Do You Know What Your Noise-Cancelling Headphones Can and Can’t Do?
Over the past decade or so, headphones have come a long way through many technological advancements. From headsets to headphones to earphones, the possibilities have truly become endless. It is important to know what your noise-cancelling headphones can and can’t do. The main two varieties, earphones and headphones, offer versatile looks and abilities. The primary difference being that headphones have the ability to drown out more sound and are typically more comfortable while earphones are more compact and portable. With recent developments, companies have been able to produce the best noise-cancelling headphones that allow users to reduce, or even cancel out excess noises. The perks of these you might ask? Well, noise-cancelling headphones are great for areas with loud excess noises such as airplanes, study rooms, and even libraries when you are cramming for a midterm. Although, to what extent can headphones truly cancel noises? Many consumers are often left confused when their headphones are not able to perform at the highest level of being “noise-cancelling”. This is due to the fact that there is much to understand about headphones and the different varieties that companies and brands have to offer. Not all noise-cancelling headphones are the same which is why this article will hopefully clarify what your noise-cancelling headphones can and can’t do.
Active Phase Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Now in order to understand what your headphones can and can’t do, consumers must understand the science behind the products. Nearly all noise-cancelling headphones are equipped with active phase cancellation. Active phase cancellation basically cancels noises at low frequencies; for example, the noise an airplane engine makes. Because of active phase cancellation, even lower end noise-cancelling headphones can eliminate airplane noises. So when you are searching for noise-cancelling headphones, many users should note that noise-cancelling headphones labeled as phase cancellation will not entirely cancel all noises. These types of headphones can eliminate noises such as airplane engines, but cannot eliminate louder, higher pitched noises. However, not all headphones can eliminate the sound of crying children or barking dogs. In order to find noise-cancelling headphones for this particular reason, you must look for headphones equipped with passive isolation. Though, consumers should note that active phase cancellation is highly recommended for frequent flyers because passive isolation headphones will not be as useful when trying to block out airplane noises; therefore, understanding the use of the headphones is necessary when deciding on the perfect pair.
Passive Isolation Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Now in order to find headphones designed to block out the noise of loud children or barking dogs, passive isolation must be in play when searching for noise-cancelling headphones. Typically, passive isolation can be seen through the use of a physical barrier designed to eliminate noises such as earcups and earpads. Headphones that are made up of foam earpads or ear cups are usually the best at cancelling unwanted excess noise. These headphones equipped with foam earpads and ear cups are generally more comfortable than earphones. This is why we generally recommend headphones that are not inserted into your ear for consumers seeking comfort. Now consumers should note that when searching for noise-cancelling headphones, passive isolation headphones will not cancel out airplane engine noise. This is because the headphones are designed to eliminate high pitch noise frequencies. Therefore, frequent flyers should steer clear from passive isolation, or in some cases, opt for a higher priced and quality hybrid of the two. There are certainly brands that offer both luxuries of having the ability to cancel both low and high frequency noises, though these brands are typically selling these headphones at the utmost highest price point. For this reason, typical noise-cancelling headphones have a limit of what they can and can’t do.
Many advertisements, brands, and companies have created a certain depiction, known fact, or image of noise-cancelling headphones that oftentimes put them on a pedestal as to what they can do. An everyday consumer may think that a product labeled noise-cancelling headphones can literally be a set of headphones that can cancel all types of noise. However, consumers should understand that there is a certain extent to the term noise-cancelling. Sure one set of headphones may cancel the noise of a car or airplane engine, but it does not necessarily mean it will cancel the sound of your neighbor’s child crying. Because of this, we hope that consumers are able to understand the purpose of their interest in noise-cancelling headphones, and why they truly need them. Many brands offer a variety of noise-cancelling headphones so we highly recommend checking the specs and details listed on the headphones. If you are able to clearly sort out the reasons behind the interest in noise-cancelling headphones, the search for a perfect pair will be far more pleasant. Hopefully, this guide has allowed you to understand what your noise-cancelling headphones can and can’t do!
Written by Nina Le