fully soundproof i.e these take a passive role in cancelling the noise, hence the name.

Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Mind you, the passive noise-cancelling varies from product to product, for example, in-ear headphones may use different sound-cancelling materials than over-ear headphones. In general, over-ear headphones come with the best passive cancelling as in-ear headphones can only do so much with their small size and proximity to the eardrum.

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Why You Should Prefer Passive Noise-Cancelling Headphones?

  • These require power (via cable or batteries) for its mechanism to work, however, this is not the case with passive sound-cancelling headphones.
  • Passive sound-cancelling headphones are cheaper (comparatively) and if you want to block soft ambiance noise, passive will work.

How Does Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones Work?

This type of sound-cancelling headphones works by making a constant effort to mute the external sounds. These headphones alter the sounds that are entering your ear and that way only the music from the headphones will be heard and rest all will be muted.

Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Active noise-cancelling headphone listens to the sound around you, for that, a microphone is required which you will find on all active sound-cancelling headphones. This microphone tracks the noises occurring around you and measures the sound waves that make those sounds.

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How does it silence the external sounds? well, the microphone received sounds and evaluated and the hardware a wave that is the direct inverse of what it’s hearing and make the outer sound fall-flat. The peaks and troughs of the sound waves meet one another and cancel each other out giving out a dead silence.

Why You Should Prefer Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones?

Noise-Cancelling Headphones

  • These headphones aren’t cheap, but they do their work. So, if you’re working in noisy areas and regular headphone aren’t good enough to block the external sound, active sound-cancelling headphones are the go to’s.

Some of the best active noise-cancelling headphones you should look at are;

Noise-Cancelling Headphones


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